It gained traction in 1991 when he was targeted in a pair of lawsuits: by "Dance Fever" host Denny Terrio, alleging sexual harassment; and by assistant Brent Plott seeking 0 million in palimony. Over the past 16 years of his life, however, Griffin deflected the sexuality questions with a quip, determining that his private life remained nobody's business.He certainly didn't owe us an explanation, but maybe he owed it to himself to remove the suffocating veil he'd been forced to hide behind throughout his adult life.(I live in Los Angeles, and have sometimes joked that I am of a gay generation 20 years younger than David Geffen, but one that has been out than him... It's an acknowledgment of the way the movement has evolved, and how our elders have evolved with it.) Merv Griffin, who died at 82, came of age when homosexuality was something very difficult to talk about, even by homosexuals.I have met old, openly-gay men who can still only bring themselves talk about the "friend" they have lived with for 50 years. But Merv lived in Hollywood, and Merv knew better—he surely knew that times had changed.Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hills funeral was a major Hollywood event, headlined by Nancy Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-starring Larry King, Ellen Degeneres and a host of TV old-timers such as Dick Van Dyke, Jack Klugman and Steve Lawrence.For some, the event was reminiscent of the funeral of another famous tycoon, an occasion that played a key role in launching the controversial journalistic-political tactic that came to be known as outing.“My father was a visionary,” Griffin’s son, Tony Griffin, said in a statement issued Sunday.
“So much attention was being focused on me that my marriage felt the strain.” He never remarried.
In a nutshell, that's his epitaph—from the gay community, at least.
You would expect editorials about Griffin from the Washington Blade and other gay publications.
12, queer-savvy media watchers wondered whether notices of his passing would maintain his preference for passing as straight.
In recent years, celebrity obituaries have continued the long tradition of burying the departed closet cases in journalistically closed coffins, taking the not-so-secret truth with them to the grave.