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February 21, 2017

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News from Wayne, Holly, Vanna, Tracey at Wayne Newton’s premiere


Tom Donoghue/

Tropicana CEO Alex Yemenidjian and Vanna White at the grand opening of Wayne Newton’s Once Before I Go at the Tropicana on Oct. 28, 2009.

Wayne Newton's Once Before I Go: Red Carpet

Cheryl Burke and Wayne Newton at the grand opening of his Once Before I Go at the Tropicana on Oct. 28, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Wayne Newton's Once Before I Go: The Show

Wayne Newton and Cheryl Burke during his Once Before I Go grand opening show at the Tropicana on Oct. 28, 2009. Launch slideshow »

Wheel of Fortune TV personality Vanna White also plays the role of Beverly Hills, Calif., landlord in real life, and she once turned sufficient letters to evict new Tropicana owner Alex Yemenidjian from one of her home leases. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it forced Alex and his lovely wife to get another home, and they coincidentally wound up next door to Vanna’s residency!

Alex and Vanna have become the best of friends and now laugh about the eviction. Now you know why Vanna was invited to the opening night of Wayne Newton’s Once Before I Go at the Trop on Wednesday night as a guest sitting in Alex’s top showroom booth.

That was just one of the little gossip gems I scribbled down while chatting with the stars on Wayne’s opening night. I joked with fellow Tropicana headliner Wayne Brady about the unique sign that could go out front on the resort with one word -- Wayne -- to save the letters for changing Newton from Brady each day!

“I’ll take the black letters,” Wayne laughed, “and he can have the white ones. It’s the only way you can tell the difference!”

Wayne Brady, who hosts Let’s Make a Deal at the Tropicana, told me that he will be resuming his nighttime improv shows at The Venetian next month after his brief break that allowed Chazz Palminteri to perform his one-man A Bronx Tale. Wayne told me he’s been absolutely blown away by the enthusiasm of the game show participants and still doesn’t believe all the outrageous costumes the audience wears to catch his attention.

Peepshow star Holly Madison showed me her new short hairstyle to display her new line of head jewelry and adornments. She told me filming of the first episode of her reality TV E! series Planet Holly is completed, and they are about to begin editing. I learned that the debut installment ends with our Merry Mayor of Mirth Oscar Goodman giving Holly a list of 10 tasks she must accomplish as his intern to learn the ways of City Hall. Then she has her eyes on Oscar’s job!

It was wonderful to run into Tracey Davis at Wayne Newton’s premiere. Wayne had introduced her to the first-night crowd from the stage before he sung a duet with her dad, Sammy Davis Jr., on an old black and white video clip. That really had the crowd on its feet. For Tracey and me, it was a reunion because back in my former days producing and hosting Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, she had been one of my talent bookers and production assistants in my Los Angeles studio.

Wayne celebrated his all-new show’s premiere with a star-studded red carpet and gala party honoring his 50 years as an entertainment icon in Las Vegas. The tired Celebration Lounge had been given a new all-white look with white furniture by CEO Alex to signal his plans to turn the Tropicana into a chic, Miami-Latin-themed playground. Artist renderings of his new suites and rooms there drew gasps of excitement and approval from the celebrity visitors. He told me that he’s been buying up huge quantities of white marble to be shipped from Europe for the makeover to be completed by next spring.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at

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