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Merv Griffin: A Life in the Closet [Hardcover]

Darwin Porter
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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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
2.0 out of 5 stars why now? Sept. 14 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
we were given years of tv entertainment from this gentleman and i believe after his passing it should not matter if he chose to remain "private " or let the world know his ………yes ,his private life.
just my opinion .
thanks and have g a good day :)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good sensationalistic gutter gossip Oct. 6 2011
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.7 out of 5 stars  48 reviews
32 of 36 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
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? 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.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guilty Reading Pleasure July 23 2009
By Joseph Albanese - Published on
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Belongs in the trash with the other garbage. Dec 12 2013
By Mollymae - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read the previous reviews so I guess I only have myself to blame. Then again, I thought, perhaps the people who hated it just liked Merv Griffin and didn't like what was written. Well, I have no opinion of the man one way or the other. I vaguely remember him from my childhood and can't say I was impressed on way or the other. I just happen to enjoy biographies. This one is written so poorly, the supposed "dialogue" between him and other actors is so obviously made up, that it is just hard to even stomach. Whole conversations between him and other people like Marlon Brando, Caesar Romero, Judy Garland etc. where it was just him and that person and no one else alive to corroborate anything that was allegedly said. But apparently he knows what was said between them. And the dialogue is awful. No one talks like that. No one has conversations like that. And apparently all these people just go right to the subject of sex whenever they meet Merv. Judy Garland telling him how she preferred another to her then husband because he wouldn't preform cunninglingus on her. Really? This is the topic of conversation? Hi. Let me tell you how much I enjoy oral sex. Please. And it seems that every single man he met, even those who told him they were straight, such as Richard Long, just couldn't help jumping into bed with Merv. I don't know about anyone else, but he's just not that irresistible. And the description of a three way with Merv and Marlon Brando and Brando's then roommate, Wally Cox was nauseating. Totally don't need a description of Wally Cox's member. And if you believe this, apparently not only was Roddy McDowall a homosexual (which he actually was) but he was a promiscuous, sexually aggressive pimp as well, who procured numerous men for Merv as well as others in Hollywood. I honestly couldn't keep reading because it was just so obviously made up. If Merv Griffin actually had the active sex life that this book depicts, he wouldn't have had time to shower and take a pee let alone pursue any kind of career. Even if you just love the "dirt" on celebrities, this book is just too ridiculous to be taken seriously. I had to stop reading. Stupid, just plain stupid. I will never, ever buy another book written by Darwin Porter again. And after perusing the list of things he's written I had realized that I had purchased a book by him quite a while ago, and that one was just as unreadable as this one. I never finished that one either. This man should seriously consider a job cleaning toilets for a living because that's where his mind and his writing and imagination certainly is. So bad it was annoying.
13 of 16 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
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.
34 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fiction Presented As Fact June 4 2009
By Julie Carriker - Published on
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.
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