Merv Griffin sang “Thanks for the Memory” to me on the stage of his Beverly Hilton hotel as I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my column. He even sang a duet with Selma and brought down the house — and a tear from yours truly. Today it’s time for me to shed another tear for “Mervelous Merv.” I had known him from his days with Freddie Martin’s band at the Cocoanut Grove. His enthusiasm had never waned during all the six decades. His pure enjoyment of people and the business lit up any room in which he appeared–he didn’t have to perform. His joie de vivre filled the room. And his talent. . .what a talent. I last saw him perform on an improvised stage on Rodeo Drive. It was a birthday tribute to Fred Hayman, Merv generously sat down at the piano to tribute his old friend–from days at the Ambassador to the Beverly Hilton. While Merv owned the hotel, the halls of the lower level were decorated with photos of Merv and those he interviewed on his shows. It was a who’s who of the world’s–not only showbiz–celebrities. Everyone loved appearing on his show. Everyone loved Merv, yours truly included.