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FORMER GIRTH GIVES MERV MIRTH

Merv Griffin has shed 50 pounds since he stood up at a star-studded ceremony and popped a button off his dinner jacket in the general direction of a former Israeli prime minister.

Griffin, then 240 pounds, was being honored last year for his work on behalf of Israel's Hebrew University."I was so fat that when I stood up to accept the award, a button popped off my jacket and flew into the front row of people where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was sitting," Griffin recalled. "Then Marvin Davis stood up and popped a button, too. Rabin's Israeli bodyguards thought it was a terrorist attack."