The Hollywood Stars Who’ve Always Lit Up Vegas
Every year well over 40 million people head for Las Vegas drawn in by the bright lights, glitz and glamour. There’s the world-class gambling, of course. It’s what it’s been famous for ever since 1930 when it first started attracting the itinerant workers brought in to Nevada to build the enormous Hoover Dam. Then there are the glittering celebrity shows with everyone from Elton John to Britney Spears taking out residencies in the casinos and entertainment centres.
But, above all, it’s the reputation as a party town to end all party towns, plus a place frequented by celebrities from all walks of showbusiness that really makes Las Vegas such an incredible draw.
It’s hardly surprising that celebrities and the public alike are attracted to Vegas. After all, it’s the perfect place to flaunt their fame and their wealth. Plus, spotting a star in a casino while you’re on vacation there could be the highlight of the holiday for many people and has been for many years. Below are just some of the Hollywood stars of the ages who’ve frequented the famous strip over the years.
The rise of the Rat Pack
The 1950s and 1960s are widely regarded as being the decades in which Las Vegas became a marker as a place for famous people to hang out. Naturally, the casino owners were more than happy to promote this image in the hope of creating a buzz around their casino to attract more customers. It’s the era that still provides a great sense of nostalgia for a bygone age of style and class. Today’s generation can get a similar experience from the retro designs, classic games and stylish slots at online casinos like 777 online casino.
When you’re considering the heyday of Las Vegas, it’s also inextricably linked with one performer in particular, Frank Sinatra. As soon as the legendary singer became associated with the place, it was a huge draw for visitors flocking to catch a glimpse of him. His cool style and reputation for having a good time just seemed so “Vegas” – and when the so-called Rat Pack convened around him they were good for the city, and Sin City was certainly good for them.
Frank Sinatra performed at the Sands Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip.
While most people would say that the Rat Pack consisted of three main members, Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. it also contained a fair number of the screen darlings of the time. Top of the heap were the power couple of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It was Bacall who is said to have coined the name “Rat Pack”. The story goes that one night she walked in on Bogart, alongside other stars including David Niven, Angie Dickinson, Judy Garland and the legendary Hollywood agent Swifty Lazar after a particularly heavy drinking session. On seeing the state of inebriation they were all in she announced that they looked like ‘a pack of rats’ and the name stuck.
While celebrities may be considerably more restrained these days, many Hollywood A-listers still like to let off some steam with a visit to the casinos and card tables of Vegas – and often hit the headlines when they do.
A prime example of this is mega star Ben Affleck. The Oscar-winning actor and director got into a little hot water back in 2014 when he proved to very successful at playing blackjack. It emerged that he had perfected the skill of counting cards – a technique of mentally noting which had been dealt and, therefore, which were still in the pack which can give a player a definite edge over the dealer. Suspicions were aroused when he won $140,000 in a single session in the Hard Rock Café and then returned on another occasion and walked off with $800,000 after playing three hands at the same time. Far from admiring his skill, the casino took a very dim view of his actions, banning him for life. So, it’s thought that he’s continued with his love of cards by taking up poker instead.
Ocean’s 13 – unlucky for Clooney
Another actor whose love of the casino might not surprise you is George Clooney. After all, he must have picked up more than a few tricks and techniques while he was acting in the Ocean’s 11 series. Like Affleck, blackjack’s his game too,although he’s not quite so successful at it. On one memorable occasion he managed to lose no less than 25 hands in a row. Things became even more uncomfortable for him when fellow gambling fan Matt Damon had to cover his losses because the casino refused to accept an IOU from Clooney.
Sheen cleaned out
One more actor who has been at the wrong end of a losing streak is the troubled star Charlie Sheen. Never a man to do things by halves, Sheen was reported at one point to be gambling up to $200,000 a week across a number of Vegas casinos while going through a divorce. It was even said that once he had to be physically forced to leave the casino to head to the hospital where his wife was about to give birth to their baby daughter and placed a bet by phone with his bookie.
A winning hand for Pamela Anderson
The former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson is also said to be a frequent player in many of highest profile Vegas casinos where she’s shown she’s always willing to play for high stakes. The most that she’s lost in a single session was an incredible £250,000 in a poker game – and in the process she even agreed to marry the victor, Rick Salomon. A woman of her word, she did indeed marry him, but within a couple of months they’d separated.
There are countless other stories about Vegas-loving stars and no doubt there will be many more in the future. Because, just as you can be sure that the glamour of the place will live on, so will our fascination about the lives of the rich and famous – and the media will always share those juicy stories with us.