'Visionary' H'wood tycoon

Singer, TV host went on to create empire

Merv Griffin, the mogul who hosted an eponymous talk show for more than 20 years, created the globally popular game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" and oversaw a diversified empire via the Griffin Group, died Sunday of prostate cancer in Los Angeles (HR 8/13). He was 82.

He recently had been diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer that he had overcome a decade ago.

Griffin's influence resonates through myriad industries: He began his career in the 1940s as a singer, then became a Warner Bros. contract actor, starred on Broadway, segued to TV host, created game shows, started a production company and eventually owned hotels, casinos, radio stations and more.

"My father was a visionary," Griffin's son, Tony Griffin, said Sunday. "He loved business and continued his many projects and holdings even while hospitalized."

When Griffin entered a hospital a month ago, he was working on the first week of production of a new syndicated game show, "Merv Griffin's Crosswords."