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Merv: Making The Good Life Last Hardcover – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Griffin, a self-described "Depression baby," lost his home to the bank as a kid and admits that as an adult "I've placed far too much value on material things." Yet his entrepreneurial nature is the dramatic wheel that drives this autobiography. The book's chatty style is reminiscent of a talk show, and beneath its light tone are suggestions of a complex, enthralling person. Dubbed the "Merv of All Trades" by Larry King, Griffin mowed lawns, put out a newspaper and sold Christmas wreaths as a child in California. Early exposure to such stars as Errol Flynn came through his uncle Elmer, a national tennis doubles champion and founder of the Beverly Hills Country Club. Admittedly resentful of being told what to do, Griffin pursued a career as a band singer and eventually made a screen test, which resulted in the disastrous So This Is Love (1953). When Hollywood stardom didn't materialize, Griffin turned to TV; the book presents numerous profiles of the guests he hosted on his own show, from 1962 to 1986, including the temperamental Peter O'Toole and the hostile Al Pacino. Such diverse personalities as Rosalind Russell, Ronald Reagan (who actually liked peanut brittle, not jelly beans), Whitney Houston and Peter Ustinov fill these entertaining pages. The final portion covers Griffin's years as a hotel magnate, bout with prostate cancer, psychoanalysis, divorce and weight problems. He conveys his upbeat outlook most effectively when he comments, "I don't watch Survivor. If something requires cheating, lying and cruelty to other people to stay on top, it's nothing I want any part of." Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Merv Griffin, one of America's most famous and enduring entertainers, shares stories from his long career in this good-humored and gossipy autobiography. From fairly humble beginnings that included writing songs and singing on a local radio station and touring America with Freddy Martin and his orchestra, Griffin steadily rose through the ranks of the entertainment industry. He candidly recounts his adventures as a recording star (famous for the hit "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"), a contract actor for Warner Brothers who appeared in a number of films, a legendary talk-show host and creator of some of the most successful game shows, including Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, and finally, as a wealthy and respected businessman. Griffin details the trials and tribulations of his early years as well as how he followed his dreams and took advantage of opportunities that yielded his ultimate success. Includes tasty anecdotal morsels about the many celebrities Griffin has worked with in his life. A light read that fans of Merv Griffin or anyone interested in the entertainment industry as a whole will enjoy. Kathleen Hughes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
'ruler'.. and his was Money.. Boring in many parts Gossipy in others, but most of it is Merve [who did have talent as a singer], just going on & on in a self absorbed way, giving big parties to 'win over/buy, guests 'to love him'.. until you don't like him anymore
In the end of his life- he and Eva didn't even get along.. and he was totally alone... sad and ironic for "having the Good Life"..
He then goes on to make hundreds of millions of dollars during the next forty years, thus benefiting directly from those who paid the price for his freedom, yet writes about absolutely NOTHING that he did, is doing, or will do, for veterans?!
It's a shame.
As the young men at Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Midway, and other locations 'died young' so that MG could make more money, he, as well as our other philantropists, should be dedicating at least HALF of their net worth (and estates) to the VETERANS (their families, and health care) who made it all possible.
Prosperity, comfort, and standard of living in the USA are just as simple as that: VETERANS made it possible for you, for your life. MG and others who never 'served in uniform': Don't you be among the Ungrateful Swine, who profited but show no appreciation for the extreme, ultimate sacrifices of others on your behalf ... Show you appreciate the vets in a CONCRETE way ($$$)... especially as philanthropists and as your legacy in history. Which way do you want yourself and your family name to be remembered, in all your 'bio's' in the end?
Will MG forever be remembered as a 'Club Singer' or something more?
Before reading this book, I did not know that Merv had been a military reject. Once I read that part, I quickly picked it up. Another foreign subject in this book was that he was a college dropout. Now I know he was a college dropout.
Merv was one of my earliest role models as a baby, all because of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" Now, I have read all about him. I was saddened to hear of his death in August of 2007, but I wound up continuing to watch his successful shows, and have twice tried out for "Jeopardy!" (I have still not been able to pass the test.)
All in all, a five-star book by Merv.