Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Merv Griffin’s belongings going under the hammer

By Dean Goodman
April 28, 2009

Remember the “Seinfeld” episode where Kramer retrieved the set of “The Merv Griffin Show” from the trash and miraculously installed it in his apartment? 
Fans of the late television impresario will also be able to salvage merv2some of Griffin’s belongings when a California auction house puts them up for sale on Sunday. Griffin’s son Tony is unloading antiquities, fine furnishings and contemporary art from his father’s three homes in California.

From humble origins as a nightclub singer and bandleader, Merv Griffin built an entertainment empire around his game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He also hosted his own TV talk show and invested heavily in real estate. He died of prostate cancer in 2007, aged 82.


Oakland, Calif.-based Clars Auction Gallery estimates the total value of the 200 lots at a minimum of $282,000. The priciest item, estimated at between $30,000 and $50,000, is a 1926 oil painting of a California harbor by landscape artist Paul Starrett Sample. A chainsaw-carved plywood and acrylic diptych by contemporary abstract artist Charles Arnoldi is estimated to fetch between $10,000 and $20,000. 
For lesser-heeled fans, Clars has cleaned out Griffin’s closet. Dozens of tuxedos, suits, shirts, sweaters, pants and t-shirts are on the block, starting at $100 per lot. Griffin’s numerous Emmys are not included in the sale, but a Perspex statuette dubbed the Celanese Meridian Award did make the cut, priced at a mere $100-$200. Other tchotchkes include movie posters, a photo of one of Griffin’s horses, and a life-size chimpanzee prop.
Clars president Redge Martin said Griffin had “exquisite” taste, and that the auction was drawing interest from Griffin’s high-powered Hollywood friends.
Martin said the recession seems to have had little impact on auction sales of high-end furniture, jewelry and art. “There’s still a lot of money out there,” he said.

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