Monti Rock was once a pebble in Las Vegas

Jul 23, 2013 3:00 AM

I know it’s hard to believe, but there once was a time when this Rock was a pebble.

It was 1968 that I arrived at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. As “the prince of peace,” I was paid $14,000 a week – quite a lot in those days. I didn’t last very long, but did get to know some of the biggest stars.

Many tried to help me. I was amazed at legends like Marlene Dietrich and a very young Barbra Streisand. I tried to emulate them. I opened for Josephine Baker. I was able to watch and learn.

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There are many good books about the history of Las Vegas entertainers who became these icons, these legends. I wanted to be like them but it was not meant to be. I was being a star on TV shows hosted by Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas.

But back then I was a punchline, a great guest who always did the unusual, the outrageous. Legends and icons don’t have to be perfect – they are also human and have flaws.

I’m talking about the best of the best – from Frank Sinatra to the Four Seasons to the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop). There was Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Shecky Green, Elvis, Steve and Eydie, Lola Falana, Totie Fields, Don Rickles, Redd Foxx, and Sophie Tucker. These are some of the great stars and icons to be remembered.

The new Las Vegas is Celine Dion, Vinny Favorito, George Wallace, Criss Angel, Gordie Brown and the fabulous Donny and Marie.

Back to today’s reality. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will be closing this month rather than in August. Poor ticket sales are reportedly the reason for the early shutdown.

Peepshow will be ending in early September. This is the show that made Playboy cover girl Holly Madison a Las Vegas favorite and has given Coco Austin (wife of Ice-T) a chance to strut her stuff.

Tommy Wind’s magic show at the Boulevard is reportedly closing as the new management is set to make changes. Wind will most likely be opening his show in another venue.

Louie Anderson opens his new show at the Plaza after a long run at Palace Station coupled with a stint on the television show “Splash” – and he did make one. Louie has lost quite a bit of weight and is working on dropping more to keep healthy.

Just a tragedy regarding the death of “Glee’s” Cory Monteith who was 31. He was found in a Vancouver hotel room. This talented young man had drug and alcohol problems since he was 13 and was in rehab just recently for the second time.

People have to learn to “just say no to drugs” from a very young age, especially those in the limelight where money gives them easy access. Be careful who you run with and have good family support to keep you well-grounded.

Lightning has struck twice for tragic actor Pierce Brosnan, who starred in four films as James Bond. He lost his first wife to ovarian cancer 22 years ago, and now their daughter just died from the same hideous disease. Our prayers and sympathy go out to him and his family.

Halle Berry married French actor Olivier Martinez last weekend. Olivier is the father of the baby they are expecting. Let’s hope this marriage works for Halle as she has “been to the rodeo” more than once. It is the first marriage for Olivier. These two do make a beautiful couple.

How about Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaving “The View” for the Fox News Channel so abruptly last week? Joy Behar leaves in three weeks. The outspoken Jenny McCarthy has been named as Elisabeth’s replacement and will begin her turn Sept. 9.

Who will be Joy’s replacement? Suspense, suspense!! In my opinion, there are too many talk shows currently on television. Coming soon are Kris Jenner, Queen Latifah, Meredith Vieira and more.

Meredith should do well as she is a top journalist and has already proven herself on shows like “The View.” The current new ones, Katie and Steve Harvey, are worth watching.

Wayne Newton has bought 10 acres of real estate from Norbert Aleman. There’s no one like Wayne Newton, who keeps coming back in one way or another. His new undertaking, the building of his new home, will be another “spectacular.”

Emmy nominations are in and as predicted, Michael Douglas is a front-runner for his incredible performance as Liberace. The HBO production of “Behind The Candelabra” has received 15 nominations, including one for Matt Damon. We’ll have to wait until September to see all the winners.

As always, the Rev. Monti wishes you all the best.

Monti Rock, who starred with John Travolta in the classic Saturday Night Fever, is a legend, performer, GamingToday entertainment columnist and marketing expert. Contact Monti at [email protected].

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