Merv Griffin Dies at 82

Merv Griffin, whose talk show once rivaled that of Johnny Carson’s and whose real-estate empire once rivaled that of Donald Trump’s, has died. He was 82.

He died of prostate cancer, according to the Associated Press citing a statement from his the family that was released by Marcia Newberger, spokeswoman for The Griffin Group/Merv Griffin Entertainment.

Griffin, who was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996, was being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for a recurrence of the disease, it was reported on July 18.

His longtime TV career was launched in the ’50s with variety-show appearances that eventually culminated in the 1965 launch of his syndicated Merv Griffin Show, versions of which ran until 1986.

During the ’70s, he invented and produced the popular game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune ? which by 1986 made him a very rich man when he sold his company to Columbia Pictures Television for $250 million.