The American television host and media mogul MERV GRIFFIN was born on this date (d. 2007). Griffin began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway. During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Griffin was a bit of a basket case when it came to being open about his sexuality. He denied it at times and then poked fun at it. Two same-sex palimony and sexual harassment lawsuits in 1991 brought questions about Griffin’s sexuality to national prominence. In 1991, Griffin was hit with both a $200 million palimony lawsuit by former “secretary/driver/horse-trainer/bodyguard,” Brent Plott, and an $11.3 million sexual harassment lawsuit from Dance Fever host “Denny” Deney Terrio. A 2006 article in Rolling Stone magazine by John Colapinto stated: “Merv does not refute the underlying implication in both cases: that he is gay.

Nor did he admit to it. Instead, he mentioned the high-profile relationship that he began with actress Eva Gabor at the time of his legal troubles. They were photographed everywhere: Atlantic City, La Quinta, Hollywood premieres. Griffin says that they discussed marriage, and he parries any direct questions about his sexual orientation. ‘You’re asking an eighty-year-old man about his sexuality right now!’, he cries. ‘Get a life!'” But the year before he’d told the New York Times, “I tell everybody that I’m a quatre-sexual. I will do anything with anybody for a quarter.” Griffin died August 12, 2007 and was buried in Westwood Memorial Park beneath a tombstone that reads: “I will NOT be right back after this message.” 

But by any measure, Merv was a perv.