He estimated that he had done 25,000 interviews.
For me, Merv Griffin was a familiar face to come home to. For a kid in central Iowa, this was the closest I got to seeing a very interesting conversational style, with a wide range of guests.
A child of the 70s, I remember stand up comics of all stripes -- always vital to my TV watching/talk show loving habits -- but mostly Totie Fields and Orson Welles and his magic, as well as maybe a plate spinner or two and Howie Mandel telling his wait-for-it "It's My potty" joke. I hurried home to see this show circa 1976 through '79 and even multi tasked as I sorted mom's kitchen shelves and watched from the next room.
Yeah. I was a weird kid.
Moreover, Merv made me a winner because I watched his show and heard instrumentalist Herbie Mann tout his newest album Super Mann. The next night I identified the same piece being played and won a whole party for my sixth grade class at a skating rink.
Merv made me a hero.
His style must have rubbed off on me.
And I have to say one his best features was his public battle with his weight. He talked about it, dealt with it and still lived for a long time at a higher weight than he might have liked, but never rejected himself before, during or after.
For some reason, I like that!
See the master in a clip (that's not Charo)....
This essay is rushed, but "Thanks, Merv."
He weighed 235 pounds. Shortly afterward, singer Joan Edwards told him: "Your voice is terrific, but the blubber has got to go." Griffin slimmed down, and he spent the rest of his life adding and taking off weight.