The passing of Merv Griffin has been a particularly sad moment in my life. There were three prominent broadcasters early in my career, that is in the sixties and seventies who played pivotal roles of support to my work and the development of my success.
One was Mike Douglas, with whom I did approximately 118 television shows. The second was Johnny Carson with whom I did 88 shows. Now there is Merv Griffin. My last show with him not long before his series, “The Merv Griffin Show” had ended was my 99th show with him and it is hard to believe that all three talk show giants have left us in approximately a year and a half.
There was an excitement in working with him; he was able to handle almost any situation with ease and nonchalance. He was quite conscious of the impact a performer was having on his viewers. In conversations I had with him at Sardis restaurant and in private performances that I did for him off television, became clear that he was a brilliant and astute businessman and a visionary as far as talent as the broadcast field was evolving. He could place anybody at ease. Unlike Johnny Carson who said he would like on his tombstone “I’ll be right back,” Merv quietly said that what he wanted on his in effect was “I will not be right back.”