The famed TV producer and host of “The Merv Griffin Show,” Merv Griffin, is accused of having a “secret gay life” when he was still alive. The media mogul and Julann Wright, with whom he previously wed, have a son named Tony Griffin. Griffin supposedly started seeing Hungarian-American actress Eva Gabor after the couple was divorced.
They reportedly had a spiritual connection only, though. Griffin refused to confirm or deny reports that he is gay when questioned about them; nonetheless, his co-stars and crew have claimed this is the case. Griffin was also named in two cases filed by two other individuals, proving the TV star had a secret existence.
In the 1960s, Merv Griffin was one of the most well-liked and prosperous television talk show hosts. He successfully created the Merv Griffin Enterprises empire in just thirty years, which housed a number of the top television game shows, including the all-time favorite “Wheel of Fortune.” In April 1991, shortly after reaching the height of his professional success as an “Atlantic City casino magnate,” Griffin was accused of filing a paternity claim.
A Florida man called Brent Plott, 37 at the time, filed a $200 million lawsuit against Griffin, alleging a breach of contract. Griffin reportedly pledged to care for him for the rest of his life. Plott said that Griffin had declared his love for him and that the two of them had lived together for four years, including sharing a bed, before Plott decided to leave in 1985.
Plott filed the lawsuit because he was not only Griffin’s “lover,” to whom he had promised “solace and emotional support,” but also because he claimed to have been the TV magnate’s business consultant and had assisted in the selection of Vanna White for “Wheel of Fortune.” Griffin rejected Plott’s accusations, assuming he was lying to get him money.
“This is a blatant attempt to blackmail me into paying money. This former bodyguard and horse trainer made $250 per week, worked as a security guard in one of two apartments under my former home, and left my employ six or seven years ago. His accusations are absurd and false.”
In the same year that Griffin divorced his ex-wife, Julann Wright, in 1976, Plott claimed to have met Griffin in Monte Carlo. Griffin claimed to have pleaded with Plott to move in with him for years before Plott finally consented. Judge Diane Wayne of the Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed the case with prejudice in November 1991 and fined Plott $2,000.
Griffin’s second lawsuit was brought by “Dance Fever” host Deney Terrio the month after his initial complaint was rejected. The TV personality demanded $11.3 million in restitution after alleging that Griffin had sexually attacked him in 1978. Terrio’s lawsuit contended:
“The Defendant, Merv Griffin, made explicit homosexual advances toward [Terrio] beginning in 1978 and continuing throughout the parties’ business relationship. Griffin persisted in making these requests, frequently mentioning the financial benefits that Terrio would get.
In June 1992, the Los Angeles federal court dismissed the lawsuit after Griffin’s attorney refuted the allegations. Many gay men in New York began donning T-shirts with the slogan “I didn’t sleep with Merv” written on them after the cases were thrown out. Merv altogether avoided the LGBT world and stopped supporting gay rights efforts due to the ongoing claims and outings about his sexuality.
Griffin was frequently spotted with “Green Acres” actress Eva Gabor. Until her passing in 1995, the two allegedly had only “platonic” relationships. They often went on dates. Zsa Zsa, Eva’s sister, disagreed with the consensus that Griffin would use Gabor’s presence to “cover up” or “hide” his homosexuality:
Eva Griffin will wed Merv Griffin. They recently returned from the Bahamas. I shouldn’t tell, but I can’t help myself.
Griffin’s spokesman, Warren Cowan, said that he could not confirm that the couple was getting married, despite Zsa saying that Eva and Griffin were in a serious and “real” relationship. Cowan claimed he would be “surprised” if Eva and Griffin got hitched. Griffin remained “close friends” with the Gabor household, and Zsa Zsa praised him as a “wonderful, wonderful man.”
Griffin’s sexual background and orientation weren’t fully revealed until after the “Jeopardy!” creator’s 2007 demise. Many persons who have openly discussed his “closeted lifestyle” have claimed that the TV personality lived secretly because of the homophobic environment in which he grew up. Griffin would try to maintain his privacy as a result, but his coworkers and staff reportedly knew of his hidden identity:
Merv’s sexual orientation was acknowledged but infrequently discussed in the office. Because he jealously guarded his solitude, we were unaware of his relationships.
Griffin’s sexual orientation was well known in Hollywood and did not require mentioning due to “privacy laws” that prevent such information from being made public. This contrasts the acceptance of claiming to have a wife and kids rather than being open about their sexual orientation as Griffin did.
Griffin could escape questions about his sexuality by using the companionship of his old buddy Gabor, but he continued to be referred to as a “closeted gay talk show host.” Game show producer Bob Stewart hypothesized the following as to why Griffin might have felt the need to conceal his sexual orientation:
“Since he wasn’t a leading man or sex icon, he could have been honest without fear of consequences. He was independent. It might be as a result of his Catholic upbringing, Republican political views, and generational internalization of guilt and shame.
Stewart continues by saying that four-game show announcers who had previously worked for Griffin have come forward to affirm that Griffin is gay. According to the four individuals, Griffin would find it increasingly challenging to conceal his interest when working with extremely attractive males. Additionally, the sources claimed to have seen Griffin on a romantic date with another man in a dimly lit restaurant, where the two were flirting.
A second time, American filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer revealed that Scotty Bowers had confirmed Griffin’s sexuality during the two men’s previous chat. Griffin, according to Bowers, informed him about a petrol station that served as a sort of brothel for gay males and was the place “you would go to get in trouble.”Whether or not what Wright and Griffin shared was “real” love is still up for debate among the general public. Many still wonder if their union was a ruse to dispel the TV producer’s alleged homosexuality.
Griffin tried his hardest to avoid revealing his sexual orientation on several occasions. The legendary figure in TV production frequently moved across Hollywood while seeming to be in relationships with women. Griffin acknowledged on television that no matter what he did to attempt to keep his life private, the world would eventually learn about his business.
“I make it known to everyone that I am quarter-sexual. For a quarter, I will do anything with anyone.
Later in the same year that The New York Times first published it, CNN Entertainment Correspondent Lola Ogunnaike confirmed Griffin’s statement. Ogunnaike reiterated Griffin’s assertion in regard to living broadcasting:
“Well, you know, he was seeing Eva Gabor, married and divorced. Speculation regarding his sexual orientation has been rife. His ex-employee filed a palimony lawsuit against him, but the judge dismissed the case. However, when I told Merv, “Merv, this stuff is out there; talk to me about it,” he was quite open and honest. The man declared, “I’m a quarter-sexual.”
Tony Griffin, a son of Merv’s marriage to longtime friend Julann Wright, was born.
On a radio program, Robert Q. Lewis introduced Griffin to Julann Wright, who would become his first and only wife. Before getting married in May 1958, the pair began spending time as friends. Griffin and Wright separated in 1976 but remained lifelong friends until Griffin’s death on August 12, 2007.
One son, Tony Griffin, an American actor, and writer, was born to the ex-couple. Tony is wed to Tricia Griffin; they have a son named Donovan Mervyn and a daughter named Farah Griffin.
At 82, Griffin passed away from prostate cancer, carrying his covert identity with him. Men’s practice of concealing their sexuality at that time, especially among those in the public glare, was rather typical in Hollywood. based on Facts Verse:
“Griffin suppressed his sexuality and was married. It’s not unusual for queer celebrities, particularly those from earlier times, to marry to conceal their sexual orientation. Numerous celebrities, including Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins, and Elton John, have used this tried-and-true strategy.
Griffin had a spectacular career built on his charm and charisma, but the honest Griffin never showed up. Griffin requested identity protection from Wright and Gabor up to his passing.
Whether or not what Wright and Griffin shared was “real” love is still up for debate among the general public. Many still wonder if their union was a ruse to dispel the TV producer’s alleged homosexuality.
Wright is 94 years old now, and her son Tony is 63. Regarding whether or not they think Merv maintained a “secret” existence behind closed doors, the mother and son have not yet made any comments. However, Griffin’s family continues to honor his memory, and during his funeral in 2007, they gave the man his all.