The TV Mogul with the Common : Merv Griffin

If Johnny Carson was TV's aloof arbiter of taste, Merv Griffin, who died Aug. 12 at 82, was the welcoming show-biz uncle who seemed to want everyone he brought on his talk show to become a star--including Richard Pryor and George Carlin, whose careers he helped launch. He laughed at his guests' jokes, gushed at their stories, joined them in songs--perfecting an easygoing, unironic manner that was seemingly impervious to the winds of change. Far more than a TV personality, though, the former Big Band singer was also a creator and entrepreneur. In 1964 he came up with Jeopardy! (A jack...

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