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Merv Griffin: A Life in the Closet [Hardcover]

Darwin Porter
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 16 2009
This is the first post-mortem, unauthorized insight into Merv Griffin, a failed singer and unsuccessful actor who unexpectedly rewrote the rules of America's broadcasting industry. He became the richest man in TV, befriended everyone in media who mattered, bought a casino, and maintained a secret life as America's most famously closeted homosexual. From a controversial writer whose previous work has virtually re-defined the art of the celebrity biography, HERE'S MERV.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sensationalistic gutter gossip Oct. 6 2011
Format:Hardcover
Can't imagine that all the "facts" in these pages are gospel, however it does make for a good trashy read if you are in the mood. Only really true and sad thing about Mr Griffin was that he had to lead such a closeted life and be in constant denial.
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Amazon.com: 2.4 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars outrageously over-the-top salaciousness Dec 18 2009
By Jeff Hanna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Anyone looking for a "serious" biography of Merv Griffin had best look elsewhere. Although the basic information about Merv's life is here, probably fifty per cent of this book is either outright fabrication or outrageous embellishment of POSSIBLY true stories, but it is a terrifically fun mixture of bio and over-the-top gay porn fantasy. For instance, Guy Madison of the 1940's is probably the "all-time all-timer" of gay male fantasies, so the idea of Merv sharing many a passionate night with Mr. Guy (while Guy is married to Gail Russell) is most titillating, though improbable. Darwin Porter must've had fun writing about Merv and his buddies, and lots of the dialogue he puts in people's mouths, especially the mouths of Liberace, Mae West, and Talullah Bankhead, is absolutely hilarious.

Many of the sexual couplings described are jaw-droppers - would you believe Dean Martin and Liberace?, Richard Burton and Eddie Fisher? (so Burton could "show him who's boss"), Truman Capote and Humphrey Bogart?, Gene Kelly and Vincent Minelli going at it repeatedly?, Merv "servicing" Frank Sinatra while 'ol blue eyes is fondling Lana Turner?, poor Lana on her knees in a nightclub men's room?, Merv "taking care" of Rock Hudson just moments after Hudson has finished servicing Miss Talullah's "womanly needs?"...well no, I don't believe these fairy tales either...but they're good for laughs and party conversation, although some of the anecdotes are just gross and ugly.

As for how many of the stories are ridiculous whoppers, one might point out that who would've believed that Marilyn and Joan Crawford spent the night together...until it was confirmed a few years ago on the front page of the Los Angeles Times?...so I guess anything is possible.

Get this bizarre book if what I've described appeals to your curiosity, don't take it too seriously, and just go along for the ride.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty Reading Pleasure July 23 2009
By Joseph Albanese - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When Merv Griffin was a talk show, it was looked down upon as a "poor man's Johnny Carson". Then, Mr. G.'s name became quite visible at the end of game show programs. Yet, somehow, I never could quite picture him as an interesting person. That is, until I read this book.

If you are looking for historical data or a morale lifting tale, put the book down now. However, if you need something light and full of gossip, how can you resist any book that begins with Merv and includes: Eva Gabor, Erroll Flynn, Tyronne Power, Johnny Weismuller, Ceasar Romero and . . . You get the idea? And then you read that further on, he had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. I didn't want to but I just could not put the book down.

It isn't wise (or very nice) to kiss-and-tell but it does make one dandy guilty pleasure of a read. Mr. Griffin was a complicated and driven person. Unfortunately the author merely notes what he did without linking it to any reason. So, perhaps it is a good thing that this is just an addictive candy that you can not stop eating.

This book makes no pretenses about what its intentions are. The author is not psychoanalyzing Merv; just reciting a litany of his life, career and sexual adventures. So, pull down the shades, get your favorite junk food handy and treat yourself.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing Dec 23 2010
By reading guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Merv interviewed 25,000 people over his career; anybody famous and interesting, he knew or met. It is a huge leap to say he slept with all the people the author asserts with no facts or motives. This book doesn't explain who Merv was - a nice guy, a bad guy, a sad person, somewhere inbetween? Anyone could take a list of famous eople and say they slept together. I'm surprised a really insightful bio of Merv has yet to be written because he was a fascinating person who deserves one. This is not it.
33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fiction Presented As Fact June 4 2009
By Julie Carriker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Is he kidding? Darwin Porter presents "Merv Griffin: A Life in the Closet" as a biography, and I've even read of it being called a 'serious biography,' but I just don't see it.

First, the 'facts' of Merv's numerous sexual escapades, as well as the major events in his career, are described mostly without dates, and not even necessarily in chronological order. The reader must rely events mentioned, such as film releases and politicians in power, to discover when something supposedly happened. When dates are used, they are sometimes WRONG. Porter has Ronald Reagan's death in 2004 AND 2005!

Next, some of his 'sources,' including actor Roddy McDowall, are no longer here to affirm what Porter is claiming they told him. What's the phrase, 'a dead man can't sue,' or something like that? It's interesting that when Merv's involvement with Ryan Seacrest is mentioned, it's said to be only a 'rumor'... OF COURSE it is! Ryan's alive and coud sue!

And thirdly, the writing simply isn't very good. For someone who has made his living as a travel writer, Porter doesn't seem to have a very large vocabulary. An example is that he uses the phrase 'more of less' in THREE consecutive sentences! Buy a thesaurus, Mr. Porter!

All in all, I think this book was a complete waste of my money.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More lies from Darwin Porter Feb. 19 2012
By Vintage Film Buff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book for about 30 minutes in a book store then left to wash my hands. More libelous rubbish courtesy of Darwin Porter who invents gay sexual fantasies about deceased movie stars in "biographies"that are suitable for fireplace kindling or toilet paper. Hard to know who is worse: the author or publisher of this trash.
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