Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2018

Currently: 47° — Complete forecast

Harry Wald, former head of Caesars, dies


Harry Wald, who as a teenager escaped persecution in Nazi Germany and later became a National Guard brigadier general and eventually president of Caesars Palace, has died in Washington, D.C. He was 71.

Wald, long known for his neatly trimmed coif of white hair and his generosity as a philanthropist to many Southern Nevada charities, died following surgery at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

Wald was the driving force behind major fight promotions at Caesars during the 1970s and '80s, which established Las Vegas as the boxing capital of the world.

Born Hans Eichenwald in Rheine, Westphalia, Germany, on May 19, 1924, Wald, along with his sister, Hanna, escaped the Nazis with the help of the United Jewish Charities in 1938. His brother, Fritz, father, Hugo, and mother, Fanny, died at the infamous Aushwitz death camp.

Wald later served in World War II in Army counter-intelligence.

After the war, while in San Francisco, Wald became friends with Jay Sarno, who in the 1960s made him project manager for the construction of Caesars Palace, then the most opulent resort on the Strip, which set the standard for today's mega-resorts.

In addition to his sister, Hanna Marcus of San Francisco, Wald is survived by his wife, Maryellen McPeak; a son, Kerry Lee Eichenwald; a daughter, Allyson Wald Butto, and a grandson, Christian Butto, all of Las Vegas.

Services are pending. Wald will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, where his friend and longtime Caesars host, former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, is interred.