Friends, Family Members and Dignitaries Mourn Merv Griffin in Beverly Hills

Hundreds of friends, family members and dignitaries gathered in Beverly Hills on Friday to mourn the death of entertainer Merv Griffin, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former first lady Nancy Reagan.
Griffin, a former television talk show host and creator of popular game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune," died earlier this week of complications from cancer at age 82.
He hosted "The Merv Griffin Show" for more than 20 years on TV, and was known for his wit, charm and friendly demeanor as he chatted with Hollywood's biggest stars.
Speaking to a packed church, Schwarzenegger remembered his first appearance on Griffin's show in 1974, when the actor-turned-politician was still a champion bodybuilder.
"My English wasn't that good at the time -- not that it is perfect today -- but it was scary to get on his show because it was the first talk show I'd ever done in America," said Austrian-born Schwarzenegger. "But I tell you that he took really good care of me."
Reagan, a longtime friend of Griffin, sat in the front row with the entertainer's son, Tony, his wife and kids. Behind them were Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver.
Hollywood celebrities included Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who both star on "Wheel of Fortune," as well as "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek. Also at the funeral service were actors Dick Van Dyke, Jack Klugman and Dick Van Patten.
Rev. George O'Brien of the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the memorial service was held, also noted Griffin's grace and wit when eulogizing the well-liked entertainer.
"In a world where there is precious little affability and friendship and concern and compassion ... his life is a reminder that maybe we ought to act differently," O'Brien said.
Griffin rose to fame singing the 1950 novelty hit "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," and he spent 23 years hosting the talk show that for years was the most successful syndicated U.S. TV program.
He parlayed his celebrity into a billion-dollar fortune as a businessman, owning game shows and developing numerous hotels, resorts and other real estate ventures.
In mid-July, Griffin entered a Beverly Hills hospital after being diagnosed earlier this year with a recurrence of prostate cancer that he had beaten more than a decade ago.

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