Entertainer and Entrepreneur Merv Griffin Dies at 82
LOS ANGELES — Merv Griffin, who went from big-band era crooner to fabulously successful TV talk show host before making a fortune as the creator of two of television's most popular game shows and then parlaying that into a billion-dollar hotel empire, died Sunday. He was 82.
Griffin died of prostate cancer, according to a statement from his the family that was released by Marcia Newberger, spokeswoman for The Griffin Group/Merv Griffin Entertainment. Griffin was recently hospitalized for a recurrence of the disease, which had been treated successfully more than 10 years ago.
Griffin, who created the "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" game shows, began his career as a $100-a-week radio singer in San Francisco, quickly moving on to become the featured vocalist in Freddy Martin's band.