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The Gaming Hall of Fame

2002 Inductee

Merv Griffin

Lifetime Achievement


Merv Griffin (1925-2007)


Often described as "the total performer," an "entrepreneurial powerhouse" and a "friend and confidant," to the starts, Griffin was one of the country's most popular personalities and a successful gaming operator.

After a successful career in big bands, movies and early television, Griffin became a substitute host in the 1960s on "The Tonight Show," and soon after starred in his own hour-long talk show program "The Merv Griffin Show." The talk show aired for 23 years and was often taped at Caesars Palace and The Riviera in Las Vegas, and The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, N.J.

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Griffin created numerous successful game shows, including "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune." Both shows later became themes of popular slot machine games.

Griffin's passion for the hospitality and casino business arose from his years of touring and literally "living out of hotels." His acquisition strategy began in 1987 with the purchase of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., and continued the next year when he purchased Resorts International in Atlantic City, N.J., and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Griffin's other foray into casino ownership was as the major stockholder of one of the first riverboat companies, Players International, which opened three riverboat casinos during the mid-1990s. Griffin ended his ventures in the gaming industry by the end of the decade.

In addition to his achievements in the gaming and hospitality industries, Griffin was the recipient of 15 Emmy Awards, the Broadcasting and Cable "Hall of Fame" Award, an Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show Emmy for 1993-94 as executive producer of "Jeopardy!," the Scopus Award and the John Wayne Cancer Institute's "The Duke Award," among others.


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Last modified Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:07 PDT



This page last updated Friday, 08-Apr-2022 11:31:07 PDT .