Merv: Gay and Closeted to the End

Columnist wonders why talk show host kept 'open secret'
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2007 10:03 AM CDT
Talk show host Merv Griffin appears beside his television logo in this undated handout photo. A spokesperson for Merv Griffin reports Sunday, Aug. 12, 2007 the entertainer and entrepreneur has died at...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Merv Griffin, the television producer who died last week of prostate cancer, has been outed as a closeted gay man by a Hollywood Reporter columnist who was a former colleague. Griffin was married for 18 years and had a son, but his homosexuality was widely known in Los Angeles circles, and in 1991 a former lover filed a $200 million palimony suit.

Ray Richmond muses on the effect it might had on gays in show business if the talk-show host, hotelier and creator of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy hadn't steadfastly refused to come out, despite the obvious implications of the palimony suit. Griffin's high-profile platonic relationship with Eva Gabor helped him to deflect unwanted attention to his sexuality.