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Valley Resident, TV Mogul Merv Griffin Dies

Merv Griffin’s battle with cancer is over, family of the entertainer said Sunday.

The 82-year-old TV producer and Coachella Valley resident died at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

Sources close to Griffin say he was admitted to the hospital in mid-July after a recurrence of prostate cancer which he battled in 1996.

Griffin’s brief film career led to his successful run as host of TV’s “The Merv Griffin Show” that began in the 1960s aired for more than 20 years.

His biggest financial break, however, came from inventing and producing “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

After they became the hottest game shows in television, Griffin sold the rights to them to the Columbia Pictures Television Unit for $250 million.

In recent years, Griffin rated frequent mentions in the sports pages of the nation’s newspapers for being a successful owner of thoroughbred racehorses.

Friends and colleagues of Merv Griffin expressed grief at the talk show host and entertainment mogul’s death Sunday.

Longtime friend Nancy Reagan is calling the news “heartbreaking.” She says she and her late former President husband were friends with Griffin for 50-some years, but that he’d be missed by everyone, not just those who knew him personally.

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak says Griffin “meant so much” to his life. Sajak says it’s hard to imagine life without Griffin.

Griffin created and produced “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” after more than 20 years as the host of “The Merv Griffin Show.”

Griffin later went into hotel, casino and other real estate ventures. He said that kept him from being “bored.”

KESQ News Team

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