Longtime Las Vegas Hilton casino executive and super host Jimmy Newman had it all…business success and a level of respect from acquaintances and colleagues that followed him across his decades in the casino business.
“He was a real high-class guy, a total gentleman,” says longtime friend Jon Jaggers, president of international marketing at Caesars Palace. “He exhibited an unusual combination of skills and personality, something you rarely see anymore.”
This description was echoed in one way or another by people such as former LVH president Dean Harrold, who described Newman as a “man of the highest integrity with skills that got the job done.”
“A legend among legends.” said another former Hilton president, Bill Bigelow.
Newman died recently at the age of 87. A public memorial service has been tentatively scheduled for March 23 at either the hotel or the adjacent Las Vegas Country Club.
Arriving in Las Vegas during the late 1940s, he worked his way up through the ranks from his first job as a dealer at the Monte Carlo Club in downtown Las Vegas. Kirk Kerkorian recruited him as Kirk bought the Flamingo, then built and opened the International with Newman filling key roles along the way.
Newman was a principal architect of the Hilton’s successful casino strategies during the resort’s best years as a high-roller destination, an era when Elvis Presley was regularly filling the showroom.
“There’s no question Jimmy was an icon in this business,” said a senior member of the property’s current management team.
“That’s right, Jimmy was totally iconic,” says former Hilton executive Larry Lewin. “It was a time when individual personalities were much more important than they are now. His reputation helped him build and maintain an excellent team and made them all feel like family. They were as loyal to him as he was to them.”
Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected].