Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.  
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from September 21, 2012
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - September 21, 2012

Joey Pero

Niki Scalera

As summer comes to an end (fall begins tomorrow), so does our brief vacation. We missed covering some things over the past couple of weeks, but will try to play a little catch up regarding upcoming events and giving a follow-up on certain things that have already occurred.

Over Labor Day weekend, one door, er curtain, closed, while another opened. Actually, more than one curtain closed, and another great big one opened. Las Vegas said goodbye to Viva Elvis, that had played at Aria since December of 2009, and Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular (that entertained crowds at The Venetian for more than six years), and hello to Wicked, the Tony-winning musical that opened at The Smith Center on August 29th, and will run until October 7th.

Speaking of Phantom, Brent Barrett, the former masked man in the Las Vegas production, is back on Broadway as Billy Flynn in Chicago. Our Phavorite Phantom is also a favorite with the long-running John Kander and Fred Ebb musical (Chicago has been playing on Broadway for 15 years), as they keep bringing Barrett back to recreate the role of the " the suave, ethically challenged" lawyer. This time around, Brent will portray Flynn through November 4th. Billy Ray Cyrus, making his Broadway debut, will take over the role for six weeks, beginning November 5th.

* * * * * * * *

One of our favorite things to do in Las Vegas is attend the monthly Composers Showcase. On Wednesday, The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz room showcased the songs of local composers and songwriters, Vita Corimbi, Bill Fayne, Benjamin Hale, Christopher Lash, Richard Oberacker, Michael Spadoni, Keith Thompson, Mark Wherry, the newly married Tyler Williams, and Ashton Zyer. (Ms. Zyer will be featured in the Cabaret Jazz tomorrow night, Saturday, September 22nd, with monies to benefit the Rape Crisis Center. Performers for the September edition of the Composers Showcase included Jordan Bondurant, Kris Coleman, Douglas Crawford, Chris Fore, Merissa Hadad, Christine Hudman, Randal Keith, Zoe Konsur, Aaron MacKenzie, Renata Renee Micatrotto, Joey Pero, Tristan Sanchez, Niki Scalera, Savannah Smith, Lauren Tartaglia, Annette Houlihan Verdolino and Nikka Wahl. Accompanying musicians were Chris Capistrano, Tish Diaz, Otto Ehling, Mike Erickson, Dan Falcone, Joel Ferguson, Keith Nelson, Mark Pardy, Dan Philippus, Austin Pooley, Jeff Ray, Johnny J. Rivera, Matt Taylor and Eric Tewalt. Material ranged from serious and touching, to pieces from, as yet, unproduced musical theater selections, to some very funny and a little bit naughty numbers. As host, Keith Thompson kept reminding the crowd, it was a night of "cultcha" (culture). Showcases start at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). The next one takes place on Wednesday, October 24th. Tickets are $20. There is a cash bar, and a late night menu is available. For Composer Showcase reservations, call The Smith Center at (702) 749-2000, or go to

And speaking of The Smith Center, we are pleased to report that curb cuts were recently installed in front of the Reynolds Hall/Boman Pavilion (Cabaret Jazz)/box office at 361 Symphony Park Avenue, and the lovely park across the street. Assistant House Manager, Sara Thielman, has been designated to point out access issues at The Smith Center, so look for more improvements at the $427 million performing arts facility, including adding automatic doors to the box office. A great big THANK YOU to whoever is responsible for correcting these flaws.

The Smith Center with Curb Cuts

Happy Fella Bill Nolte and Amber Nicole Guest

Spotted singer/actor Bill Nolte at the showcase. The New York resident spent a few days visiting friends in Las Vegas, between engagements. Nolte, who played the pigeon-raising Nazi in the Paris Las Vegas production of Mel Brooks' The Producers, just wound up a run in Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella at Lyric Stage, outside Dallas, where he received some glowing reviews for his role, including this by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs from TheaterJones. "As Tony, Nolte is definitive in the role. Period. The End. He perfectly captures the older Italian immigrant's character; grumpy, boisterous, generous, forthright - and with a heart as big as his voice. As his possessive sister, Marie, constantly reminds him, he isn't smart or handsome, but Nolte infuses him with a peasant's graciousness that transcends all of those perceived faults. His program blurb only mentions Broadway roles, but vocally, he could easily grace the stage of any opera house in the world." From Lawson Taitte of the Dallas Morning News, "For many years, pretty much the only place you could see anything resembling the real The Most Happy Fella has been an opera house. Lyric Stage has reclaimed the piece for musical theater - triumphantly. Director Cheryl Denson has also cast The Most Happy Fella perfectly. Broadway veteran Bill Nolte sings the role of Tony with the beefy baritone it requires and balances the character's surface irascibility with a deep humanity." Elaine Liner of the Dallas Observer wrote, "My Oh Yes. The ensemble of more than 30 actors features some of the area's best voices, with a couple of imports from NYC for leading roles. One of those is Bill Nolte, a Broadway veteran (Cats, The Producers, La Cage) with a booming operatic baritone and droopy hound-dog eyes that could break your heart. He plays Tony, the middle-aged Napa Valley vineyard owner who falls for a lonely waitress (Amber Nicole Guest) whom he spies in a San Francisco café. Too shy to flirt but yearning for love, he leaves her a note and an amethyst tie pin, but she doesn't remember what he looks like. When she answers his request for a letter and photo, he sends back a snapshot of his handsome young foreman, Joe (Doug Carpenter), who doesn't know that his good-looking mug is being used to woo a pretty girl." And Alexandra Bonifield, of CRITICALRANT.COM, had this to say. "Is it a musical, or is it an opera? Its demanding songs, a full three acts' worth, certainly require range, depth and vocal skill beyond the reach of the average musical theatre performer. Audience appreciation mounts, shedding a tear in amazement at the boundless expressive capacity and engaging warmth of longtime professional Bill Nolte, who as Tony carries the full emotional arc of the play's plot on confident, creative shoulders." Next up on Nolte's schedule will be Fiddler On the Roof, at the Westchester Dinner Theatre in Elmsford, NY. We will have more details about this in an October column. Stay tuned.

* * * * * * * *

We were at the Imperial Palace, soon to be renamed The Quad (don't ask about that new name), on Tuesday night, seeing Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas for the umpteenth time. There aren't too many places where you can see Shirley Bassey, Cher, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Liza Minnelli, Diana Ross, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Madonna, Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Mariah Carey, and Rihanna, or facsimiles thereof, all on one stage. Oh, and did we mention that these gals are really guys? In addition to a cast of top-notch female impersonators, Frank Marino himself, sometimes channeling Joan Rivers, does comedy and quick costume changes throughout the production. Divas is greatly enhanced by six skilled male dancers, doing some excellent choreographed numbers. The showroom was practically full early in the week, and the enthusiastic audience, including our two show business friends, had a great time. A real entertainment bargain.

Mr. Derrick Barry as Britney Spears

Brian Keith

While Frank takes some time off to take his ailing mother on a leisurely cruise, the talented Brian Keith takes over as mistress of ceremonies, through October 4th. Brian, whose day job is as a nurse in San Francisco, has previously filled in for Frank, looking glamorous and doing a fine job keeping the show moving along. Diva shows are at 10 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays, dark on Fridays. For Divas Las Vegas reservations, call (702) 794-3261.

* * * * * * * *

We are saddened to report the passing on Monday of Norman Kaye. One third of the famed Mary Kaye Trio, Norman, his sister Mary Kaye, and comic Frank Ross (who died in 1995), were one of the first acts to party in a Las Vegas lounge...all night long. Mary Kaye, who passed away in 2007, was often called the "First Lady of Rock and Roll." She was a guitarist and performer who was active in the 1950s and 1960s. Mary (born Mary Ka'aihue) descended from Hawaiian royalty in the line of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii's last reigning monarch, and was born into a show business family. She is credited, along with Louis Prima, as being a founder of the Las Vegas "lounge" phenomenon: an all-night party atmosphere where stars and common folk rubbed elbows in a freewheeling environment. Around 1950, the Mary Kaye Trio played their first Las Vegas engagement in the main showroom at the Last Frontier. The story goes that the Last Frontier owner wanted to keep them performing at the hotel. A stage was built in the bar area, and they called it a lounge. The group performed between 1 and 6 a.m. on the newly enclosed stage, helping to turn Las Vegas into a 24-hour town. Before the lounge era, the town tended to close down during those hours. During the trio's first week in the Last Frontier lounge, Frank Sinatra and friends dropped $120,000 gambling while hanging out with the "dusk till dawn crowd." Celebrities often took in their lounge act, including Elvis Presley, who watched from backstage. "The Mary Kaye Trio changed the history of Las Vegas," George Schlatter, a 1950s booking agent who became a film and television producer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "They were all over the room and they were hysterical. Anybody who ever saw the act realized this was the most sound you ever got out of three pieces." The trio worked an average of 36 weeks a year, often appearing at the Sahara and Tropicana hotels. The group recorded dozens of songs, including "My Funny Valentine" and "April in Paris," and released a dozen albums before breaking up in 1966. Norman and Mary Kaye started their singing careers at a very early age in Hawaii, where their father, Johnny Kaaihue, put them in the carnival circuit, performing 10 shows a day. At that time, they were known as the Kaiihue Trio, with their dad making up the threesome. They then became the Royal Hawaiians. When Norman joined the army in 1943, an accordionist from Cleveland, Biagio Salvatore Rissario Bologna, took his place, later changing his name to Frank Ross. Two years later, Norman's stint ended and he rejoined the trio. He had this great baritone voice and played the trombone, vibraharp, piano, bass, guitar, alto horn and ukulele. For almost 20 years, the Mary Kaye Trio was a household name, especially in this town. Aside from their 15 albums, they played hundreds of nightclubs around the country and the world. They followed Ethel Merman into the Talk of the Town in London; played La Vie En Rose in New York with Harry Belafonte and Buddy Hackett; and filled in for Perry Como on his TV show. Their hits included "Besame Mucho" "Get Happy," "They Didn't Believe Me," "Little Girl Blue," "I'll Remember April," "My Funny Valentine" and "April in Paris". In 1961, they were paid the princely sum of $250,000 for a 22-week gig at the Sahara, and by 1966 the trio was earning a million dollars a year. It was also the year they ended their career as a trio, playing to a celebrity-packed house at the Tropicana. It marked the end of an era for Las Vegas entertainment. Norman, who was named Nevada's poet laureate, had a successful real estate business in the city. During recent years, he suffered some serious health issues. Since much of his medical insurance was depleted, and there was not enough coverage to keep him in a rehabilitation facility until he was well enough to be somewhat independent at home, a group of caring citizens, led by Las Vegas humanitarian, Nelson Sardelli, put on a fundraiser to help the entertainment pioneer. The Enormous Norm-a-Thon, a variety show held in the main showroom at The Orleans on the afternoon of April 20th, 2008, raised about $23,000. Among the generous entertainers who donated their time and talent for the cause were Pete Barbutti, Michaelina Bellamy, Gerry "The Mentalist" McCambridge, Earl Turner, Sammy Shore, Peter Anthony, Artie Schroeck and Linda November, Jimmy Hopper, Kathleen Dunbar, Rich Little, the Las Vegas Tenors, Ronnie Rose, Roy "Willie" Hammock, Linda Angeline, Steve Rossi, Clint Holmes, Charlie Callas, and some of the top musicians in the city, including Jerry Lopez and Don Hill. Norman, who would have celebrated his 90th birthday tomorrow, is survived by his fourth wife, Barbara Ann Meriwether, whom he married in 2006; a daughter, Sherry Marshall; and by four of his seven sons: John, Don, Richard and Tracy. Funeral services for Norman Kaye, will take place at Palm Northwest Mortuary, 6701 N. Jones Blvd., on Monday, September 24th, with viewing at 11 a.m., and services at noon.

Norman Kaye 1922-2012

Domenick Allen

* * * * * * * *

For one performance only, as part of Rock-N-Wheels Weekend, celebrating Classic Cars & Classic Rock, Domenick Allen stars in VINYL, the Classic Rock Experience, at 9 p.m., next Friday, September 28th, in the Shimmer Cabaret at LVH (Las Vegas Hotel & Casino). Domenick, formerly with Foreigner, will lead 10 of Las Vegas' finest musicians to shake the walls and rock the house in an exciting show that re-visits and re-imagines some of Classic Rock's most popular multi-platinum hits. Famous for his high-energy vocals and multi-instrumental talents, Domenick says, "We want you to see Classic Cars, and hear Classic Rock hits that you know and love, as if it's for the very first time!" Domenick's very special guest will be a true Rock Legend, Denny Laine, former lead singer/co-founder of the Moody Blues, and co-founder, along with Sir Paul McCartney, of Wings. For the first time on any stage, Domenick and Denny will combine their talents to create an unforgettable and unique musical event. Experience the music of The Beatles, Wings, Foreigner, The Moody Blues, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Chicago and more, performed by some of the players who helped create the hits. Don't miss this amazing evening with Domenick Allen, Denny Laine and VINYL at LVH's Rock-N-Wheels Weekend. Celebrate what makes Classic Cars and Classic Rock CLASSIC!

Denny Laine

President Joseph R. Stanley

* * * * * * * *

Only F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) President, Joseph R. Stanley, knew ahead of time the September gathering was going to be a great luncheon. That is because he is a Mentalist. President Peter Anthony "thought" it would be great, because he is border line Mental case. They were both right. It was a fine fun-filled feast, with frolics and fettuccini. No Fasul (or Fagioli) because there was no soup. All pasta, of course, is by Barilla, courtesy of First Lady, Sue Natole...even if Honorary President Rich Natole doesn't show up. President Bill Acosta gave us a great impression of Humphrey Bogart at the Post Office. President Nelson Sardelli did an impression of what he thought was Lon Chaney ordering Italian food, but it turned out to be Boris Karloff. They got the order right anyway. President Sasha Semenoff, who turned 88 on September 20th (sharing the same birth date as Sardelli), gave wonderful violin renditions of Italian and Jewish medleys. President Allen Tramont introduced President Stanley, who gave a nice program, and answered many questions...even though he was not under indictment. President Conrad Villella handled all the moneys with aplomb (whatever that is), honesty and contraceptiviness. Hundreds of dollars were given in gifts. A Mercedes-Benz, a yacht, a 21 day trip to Italy, and a three-carat diamond ring were not given. Maybe some day. This was not that day. President Dr. George Ritter was kind enough to bring his axe. He also brought his saxophone and joined the amazing President Gary Anderson and the Malcontents. Peter Anthony sang and did some funny antics...and some funny stuff too. Say what??? President Dr. Will Krom played his harmonic like a champ. Great selection. President Don Sacco lead the Pledge of Allegiance. President Alon Adar-Burla said grace in Hebrew. No Teleprompters needed. President Felix Silla, F.I.O.R.E.'s favorite president, was relieved that there were no mischievous and/or threatening Burlesque dancers on the program. The food at the Italian American Club was, as always, very palatable and nice. Next sublime F.I.O.R.E. meeting will be held at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara, on Thursday, October 11th. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. First Lady, Linda November, will be the guest speaker (November in October?). She has had a most successful career in the music business, contributing her vocal talents to a truckload of jingles, speaks fluently in 14 languages (plus eight Chinese dialects), and has never been an AMWAY representative. Once again, Gary Anderson and the Malcontents will provide the usual excellent music and free tickets to the Garth Brooks thing. They have no contact for the Celine Dion thing (Ah. She sings like an angel and talks like a hockey player). The ladies are invited. Admission to the luncheons cost a paltry $25 per person. Reservations are a must. E-mail to [email protected] For further information, go to

President Sasha Semenoff & Gary Anderson

F.I.O.R.E. Presidents Peter Anthony, Kid Cary & Don Hill

What??? No photos of Nelson Sardelli? That's because he was playing the unofficial/ official photographer for the afternoon.

And speaking of Gary Anderson...
Sunday, September 30th, will be the last chance this year to hear Gary and The Lighthouse Tribute Group, featuring Steve Flora, Cocho Arbe, John Plows, Tom Hall and more, when they perform at the annual Las Vegas Jazz Society Picnic and JazzFest at Winchester Park, 3130 McLeod Drive, just north of Desert Inn. Also featured will be the Boneheads and Cocho's Latin Quintet. Enjoy the music from 1 to 5 p.m. Food and libations will be available. This event is FREE. For additional information, call (702) 455-7340.

* * * * * * * *

Shelly Plotkin

Marlene Koppenhaver

Condolences to the family of Sheldon "Shelly" Plotkin, who passed away on September 10th, after a lengthy illness. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, January 19th, 1934, he started working as an ice and coal man in the ‘40s. He owned a hardware store in Wisconsin for many years, before moving his family to Las Vegas in 1968, where he opened the cleverly named Paintin' Place on the site of Arizona Charlie's on Decatur. He opened Sunrise Glass and Hardware on Nellis Blvd. in 1980. It is still open. Shelly was preceded in death by his son, Mitch (Martha). He is survived by his loving wife, of 61 years, Barbara; daughter, Wendy (Dave); son, Lee (Robert); grandson, Chance (McKenzie); and great-grandchildren, Korbin and Macee. There were no services.

Marlene Koppenhaver, of Henderson, passed away on August 16th, following an illness She was 78. Marlene was born in Los Angeles, September 27th, 1933. She was an actress and model while raising a family and turned down many opportunities because her children came first. She was named Ms. Senior Nevada 2002-2003, and loved her association with that organization. She was the Showgirl greeter at the annual pageant. Marlene was thrilled to be able to dance as a showgirl in the Las Vegas Follies at age 77. Marlene is survived by her husband, Gene Koppenhaver; her son, Bill Pinckard of Henderson; her daughter, Landi Papazian of West Hills, Calif.; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sons, Bob and Greg. A celebration of life is pending. Donations may be made to the Nathan Adelson Hospice in her memory.

* * * * * * * *

The award- winning UNLV Jazz Ensemble I will be performing in celebration of their latest CD release , Smilin' Eyes, this coming Sunday, September 23rd, at 2 p.m. in the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the UNLV campus. The concert will feature performances by the UNLV Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye, and the UNLV Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Nathan Tanouye. General admission is $10 and $8 for seniors, faculty and military with ID. UNLV and CCSD students are free with ID. Tickets are available by calling the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787), or online at

* * * * * * * *

The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes The Second City Touring Company at 8 p.m. next Friday, September 28th in Artemus Ham Concert Hall. Called "legendary" by the New York Times, The Second City Touring Company is always daring, original, and hilarious. Second City alumni include Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, and Stephen Colbert. The Second City opened its doors on a snowy Chicago night in December of 1959. No one could have guessed that this small cabaret theater would become the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world. With its roots in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City developed an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy. Founded by Spolin's son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City was experimental and unconventional in its approach to both theater and comedy. At a time when mother-in-law jokes were more the fashion, The Second City railed against the conformist culture with scenes that spoke to a younger generation. The Broadway success of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, members of The Second City's predecessor, The Compass Players, put attention on the fledgling company. Soon, alumni of The Second City – such as Alan Arkin, Barbara Harris, Robert Klein, David Steinberg and Fred Willard – began to cement the theater's reputation for developing the finest comedic voices of each and every generation. With the debut of NBC's Saturday Night Live, populated by Second City Alums John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner, the theater became internationally known for its ever-increasing roster of comedy superstars. By the 1980s, The Second City had become much more than a small cabaret theater on Chicago's north side. In the middle of the decade, The Second City would begin a new era as Second City Toronto proprietors Andrew Alexander and Len Stuart would buy out Bernie Sahlins' interest in The Second City Chicago and set in motion a new era of innovation for the company. Tickets to The Second City Touring Company are $30-$40-$55, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895-ARTS (2787), or by visiting Student rush tickets are $13 each (not inclusive of the facilities fee), and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts also are available. A $1.25 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Information about all of the season's performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website, located at Founded in 1976, the Performing Arts Center at UNLV is Southern Nevada's longest-running performing arts venue. Located on the north end of the UNLV campus, the PAC hosts a variety of performances each year.

Tina Fey

Singer Dorothy McGuire

* * * * * * * *

Laugh-A-Thon, a fundraiser sponsored by the Lions Club, will hold its second annual event this Sunday, September 23rd, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the main showroom at the South Point in the main showroom. The special musical-comedy benefit will feature Rich Little, Bill Fayne, Michele LaFong, Gordie Brown, Leigh Zimmerman and her daughter, Cayleigh Capaldi, Lisa Smith, Shades of Sinatra, Marlon Multo, Peter Anthony, Fielding West, Michelle Rohl, and host, comedian Kelly McDonald. Emmy Award winner, Gary Anderson, has assembled a super trio as backup for the entertainers: Billy T. on piano, Steve Flora, bass, and Ryan Rose on drums. In addition to the trio, Anderson will add three horns, and will present his famous Lighthouse Jazz Tribute. Tickets are $25. For more information, or to secure tickets in advance, call the Lions Health First Foundation at (702) 739-6393. Additional information on the Foundation and its ultrasound screening program can be found on the Internet at

* * * * * * * *

Dorothy McGuire Williamson, who teamed with sisters, Christine and Phyllis, for a string of hits in the '50s and '60s as the popular McGuire Sisters singing group, has died. Williamson died Friday at her son's home in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley. Dorothy had Parkinson's disease and age-related dementia. The McGuire Sisters earned six gold records for hits including 1954's "Sincerely" and 1957's "Sugartime." The sisters were known for their sweet harmonies and identical outfits and hairdos. They began singing together as children at their mother's Ohio church and then performed at weddings and church revivals. They got their big break on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts show in 1952, where they continued to perform for seven years. As a group, the sisters made numerous appearances on television and toured into the late 1960s, making their last performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968. Dorothy stepped back to raise her two sons, Williamson said. Christine also raised a family, while Phyllis pursued a solo career. In the ‘80s, the trio reunited and began doing nightclub and Las Vegas performances again until the mid-2000s. They were featured on a 2004 PBS show called Magic Moments - Best of ‘50s Pop. During their career, the McGuire Sisters performed for five presidents and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. They were inducted into the National Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. Christine and Phyllis, 86 and 81 respectively, live in Las Vegas. McGuire was married for 53 years to Lowell Williamson, a wealthy oilman. The couple had two sons, Rex and David. In addition to her husband and sons, she is survived by two step-children and nine grandchildren. A memorial service was held on September 15th at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley.

* * * * * * * *

For Clint Holmes' September weekend engagement at The Smith Center, he was joined by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, Deniece Williams ("Let's Hear It For the Boy," "It‘s Gonna Take a Miracle," and "Too Much Too Little Too Late," a duet with Johnny Mathis).
Williams is also known for her hit duet with Johnny Mathis, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late." We have just learned that Ms. Williams is a Las Vegas resident. Coincidentally (although, in his book When God Winks, author, SQuire Rushnell, feels there are no coincidences), another girl singer who also had a popular hit duet with Mathis, Jane Oliver (birth name, Jane Cohen), lived in Las Vegas for a while. For a period of time, Jane toured as a special guest of Mathis. Their duet, "The Last Time I Felt Like This," was the theme for the 1978 film, Same Time, Next Year. The song, with music by the late Marvin Hamlisch, and lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.

Deniece Williams

Phyllis Coates & George Reeves

* * * * * * * *

In one of his recent columns, the Las Vegas Sun's John Katsilometes reported that a fundraiser for the Liberace Foundation is being planned for sometime in October. It will supposedly be held at the Palomino Lane estate that Michael Jackson rented while staying in Vegas from 2006-2008. This is the first formal fundraiser for the Foundation since the Liberace Museum closed two years ago. Why are we skeptical when it comes to anything involving use of the Liberace name and money?

* * * * * * * *

Actress Phyllis Coates, along with Samantha Eggar, Carleton Carpenter and Richard L. Bare, were honored with a Cinecon 48 Career Achievement Award at a celebrity banquet held at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (formerly the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel) on September 2nd. Coates played Lois Lane in the Superman and The Mole Men (1951) full-length motion picture, which served as a pilot for the Adventures of Superman television show starring George Reeves. She played Lois Lane in the show's first season.

And speaking of Superman and The Mole Men, Henderson resident, Beverly Washburn was also in that film. And, yes, that was Beverly portraying Shirley, the daughter of Paul Lynde, in a 1966 episode of Gidget, shown on ANTENNA-TV (Channel 3.3 or 127 in Southern Nevada), last Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas. Beverly has been acting since she was six years old, appearing in films such as Walt Disney's Old Yeller (with actress Dorothy McGuire), Here Comes the Groom (starring Bing Crosby), The Greatest Show On Earth (Jimmy Stewart), The Juggler (Kirk Douglas), Hans Christian Andersen (Danny Kaye), Shane (Alan Ladd), and Spider Baby (Lon Chaney, Jr.), and just about every TV series that aired from the ‘50s into the ‘80s, including Dragnet, Fireside Theatre, The Lone Ranger, The Millionaire, The Loretta Young Show, Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver, Thriller, The Jack Benny Show, Wagon Train, Mr. Novak, Star Trek, McMillan & Wife, The Streets of San Francisco and many others. An hour earlier, on that same Saturday and on the same channel, in a Flying Nun episode called The Boyfriend, with Dwayne "Dobie Gillis" Hickman, Cynthia Pepper, another current Southern Nevadan, was featured. Cynthia appeared in Kissin' Cousins with Elvis Presley and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous with Sandra Bullock (in which Frank Marino also appeared), played the lead character on TV's Margie, and guest starred on many popular series, including Julia, My Three Sons, The Addams Family, Perry Mason and 77 Sunset Strip.

Both Gidget and The Flaying Nun starred Oscar-winner Sally Field), You go, girls.

Beverly Washburn & Jack Benny

Cynthia Pepper

* * * * * * * *

Lots of Virgos (August 23rd through September 22nd) celebrating birthdays around this time of year, among them: Rick Springfield, Mason Williams, Dave Chappelle, Regis Philbin, Gene Simmons (Kiss), Elvis Costello, Billy Ray Cyrus, Valerie Simpson, Branford Marsalis, Tommy Sands, Wayne Osmond, Scott Hamilton, Lee Ann Rimes, Shania Twain, Robin Leach, Lewis Black, Michael Chiklis, Itzhak Perlman, Van Morrison, George Maharis, Lily Tomlin, Barry Gibb, Gloria Estefan, Al Jardine, Mitzi Gaynor, Merald "Bubba" Knight, Beyonce, Bob Newhart, Carol Lawrence, Jeff Foxworthy, Mark Chesnutt, Macy Gray, CeCe Penniston, Gloria Gaynor, Chrissie Hynde, Willie Tyler, Pink, Michael Buble, Jose Feliciano, Lola Falana, Harry Connick Jr., Leo Kottke, Tom Dreesen, George Jones, Maria Muldaur, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, David Clayton-Thomas, Peter Cetera, Fiona Apple, Joey Heatherton, Jon "Bowser" Bauman, Mary Crosby, Britain's Prince Harry, B.B. King, David Copperfield, Richard Marx, Jennifer Tilly, Rita Rudner, Norm Crosby, LaMonte McLemore, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Frankie Avalon, Jason Sudeikis, Adam West, Bill Medley, Paul Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Faith Hill, Andrea Bocelli, Debby Boone, Joan Jett, Lee Roy Reams, Eric Michael Gillett, Gail Lucas, David Kancsar, Barbara Winters, Fielding West, Vera Goulet, Mark Winkler, Laura Blackburn, Steve Schirripa, Gary Olds, John Neeland, Randy Carlson, Robbie Howard, JoAnn Toranto, Michael Feinstein, Sharon Prier, Oliver Richman, Joe Pellegrino, Montel Brian Williams, Kelly Clinton Holmes, Bart Williams, Michelle Rohl, Paul Hansell, Nelson Sardelli, Bruce Mickelson, and Lisa Gioia-Acres.

And, happy anniversary to Hugh and Jan Wood Lovelady.

Cassandra Peterson

Mitzi Gaynor

And speaking of Mitzi Gaynor, Mitzi, who celebrated her 81st birthday on September 4th, the lady will be honored as the Nevada Ballet's Woman of the Year at the Black and White Gala, to be held at the Bellagio on January 26th. Mitzi made her Strip debut at the Flamingo in 1961, and has been connected to Las Vegas ever since. She has made 17 films and nine TV specials. She has earned 17 Emmy Award nominations, and is hailed as the top female nightclub and concert attraction of her era. Mitzi's most recent appearances in Las Vegas were at The Orleans in October of last year, and at Sam's Town Live in June. This is a deserving honor for a great gal.

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye