Tags: Merv | Griffin | FBI

Merv Griffin Feared Extortion, Contacted the FBI

Tuesday, 02 Oct 2007 03:46 PM

Television personality Merv Griffin contacted the FBI over a possible extortion threat after receiving a series of vile letters from a then-unknown party, according to FBI documents obtained by NewsMax.

[Editor's Note: See FBI File on Merv Griffin - Click Here Now]

On Aug. 27, 1974, the FBI got word that Griffin — who died this past August at age 82 — would be visiting the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for a TV appearance, and that he had previously received threatening letters from an unknown person in the St. Paul area.

Griffin’s office asked the FBI to provide protection for the TV star during his visit, but the agency responded that it “cannot provide protection for individuals and that he should contact the Minneapolis Police Department,” the FBI documents disclose.

But the query to the FBI apparently sparked the Bureau’s interest, and they advised Griffin to “contact the Los Angeles Office of the FBI regarding any possible extortion.”

Griffin received a total of 35 threatening letters at his Los Angeles office. The writer evidently claimed to be the real creator of the TV game show “Jeopardy!” which in fact was created by Griffin.

“You vile and wicked, cheating and scheming RAT! You stole my ‘Jeopardy,’” one of the 35 letters began.

Another began: “You despicable, vile, stinking RAT!”

Another read: “You uncouth, wicked, degenerated pig.”

At least one letter contained a demand for Griffin to fork over $5,000 or, the writer stated, “You are dead.”

The FBI decided to investigate the matter. Documents show the FBI was able track down the person sending the letters. One FBI document recounts a 1976 interview with the person, whose name has been redacted, but is identified as a female. The Bureau determined the individual had been “undergoing psychiatric care for the past couple of years . . .” and that her family “is presently attempting to have her re-committed for observation.”

The matter was reviewed by the U.S. attorney in Boston, who declined to prosecute the individual on the basis of a “psychotic condition.”

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