Was playing the piano by age four
Hired as a singer on KFRC radio in San Francisco
Hosted "The Merv Griffin Show" on KFRC, ultimately earning $1,100 a week
Was vocalist with Freddy Martin's orchestra
Had Number 1 hit recording with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"
TV debut as vocalist, "The Freddy Martin Show"
Appeared in an industrial film as composer Stephen Foster
Signed to a long-term contract with Warner Bros.
Film debut, "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"
Had principal role opposite Katherine Grayson in "So This Is Love"
Toured nightclubs as singer
Regular on TV variety show "Summer Holiday"
Debut as TV host, "Look Up and Live" (CBS)
Broadway debut in the musical-comedy "Finian's Rainbow"
Hosted primetime NBC game show "Play Your Hunch"
Served as a guest host of "The Tonight Show" for Jack Paar
Began hosting the hourlong daytime talk show "The Merv Griffin Show" (NBC) which debuted in October 1962 on the same day Carson began hosting "The Tonight Show"; show was canceled in April 1963
Formed Merv Griffin Productions (MPG)
Created TV game show "Jeopardy!" which ran as part of NBC's daytime lineup; Griffin's wife initially came up with the idea for a show where the answers were given and contestants came up with the questions; Griffin developed the idea and produced the show
Returned to host the 90-minute syndicated version of "The Merv Griffin Show" (with a two year stint at CBS from 1969-1971 often going head-to-head against Johnny Carson and Joey Bishop)
Convinced CBS to move the show from NYC to Los Angeles
Produced short-lived, syndicated evening version of "Jeopardy!" (with Art Fleming as host)
Created the "Wheel of Fortune," which ran as part of NBC's daytime lineup (with exception of July 1989-January 1991 when it aired on CBS)
Formed Merv Griffin Enterprises
Created and produced the syndicated series "Dance Fever" hosted by Deney Terrio and later Adrian Zmed
Merv Griffin Enterprises produced syndicated version of "Wheel of Fortune", hosted by Pat Sajak
Merv Griffin Enterprises produced syndicated version of "Jeopardy!", hosted by Alex Trebek
Sold Merv Griffin Enterprises to Columbia Pictures (then owned by Coca-Cola) for a reported $250 million
Established the Griffin Group, a conglomerate of seven different companies, of which Merv Griffin Hotels is the largest entity (operating eight luxury properties)
Won control of Resorts International from Donald Trump; Resorts International was forced into bankruptcy; company was subsequently reorganized
Sued for $200 million in palimony claim by former secretary-driver-horse trainer-bodyguard Brent Plott; suit dismissed with prejudice
Sued for $11.3 million by Deney Terrio, former host of "Dance Fever", for sexual harrassment; suit dismissed with prejudice
After pulling Resorts International into the black, merged it with Sol Kerzner's Sun International Hotels, making him a major stockholder of Sun International, a $1.5 billion company trading on the NYSE
Served as creative consultant on "Wheel of Fortune 2000", a spin-off version of "Wheel of Fortune" for children
Opend the Coconut Club, located in the Beverly Hilton Hotel
Executive produced the daily syndicated talk/cooking series "The Ainsley Harriott Show"
Announced plans to team with George Hamilton to produce film based on Hamilton's childhood
Sold the Beverly Hilton Hotel