Thursday, August 16, 2007

Engagement: Stein-Sussman



August 16, 2007

Neil and Sandy Stein of Warminster announce the engagement of their daughter, Jennifer Beth, to Joshua Adam Sussman, son of Glenn and Donna Sussman of Marlboro, N.J.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics. She also holds a master's degree in elementary education from Arcadia University. Jennifer teaches kindergarten in Brooklyn.

Joshua graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Business with a degree in fiance. He owns an Internet-based business.

Jennifer is the granddaughter of Irving and Eleanor Lerner, and Betty Stein and the late Al Stein. Joshua is the grandson of Mildred and Arnold Sussman.

The couple, who lives in New York City, is planning a December wedding in Philadelphia.

Global Warming Backpedaling



Global warming cultists have gotten so carried away with their Chicken Little rhetoric that they’re going to have to start backpedaling if they expect people to take them seriously.

Even the hardly conservative Houston Chronicle observes that two of the events that helped win over the gullible — Katrina and last year’s warm summer — hardly constitute proof of Al Gore’s hysterical predictions. If global warming caused Katrina, where were all the hurricanes last year? Whose SUVs caused summers to be even hotter in the 1930s?

Inevitably, the hyperbolic hype is falling in on itself. As climate scientist Kevin Vranes of the University of Colorado puts it:

Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster.

Despite stern insistence by leftist fanatics that there is no debate, scientists who won’t drink the Kool-Aid are raising their voices. Says Judith Curry, an atmospheric scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology:

I think the rank-and-file are becoming more outspoken, and you’re hearing a broader spectrum of ideas.

A broad spectrum of ideas is the last thing Al Gore wants. He recently canceled an interview with Denmark’s largest newspaper Jyllands-Posten, apparently because the paper would also publish the views of global warming skeptic Bjorn Lomborg.

Avoiding contradictory views is a priority for Gore, who is standing on thinner ice than any polar bear. His grand scheme to remake human civilization would make the average person 30% poorer by 2100, and cost $553 TRILLION over the next century. People might start to wonder if it’s worth it, once they consider that Gore’s threatened 20-foot rise in sea level is exaggerated by a factor of 20, that his tale of global warming causing malaria in Nairobi is simply a lie, that only 2% of Antarctica has actually gotten warmer over the last 35 years, that global warming would save 10 times more lives than it would end in the UK, and that the computer models they use to invent scary scenarios could just as easily prove that the world is turning into a lump of Velveeta.


Yeah, yeah, we’re all doomed. Got it.

On tips from Monsoon and V the K.

NY Times Eats Its Words; Global Warming Threatens One Third of World’s Habitat


Cooler Heads Coalition
September 14, 2000

NY Times Eats Its Words

The New York Times on August 29 retracted its ridiculous front-page story of August 19 that the North Pole was melting. The reporter, John Noble Wilford, had even asserted that open water appeared at the pole this summer for perhaps the first time in 50 million years, which was only off by 49,999,999 years.

Apparently, the pressure to backpedal was fueled by an AP story that again retailed the claims of Harvard Professor James J. McCarthy without consulting any Arctic experts. However, the Times tried to save face by running another article by Wilford on page 3 of its Science section that did its best to cloud the whole issue. Wilford asserted that regardless of his little mistake, the Arctic has warmed by 11 degrees in the last 30 years. And in a major story in the September 4 Time magazine, "The Big Meltdown", junk science purveyor Eugene Linden claimed that there's still plenty of evidence of the deleterious effects of global warming in the Arctic.

The temperature data tells a different story that the fact checkers at the Times and at Time (if they still employ any) may want to consult. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Second Assessment Report, the Arctic has warmed, not by 11, but by 2.7 degrees F in the last 30 years. Moreover, the article looked at the past 30 years because 1969 was conveniently the coldest year since about 1920. The Arctic was warmer in 1935 than it is now. Over the past 70 years, the temperature trend has been essentially zero (see Virtual Climate Alert #29 at

It’s a Cool, Cool Summer

The global warming propaganda juggernaut has been lying low this summer due to unusually cool temperatures and a relative lack of natural disasters. Indeed, the tropics this summer are cooler than they have been since satellites began measuring global temperatures in 1979.

According to Dr. John Christy, of Earth System Science Laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, "Based on the satellite record, which started in 1979, the equatorial tropics experienced its coolest year in 1999, when the composite temperature was 0.34 degrees Celsius below the 20-year average for that region."

Moreover, "That trend has continued through the first eight months of this year, with temperatures in the tropics 0.39 degrees C cooler than normal," he said. These cooler temperatures can be attributed to La Niña, which is a cooling of the Pacific Ocean, just as the warmer than average temperatures in 1997 and 1998 can be attributed to the El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event.

The Northern Hemisphere, on the other hand, has been warmer than normal this year. "That has been the trend over the past 20 years," Christy said. "During that time we’ve seen a 0.25 degree C per decade warming in the Northern Hemisphere, a very slight cooling in the tropics, and enough cooling in the Southern Hemisphere to almost offset the warming in the north."

Global Warming Threatens One Third of World’s Habitat

The World Wildlife Fund has released a strident report that claims, "Global warming could fundamentally alter one third of the plant and animal habitats by the end of this century, and cause the eventual extinction of certain plant and animal species."

"In the northern latitudes of Russia, Canada and Scandanavia," claims the report, "up to 70 percent of habitat could be lost" due to rapid warming."

According to Adam Markham, Executive Director of Clean Air-Cool Planet, and one of the report’s co-authors, "As global warming accelerates, plants and animals will come under increasing pressure to migrate to find suitable habitat. Some will just not be able to move fast enough."

The report also claims that species that are isolated, such as those found on islands or in "fragmented habitats" are most at risk. But these species are most at risk due to their isolation not from global warming. Indeed, island species have always been at greater risk from extinction than non-island species.

The report claims, "Already, Costa Rica’s golden toad has probably become extinct. Birds such as the great tit in Scotland and the Mexican jay in Arizona are beginning to breed earlier in the year; butterflies are shifting their ranges northwards throughout Europe; and mammals in many parts of the Arctic – including polar bears, walrus and caribou – are beginning to feel the impacts of reduced sea ice and warming tundra habitat."

Some of these changes, although true, are actually beneficial to species. The change in butterfly ranges isn’t a shift but an expansion. A study in Nature by Parmesan et al, which analyzed the distributional changes of European butterflies, found that "nearly all northward shifts [of butterfly ranges] involved extension at the northern boundary with the southern boundary remaining stable," thus increasing butterfly habitat and enhancing survivability.

Another study in Nature by Thomas and Lennon found that British bird distributions from 1970 to 1990 experienced a similar habitat expansion. Northern habitat boundaries shifted 19 kilometers while the southern boundary remained stable.

A study that appeared in the Canadian Field-Naturalist by Norment et al studied bird surveys taken along the Thelon River and its tributaries in the Canadian Northwest Territories from the 1920s through much of the 1990s. They found that three bird species had expanded their range southward, nine bird species had expanded their range northward and sixteen bird species were new to the area. Moreover, mammals such as red squirrel, moose porcupine, river otter and beaver had also recently established themselves in the area.

Finally, a review of the scientific literature by Keith and Sherwood Idso, which appeared in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, found that atmospheric CO2 enrichment increases the temperature at which plants function optimally, negating the need for migration.

The WWF study can be found at Full citations and reviews of the scientific papers cited above can be found at


  • The New York Times’s embarrassing retraction of its "The North Pole is Melting" story inspired a top ten list by David Letterman on the August 30 Late Show.

Top Ten Signs the New York Times is Slipping

10. Instead of "All The News That's Fit To Print," slogan is "Stuff We Heard From A Guy Who Says His Friend Heard About It."

9. President does something on the TV show "West Wing," next day it's on front page.

8. It's 108 pages, and there's not one single vowel.

7. For every story, accompanying photo is Tony Danza.

6. Obituary has become list of people editors wish would die.

5. Dick Cheney consistently referred to as "the dude from those Wendy's commercials."

4. Notice on sports page: "All scores are approximate."

3. Only ad in job classifieds: "Wanted -- someone who knows how to put together a damn newspaper."

2. For last two weeks, edited by a disoriented Anne Heche.

1. They're endorsing George W. Bush.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Desegregation pioneer dies at 90

Desegregation pioneer dies at 90

Mon Aug 13, 10:32 AM ET

GLOUCESTER, Va. - Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, a black woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat to white passengers led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision more than a decade before Rosa Parks gained recognition for doing the same, has died at 90.

Kirkaldy died Friday at her daughter's home, said Fred Carter, director of Carter Funeral Home in Newport News.

Kirkaldy, born Irene Morgan in Baltimore in 1917, was arrested in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus heading from Gloucester to Baltimore, and for resisting arrest.

Her case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by an NAACP lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black justice on the high court.

The Supreme Court held in June 1946 that Virginia law requiring the races to be separated on interstate buses — even making passengers change seats during their journey to maintain separation if the number of passengers changed — was an invalid interference in interstate commerce.

At the time, the case received little attention, and not all bus companies complied with the ruling at first, but it paved the way for civil rights victories to come, including Parks' famous stand on a local bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

Kirkaldy also inspired the first Freedom Ride in 1947, when 16 civil rights activists rode buses and trains through the South to test the Supreme Court decision.

In 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal — the second highest civilian honor in the United States.

Asked where her courage came from that day, Kirkaldy said simply: "I can't understand how anyone would have done otherwise."

She was not part of any organized movement, unlike Parks, who was an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when she challenged segregation.

Kirkaldy, then a young mother, boarded the Greyhound bus in Hayes Store, Va., and took a seat toward the back for her ride home. She was recovering from surgery and had taken her two children to stay temporarily with her mother in Gloucester.

A few miles down the road, the driver told her to move because a white couple wanted to occupy her row.

"I said 'Well, no,'" she recalled. "That was a seat I had paid for."

Kirkaldy said she willingly paid a $100 fine for resisting arrest because she did kick the officer who tried to remove her from the bus.

"Sometimes, you are so enraged, you don't have time to be afraid," she remarked in 2000.
She lived out of the spotlight for decades after the case, earning a college degree in 1985 at age 68, and lived most of her life in New York state.

She said she didn't mind the relatively little notice her achievements brought.

"If there's a job to be done, you do it and get it over with and go on to the next thing," she told The Washington Post in 2000.

Her daughter, Brenda Bacquie, told the newspaper: "She always taught us that if you know you're right, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It's a moral thing. ... She doesn't see herself as a hero."

Brian "Crush" Adams passes away

Brian "Crush" Adams passes away

Written: August 13, 2007

World Wrestling Entertainment has learned that Brian Adams, also known to our fans as Crush, has been found dead today. More details are unknown; stay tuned to as they become available.

Bill's comment: Can it get any worse for professional wrestling? Besides the double-murder suicide involving Chris Benoit, you have had Sherri Martel and former ECW wrestler John Kronus die recently, all of them under the age of fifty. I would not be surprised if it is another drug-related death, just like the previously mentioned deceased wrrestlers above.

Stay tuned.

Candidates see themselves in Roosevelt

Candidates see themselves in Roosevelt

By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press Writer
Mon Aug 13, 4:27 PM ET

CONCORD, N.H. - Speaking loudly and carrying on like Theodore Roosevelt. It's a rare part of the 2008 presidential campaign rhetoric that crosses party lines.

Democrats and Republicans alike are frequently invoking the words of the nation's 26th president and renowned political maverick as they project a take-no-prisoners image in a time of protracted war and continuing terrorist threats.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney managed to mention Roosevelt, a GOP chief executive before he led the Progressive Party in 1912, twice during a recent GOP debate. First, Romney referred to "a campaign of values, combined with our strong arms, speaking softly but carrying a strong stick, as Teddy Roosevelt said, that will help move the world to a safer place."

Later, Romney cited Roosevelt as a source of inspiration — along with his father, Ronald Reagan and the Declaration of Independence.

Roosevelt, who lived from 1858 to 1919, would be a dream candidate by most standards: New York state legislator, New York City police commissioner, assistant Navy secretary, hero of the Spanish-American War, governor of New York, vice president.

When President William McKinley died from an assassin's bullet in September 1901, Roosevelt, only 42, became the youngest president ever. His 7-1/2 years in office were marked by efforts to break up business monopolies, help working men assert their rights, build the Panama Canal, improve the quality of food and drugs, expand U.S. power in the world and conserve natural resources.

"There's an awful lot for every presidential candidate to love in Theodore Roosevelt," said history professor John Robert Greene, who has researched how Roosevelt's words have been used by his successors. "You will not find the same appropriation of image with any other president."

Greene, who teaches at Cazenovia College in New York, said candidates often co-opt Roosevelt's image to show they understand what it takes to be president in times of crisis, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

One of the most quoted lines — "Speak softly and carry a big stick" — was a West African proverb Roosevelt first tried out as vice president and later adopted as a personal mantra, according to Edmund Morris' 2001 biography "Theodore Rex." It also defined a foreign policy based on the threat of American power.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, uses the quote to say the United States must stay on offense against terrorists while reaching out to the rest of the Muslim world. Romney borrows it to describe his plan to boost the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops.

Such references reflect a shallow study of Roosevelt's foreign policy, said Eric Rauchway, a history professor at the University of California, Davis. Roosevelt was a deft compromiser who avoided war, said Rauchway, author of "Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt's America."

"He was much less likely to wield a big stick than to try desperately to shake hands on almost any terms," he said. "It's more like, 'Speak loudly and carry a ready handshake.'"

For Romney, Roosevelt's "can-do attitude" remains his most appealing quality.

"What Teddy Roosevelt did for this country — his vision, enthusiasm, passion and character — are still inspiring to us today," he said.

Sen. John McCain, meanwhile, could be trying to associate himself with Roosevelt's youthful vigor, Greene said.

"Everything that's associated with the youth and vitality of Theodore Roosevelt, you want that to rub off on you when you are a 70-year-old candidate," Greene said of McCain.

"I quote him as often as I can," McCain acknowledged in a brief interview last month. "The main reason he's my hero is because he had a vision of the role of America in the world and he really brought America into the world scene in the 20th century."

McCain said he identifies with the so-called "Man in the Arena" speech Roosevelt delivered at the Sorbonne in April 1910.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better," Roosevelt said. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."

On Saturday, McCain alluded to that speech in telling New Hampshire voters that he will continue to fight efforts by Democrats to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

"I will be there in the arena. ... I will be leading the fight against setting a date for surrender, which is what setting a date for withdrawal means," he said.

But Greene said McCain may be signaling the beginning of the end of his campaign.

"Politicians who have been brutalized in the media or who have hit rock bottom with public option use the 'Man in the Arena' speech to show that even when they're getting beat up, that happens to men who really want to change things, like Theodore Roosevelt," Greene said.

For Democrats, Roosevelt is useful to those who want to be seen as tough reformers, said Rauchway. Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden have praised Roosevelt for breaking up financial trusts and industrial monopolies. Yet, Rauchway said, his successor, William Howard Taft, actually broke up more trusts than Roosevelt.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Obama have been using the same Roosevelt quote — "The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us" — in laying out economic and ethics reforms.

"He favored the growth of government to fetter business and to aid the poor, but he didn't use a kind of what we might call a bleeding-heart rhetoric," Rauchway said. "He used a very manly, forthright rhetoric. He put a kind of macho face on American liberalism."

NY socialite Brooke Astor dies at 105

NY socialite Brooke Astor dies at 105

By ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press Writer
50 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Brooke Astor, the civic leader, philanthropist and high society fixture who gave away nearly $200 million to support New York City's great cultural institutions and a host of humbler projects, died Monday. She was 105.

Astor, who recently was the center of a highly publicized legal dispute over her care, died of pneumonia at Holly Hill, her Westchester County estate in Briarcliff Manor, family lawyer Kenneth Warner said.

"Brooke was truly a remarkable woman and an irreplaceable friend," longtime family friend David Rockefeller said. "She was the leading lady of New York in every sense of the word."

Although a legendary figure in New York City and feted with a famous gala on her 100th birthday in March 2002, Astor was mostly interested in putting the fortune that husband Vincent Astor left to use helping others.

Her efforts won her a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1998.

"Money is like manure, it should be spread around," was her oft-quoted motto. There has been a lot to spread in the family ever since Vincent Astor's great-great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor, made a fortune in fur trading and New York real estate.

Brooke Astor gave millions to what she called the city's "crown jewels" — among them the New York Public Library, Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, the Bronx Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the flags were lowered to half-staff after her death.

She also funded scores of smaller projects: Harlem's Apollo Theater; a new boiler for a youth center; beachside bungalow preservation; a church pipe organ; furniture for homeless families moving in to apartments.

It was a very personal sort of philanthropy. "People just can't come up here and say, `We're doing something marvelous, send a check.' We say, 'Oh, yes, we'll come and see it,'" she said.

The final year of Astor's life was marred by a family feud over her care, including allegations that she was forced to sleep on a couch that smelled of urine while subsisting on a diet of pureed peas and oatmeal.

Papers filed in July 2006 alleged her final years were marred by neglect, and in a settlement three months later her son, Anthony Marshall, was replaced as her legal guardian with Annette de la Renta, wife of the fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

Marshall's son Philip Marshall, a professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, had alleged that his father was looting his grandmother's estate and allowing her to live in filthy conditions at her Park Avenue duplex. Anthony Marshall, a former diplomat and sometime Broadway producer who won Tony awards in 2003 and 2004, denied any wrongdoing.

In December, a Manhattan judge ruled that claims "regarding Mrs. Astor's medical and dental care, and the other allegations of intentional elder abuse" by Anthony Marshall were not substantiated.

"I have lost my beloved mother, and New York and the world have lost a great lady," Marshall said. "She was one of a kind in every way. Her tombstone will be inscribed with the words she specifically asked for: 'I had a wonderful life.' I am thankful that she did. I will miss her deeply and always."

Astor was born Brooke Russell in March 30, 1902, when Theodore Roosevelt was president, the U.S. had only 45 states and the Wright brothers had yet to make their first flight.

She was the only child of John H. Russell, a career Marine officer who rose to become commandant of the Corps from 1934 to 1936. She was fluent in Chinese after having spending her childhood in China and many other places, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Hawaii and Panama.

"I grew up feeling that the most important thing in life was to have good manners and to enhance the lives of others," Brooke Astor said in a 1992 interview with The Associated Press.

At age 16, she was pushed by her mother into marriage with J. Dryden Kuser, whom she had met at a Princeton prom. The marriage ended in divorce 10 years later.

Her second marriage was to stockbroker Charles "Buddie" Marshall. Her son Anthony, from her marriage to Kuser, took Marshall's name. During her marriage to Marshall, Astor wrote articles for various magazines and joined the staff of House & Garden, where she was feature editor for several years.

Marshall died in 1952. A year later, she married Vincent Astor, the eldest son of John Jacob Astor 4th, who died in the sinking of the Titanic.

Vincent Astor, who had no children, died in 1959. He left his widow $2 million plus the interest off $60 million and endowed the Vincent Astor Foundation with an additional $67 million. It gave away approximately $200 million by the time it closed at the end of 1997.

"Vincent was a very suspicious man," Brooke Astor recalled. "The fact that he had total confidence in me to run the foundation made me want to vindicate him, show him — wherever he is — that I could do a good job."

She decided that since the money was made in New York it should largely be spent there. She also persuaded the trustees to give away principal as well as interest so most of the money would be spent in her lifetime.

"I'm afraid that, to old John Jacob Astor, spending principal would seem like dancing naked in the streets," she acknowledged.

Hers was a hands-on approach, personally going over applications and then going out to meet the people who ran the programs.

"Even in the worst drug areas, I don't hesitate to go right in and see people," she once said.

Astor Foundation director Linda Gillies, several decades younger than Astor, once said Astor "wears us out."

"Often," Gillies said, "we can't keep up with her."

Astor wrote four books: "Patchwork Child," a 1962 autobiography; "The Bluebird is at Home," 1965, a novel; the autobiographical "Footprints," 1980; and "The Last Blossom on the Plum Tree," 1986, a period novel.
Associated Press writer Adam Goldman contributed to this report.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Merv Griffin Dies at Age 82

Merv Griffin Dies at Age 82

Aug 12 12:03 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Merv Griffin, the entertainer turned impresario who parlayed his "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune" game shows into a multimillion- dollar empire, has died. He was 82.

Griffin died of prostate cancer, according to a statement from his the family that was released by Marcia Newberger, spokeswoman for The Griffin Group/Merv Griffin Entertainment.

From his beginning as a $100-a-week San Francisco radio singer, Griffin moved on as vocalist for Freddy Martin's band, sometime film actor in films and TV game and talk show host. His "The Merv Griffin Show" lasted more than 20 years, and Griffin's said his capacity to listen contributed to his success.

"If the host is sitting there thinking about his next joke, he isn't listening," Griffin reasoned in a recent interview.

But his biggest break financially came from inventing and producing "Jeopardy" in the 1960s and "Wheel of Fortune" in the 1970s. After they had become the hottest game shows in television, Griffin sold the rights to Coca-Cola for $250 million in 1986, retaining a share of the profits.

After they became the hottest game shows in television, Griffin sold the rights to them to the Columbia Pictures Television Unit for $250 million, retaining a share of the profits. He started spreading the sale money around in treasury bonds, stocks and other investments.

He made Forbes' list of richest Americans several times and started putting money in treasury bonds, stocks and other investments. But he went into real estate and other ventures because "I was never so bored in my life."

"I said, `I'm not going to sit around and clip coupons for the rest of my life,' " he recalled in 1989.

"That's when Barron Hilton said, `Merv, do you want to buy the Beverly Hilton?' I couldn't believe it."

Griffin bought the slightly passe hotel for $100.2 million and completely refurbished it for $25 million. Then he made a move for control of Resorts International, which operated hotels and casinos from Atlantic City to the Caribbean.

That touched off a feud with real estate tycoon Donald Trump. Griffin eventually acquired Resorts for $240 million, netting a reported paper profit of $100 million.

"I love the gamesmanship," he told Life magazine in 1988. "This may sound strange, but it parallels the game shows I've been involved in."

It was in 1948 that Martin hired Griffin to join his band at Los Angeles' Coconut Grove at $150 a week. With Griffin doing the singing, the band had a smash hit with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts," a 1949 novelty song sung in a cockney accent.

The band was playing in Las Vegas when Doris Day and her producer husband, Marty Melcher, were in the audience. They recommended him to Warner Bros., which offered a contract. After a bit in "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," starring Day and Gordon MacRae, he had a bigger role with Kathryn Grayson in "So This Is Love." A few more trivial roles followed, then he asked out of his contract.

In 1954, Griffin went to New York where he appeared in a summer replacement musical show on CBS-TV, a revival of "Finian's Rainbow," and a music show on CBS radio. He followed with a few game show hosting jobs on TV, notably "Play Your Hunch," which premiered in 1958 and ran through the early 1960s. His glibness led to stints as substitute for Jack Paar on "Tonight."

When Paar retired in 1962, Griffin was considered a prime candidate to replace him. Johnny Carson was chosen instead. NBC gave Griffin a daytime version of "Tonight," but he was canceled for being "too sophisticated" for the housewife audience.

In 1965, the Westinghouse Broadcasting introduced "The Merv Griffin Show" in syndicated TV. At last Griffin had found the forum for his talents. He never underestimated the intelligence of his audience, offering such figures as philosopher Bertrand Russell, Pablo Casals and Will and Ariel Durant as well as movie stars and entertainers.

With Carson ruling the late-night roost on NBC in the late 1960s, the two other networks challenged him with competing shows, Griffin on CBS, Joey Bishop (later Dick Cavett) on ABC. Nothing stopped Carson, and Griffin returned to Westinghouse.

Meanwhile, Griffin sought new enterprises for his production company. A lifelong crossword puzzle fan, he devised a game show "Word for Word," in 1963. It faded after one season, then his wife, Julann, suggested another show.

"Julann's idea was a twist on the usual question-answer format of the quiz shows of the Fifties," he wrote in his autobiography "Merv." "Her idea was to give the contestants the answer, and they had to come up with the appropriate question."

"Jeopardy," begun in 1964, became a huge moneymaker for Griffin, as did a more conventional game show, "Wheel of Fortune," starting in 1975.

Mervyn Edward Griffin Jr. was born in San Mateo, south of San Francisco on July 6, 1925, the son of a stockbroker. His aunt, Claudia Robinson, taught him to play piano at age 4, and soon the boy was staging shows on the back porch of the family home.

"Every Saturday I had a show, recruiting all the kids in the block as either stagehands, actors and audience, or sometimes all three," he wrote in his 1980 autobiography. "I was the producer, always the producer."

After studying at San Mateo Junior College and the University of San Francisco, Griffin quit school to apply for a job as pianist at radio station KFRC in San Francisco. The station needed a vocalist instead. He auditioned and was hired.

Griffin was billed as "the young romantic voice of radio." He attracted the interest of RKO studio boss William Dozier, who was visiting San Francisco with his wife, Joan Fontaine.

"As soon as I walked in their hotel room, I could see their faces fall," the singer recalled. He weighed 235 pounds. Shortly afterward, singer Joan Edwards told him: "Your voice is terrific, but the blubber has got to go." Griffin slimmed down, and he would spend the rest of his life adding and taking off weight.

Griffin and Julann Elizabeth Wright were married in 1958, and a son, Anthony, was born the following year. The couple divorced in 1973 because of "irreconcilable differences."

"It was a pivotal time in my career, one of uncertainty and constant doubt," he wrote in the autobiography. "So much attention was being focused on me that my marriage felt the strain." He never remarried.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.