Tom Donoghue/Picture Group
Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011 | 4:27 p.m.
Robin Leach celebrates the 50-year milestone at Encore Beach Club and Surrender at Encore on Friday night. His family, including his three sons, and friends and business associates from around the world will join him. A few surprise guests are expected. To reserve a spot for the party, which starts at 10:30 p.m., click here.
Robin Douglas Leach, “Mr. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” is celebrating two milestones: He turned The Big 7-0 on Aug. 29, and tomorrow at Surrender at the Encore, he is being feted by the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly for a career in celebrity journalism that spans half a century.
In honor of our British colleague and friend, here are 50 things we’ve learned about Robin working alongside him:
Robin Leach according to John
1. He enjoys a good NBA game as much as a bottle of Cristal and is a longtime fan of the New York Knicks.
2. On display at his Spanish Trail home is a case full of underwater seascapes, glass figures with fish floating inside.
3. He is particularly fond of dolphins and freed many in Caribbean captivity -- “They need to swim 100 miles a day!”
4. His hero, for all time, is Sir Winston Churchill.
5. He is doubtful that he will ever remarry, saying, “Been there, done that.”
6. Snoop Dogg has expressed interest in recording Robin’s voice on a hip-hop track.
7. He does not eat red meat but wears lots of leather.
8. He arrived in America in the week after the assassination of President Kennedy.
9. He winces when people botch his famous phrase by saying, “Champagne dreams and caviar wishes!”
10. During Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous racked up 200,000 miles of travel each year and amassed a $45,000-a-month American Express bill.
11. Chef Wolfgang Puck and he once spent three hours on a beach in France picking up driftwood so the chef could cook from wood-burning stoves in a rented castle for a dinner party of 1,000 at the Cannes Film Festival.
12. Once told People magazine, “Nothing gets my journalistic juices flowing more than a seaside chalet, the mention of a private jet or room service in St. Tropez.”
13. Says Lifestyles shared similarities with the celebrity interview show Person to Person, hosted by Edward R. Murrow, which was rare for an interview show in that it visited the homes of newsmakers.
14. His first stories on Entertainment Tonight and Lifestyles were both interviews with Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas.
15. Has filed stories via manual typewriter, ticker tape, Twitter and iPhone.
16. Has never wanted any job other than as a journalist since he was 10 years old.
17. Offered his services at an early Keep Memory Alive dinner at Postrio at the Venetian after the sound system supplied for the event malfunctioned and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme almost lost their voices. That is the moment he met KMA and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health founder Larry Ruvo.
18. During the course of his career has counted Elizabeth Taylor and Flavor Flav as friends.
19. In the late 1980s, performed an impression of Dana Carvey’s impression of him on Saturday Night Live during TV spots, calling out, “I’m Robin Leach, I’m yelling, and I don’t know why!”
20. Carvey once led into a “Weekend Update” segment as Robin, calling out, “I’m coming at you live from New York City, and you can bet your bald spot this big apple is ripe for the picking!”
21. Once said his penchant for shouting on air was inspired by giant Fleet Street newspaper headlines, explaining, “They scream in print, so I scream in person.”
22. Believes that TV producers should be able to describe the point of any program in the show’s two-line synopsis in TV Guide.
23. Recently recorded a TV commercial for a company that buys and sells gold, earning more than six figures and donating his check to Keep Memory Alive, and is the new promo voice for Fox’s Family Guy.
24. Says he prefers writing over appearing on TV. “Writing never gets stale,” he says. “You get stale with television.”
25. On Lifestyles, the objective was simple: “We wanted to make your mouth drop,” he says. “That was the main effect.”
Robin Leach according to Don
26. He’s always favored blondes. Leggy blondes.
27. He moved to Las Vegas 12 year ago during a project with the then-new Venetian … and unexpectedly stayed.
28. He was instrumental in getting Sophia Loren to attend the grand opening of the Venetian.
29. His Las Vegas neighbors include Palms mogul George Maloof, boxing mogul Bob Arum and Motley Crue singer Vince Neil.
30. He gave up his residence in Antigua because the flight became too cumbersome after he moved to Las Vegas.
31. In one especially busy night this summer, he attended a Lady Gaga concert at MGM Grand, a Britney Spears performance at the Palms and Fergie’s birthday party at the Bellagio. All in one night.
32. Speaking of Fergie, she told him that if he didn’t like her song “Glamorous,” in which he is referenced, he should blame the song’s producer, Ludacris.
33. CHiPs star Erik Estrada, before he became famous, was one of Robin’s movers and later was a babysitter for his kids.
34. Brooke Shields was his date to the VIP grand opening of Studio 54 in New York City.
35. He’s happy to pose for a fan photograph, but not if you interrupt a conversation to request one.
36. His family includes three sons, two of whom reside in California, and four grandchildren -- twins Jack and Meg, an 8-year-old grandson and a 2-year-old granddaughter. None of them have a British accent.
37. His annual vacations with his family include Italy in July and San Diego/La Jolla in August.
38. The $8 million deal that started Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous was sealed over lunch at P.J. Clarke’s in New York City.
39. He was part of a team that started The Food Network and Entertainment Tonight, and his resume also includes People and CNN.
40. He’s the anti-TMZ and -Perez Hilton, as he celebrates all things celebrity -- and Las Vegas, too.
41. He isn’t afraid to do anything -- including making a fool of himself -- in the name of charity.
42. He pronounces tomato … “toe-MAH-toe.” Probably because he’s British.
43. He signs off emails with “cheers” and phone conversations with “ciao.”
44. He once told me, “Don, I don’t chase after skirts -- they chase after me!”
45. He says that “he’s an old man who needs only 4 hours of sleep each night.”
46. He interviews, with ease, everyone from Hugh Hefner and Joan Collins to Paris Hilton and DJ Pauly D.
47. He is one of the hardest-working active journalists today -- he writes all of his stories and works seven days a week.
48. Two of his favorite Las Vegas charities are the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Opportunity Village.
49. Getting past his public persona and becoming his friend, he has one of the biggest and most generous hearts of anyone you’ll ever meet.
50. He really does like champagne.
Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, good sir.
John Katsilometes has worked with Robin Leach for the past five years, and Don Chareunsy has been Robin’s editor at VegasDeLuxe.com for the past three years.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.