Funeral services will be held for Bill Sullivan, casino host

Apr 9, 2011 6:28 AM

This Wednesday services will be held for Bill Sullivan, one of the giants in the Las Vegas casino industry.

"Bill was one of the unique and outstanding hosts in Las Vegas," said Gene Kilroy, noted entrepreneur who worked at the Dunes in 1978 for owner Morris Shenker when he first met Sullivan.

"I was new in the business and learned all the aspects from Bill," Kilroy said. "He was a big shot in Vegas and I made it a point to see him. We became close friends. He solidified the epitome of being a great casino host. He could have written the book on it."

Sullivan was known for having more contacts and customers than any executive in the industry.

"He was Mr. Las Vegas," Kilroy said. "About eight months ago, I was saddened to see that Harrah’s didn’t renew his contract. That was a real mistake. I know he is in heaven now, taking care of all his old customers from MGM and Bally’s."

Marcel Taylor, owner and CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, first met the former Notre Dame basketball star in Chicago.

"Bill owned several nightclubs along Rush Street and actress Barbara Eden (Jeannie in "I Dream of Jeannie) was one of his partners. Bill and I used to go through every tavern in Chicago.

One of Sullivan’s closest friends was legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray. Sullivan, 78, died from cardiac arrest and is survived by six children.

"Sully’s Bar at Bally’s was named after him," Taylor said. "It will never be the same."

Services are scheduled for late Thursday morning between 11 a.m. and noon at Christ the King, located at Tropicana and Torrey Pines.