Me to Merv in Three Degrees
Merv Griffin passed away this weekend. In Hollwoodland, whenever an a-lister shuffles off, everyone who ever so much as spit-shined his shoes gets into he act, trying to twist the event into a story about himself.
I'm no different.
Griffin was, of course, an industry giant who eventually became a one-man, multi-million-dollar holding company for hotels and riverboat casinos and all manner of big-ticket, pleasure-oriented investments. He started out in the late '40s, singing songs like, "I've Got a Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," and crooning on his own daily radio show on KFRC in San Francisco.
But I remember him best as the jovial host of "The Merv Giffin Show." It was the '70s, the age of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol, the Factory and disco. His show seemed so glamorous. He often called his guests "the bee-oo-tiful people," those stars who lived the sporting life in places like Saint Tropez and Gstaad.
One show was devoted to interviews with three women Griffin considered "classic beauties." These were actresses celebrated for their slender grace, noble carriage and elegant simplicity of style. Griffin decked them all out it Greek-style dresses, even though their "classic" beauty was far more WASP than Grecian.
Anyway, one of these classic beauties was Mariette Hartley, the TV actress whose career began (in earnest, anyway) with "Peyton Place" in 1964 and hasn't much slowed since. The recent series, "Dirt," in which Hartley guest stared with Courtney Cox, ran three seasons on FX.
Of course, I remember Hartley best for her role on the original Star Trek episode, "All Our Yesterdays," in which she played one of Spock's intermittent girlfriends.
So, anyway… Justine, one of Hartley's daughters and an actress in her own right---and quite a classic beauty herself---works a few day shifts at my local watering hole, Maeve's.
So there you have it -- from me to Merv in three degrees: Merv, Mariette, Justine, me.