Luxe Life Blog
Strip Scribbles: A fond farewell to a wonderful friend, Ernest Borgnine
A sad loss as a wonderful man departs. Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine died Sunday, and I remember him fondly. My former “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous talent booker Karen Cadle brought him to Las Vegas last November, and we caught up at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace during an autograph show. I was friends with Ernie and his wife Tova for 30-plus years starting in the early 1980s.
Karen emailed me this morning: “I was so lucky to be able to travel with him for the last several years. He was a life lesson every day of his life. I hope that I listened well. I always try to think of the best memories when someone I care about passes away, and with Ernie, it was the constant laughter that lit up every room he entered. It was the countless memories that he gave to so many people and for such a long time. He will be missed; we won’t forget this unforgettable man. As Ernie would agree, ‘It’s not about what you have in your life, but who you have in your life.’ We were all lucky to have had him.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. My former “LRF” field director Tony Richards reminded me Sunday as the sad news hit from Hollywood that we had filmed Ernie and Tova as they renewed their wedding vows on the Sea Goddess cruise.
WSOP MAIN EVENT: Today is the third and final day for poker players to enter and play in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio. Three days of initial play will narrow down Tuesday and Wednesday and then combine in just one field with the money bubble being reached Friday. The Final Nine table is next Monday and play will be halted and then resume Oct. 28 with the big money victor being decided before the Nov. 2 election.
So far, we have seen actor and comedian Ray Romano, 2011 Main Event and $8,715,638 champion Pius Heinz, actor Kevin Pollak, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, action star Steven Seagal, UFC ring beauty and Playboy centerfold Brittney Palmer, UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre and actress and model Elizabeth Hurley, who arrived at noon today. Executives believe the final number of players will be more than 7,000.
KNOCKED OUT TWICE: It’s difficult to believe that one can be knocked out twice in the same evening of entertainment at different ends of the music spectrum, but it happened. Wow! Trumpeter Chris Botti was a magical genius with jazz, classical and pop, plus, his brilliant band’s superb orchestrations: longtime drummer Billy Kilson, extraordinary violinist Caroline Campbell and singer Lisa Fischer. Partnered with piano prince Billy Childs, it was possibly the best concert so far at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performance Arts. The bestselling concert in heaven will be Chris with this crew; it was beyond beautiful -- heavenly, in fact!
I also experienced the wonders and tech-effects magic of the 130 SurfVision screens at “Surf the Musical” at Planet Hollywood directed by Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by R.J. Durell. What an energetic, enthusiastic and lively cast dancing, floating and fighting for teen love as they drag race onstage convertibles through songs of the Beach Boys. SurfVision soared! It’s uncanny how it switches to become so real as Malibu Beach or Santa Monica Pier. When the kids took an amusement park ride, the audience was so blown away by the marriage of video and reality that they applauded. I was impressed, too! This bikini and jukebox musical is a must-see. The official premiere is July 17.
KING OF POP SLOTS: Treasure Island has launched a Michael Jackson slot machine that plays the late singer’s music. The King of Pop slot machine was developed here by Bally Technologies technicians and is manufactured to be shipped worldwide. T.I. is one of the first Strip properties to feature it.
10 YEARS OF TAKIN’ IT OFF: Congratulations to the Aussie hunks of Thunder from Down Under who celebrated their 10th anniversary at Excalibur with a cake replicating the Excalibur castle and the Sydney Opera House.
Two-time “Dancing With the Stars” champion Mark Ballas starts the four-week extension of “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at the Tropicana as a guest star through Thursday. It’s a reunion with Season 5 partner Sabrina Bryan. Botero Supper Club premieres at the Encore restaurant of the same name with chef Mark LoRusso’s nightlife menu, Wynn resident DJs starting with Warren Peace and DJ Alesso’s 21st birthday dinner, which then moves to next-door XS.
Bill Fayne, his 22-piece orchestra and an all-star lineup of Strip talent kick off two nights of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” at LVH in a benefit for Golden Rainbow. Golden Rainbow also benefits from “Cabanas for a Cause” at Palms Pool with daybeds, tables and cabanas going for $100 apiece all donated to the HIV/AIDS service group. Brad Garrett headlines at his Comedy Club at MGM Grand with Karen Rontowski and Andy Pitz. And the wonderful Audrey Hepburn classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the Dive-In movie at Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Pool.
I take off for my annual recharge-the-batteries vacation in Italy under the Tuscan sun, but we’ll still be here every day thanks to our esteemed Editor Don Chareunsy and a squad of Las Vegas celebrities and VIPs who’ve generously contributed guest columns during my absence in Europe. It starts with nightlife czar Jesse Waits unraveling the electronic dance music phenomenon and “Pawn Stars” hero Rick Harrison discussing his wedding in the works.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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