Thursday, May 1, 2003 | 10:38 a.m.
It was a trip down memory lane, or more accurately down memory Strip, for some veteran Vegas entertainers when the Sahara restaurant House of Lords officially reopened Wednesday night.
"I remember coming in here for steaks with Frank Sinatra after we had seen Don Rickles over in the Casbar Theater," singing-impressionist Bob Anderson told VegasBeat.
"The House of Lords was the place to hang out in Las Vegas. The Rat Pack and everyone else would come here at the end of the night after their shows ended."
The eatery, which opened shortly after the hotel opened 50 years ago, changed its name to House of Lords Steak House when former owner Bill Bennett bought the property in 1995, but by then it had long since lost its panache.
Now, Sahara Chief Executive and General Manager Al Hummell said he is looking for the famous room to return to glory.
"This is an historic property, and an historic restaurant," Hummell said after he helped Executive Chef Tim Emert and restaurant Manager Anthony Botta rearrange a large platter of lobster tails and refill the dipping sauce for the lump crab at the reopening party.
"And if we pay attention to customer service and all the little details, we can restore the House of Lords to its place as a true Las Vegas destination."
There were few better or more celebrity-filled restaurants when the House of Lords was in its heyday.
"I was in here with Mae West in 1956," Steve Rossi said. "I was playing her straight man in a show she was doing here."
Rossi, the singing half of a team with comic Marty Allen who made 44 appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," still is a regular Vegas performer.
Rossi said the room was not exactly the same -- there used to be wood paneling and the menus came on rolled parchment. Perhaps the room's best night was after Sinatra made a surprise appearance on "The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon." On Sept. 6, 1976, Sinatra brought Dean Martin onto the stage for his famous reunion with Lewis, Martin's old partner.
Afterward they all hit the House of Lords. The restaurant's specialty was prime rib and stuffed lobster. A coat and tie for male patrons was a must.
Among the others enjoying the reopening festivities: Mac and Frances MacDonald, Barbara Nosek, entertainers Clint Holmes, Bill Acosta, Freddie Bell, Billy Hinsche, Breck Wall, Tony Sacca and the DeCastro Sisters, food writers R.H. Duke, Mike Fryer and Jack Bulavsky, media executives Colleen O'Callaghan-Miele, Tim O'Callaghan and Barbara Greenspun, Casino Legends Hall of Fame creator Steve Cutler and television reporters George Knapp of KLAS Channel 8 and Ron Futrell of KTNV Channel 13.
Lisa Marie Presley has confirmed a Vegas performance date -- as have Beyonce Knowles and Whitney Houston.
It was confirmed Wednesday that all three -- plus Diva Las Vegas herself, Celine Dion -- will be part of the VH1 "Divas Duets" show at MGM Grand May 22.
They will join host Queen Latifah and previously announced performers Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan and Jewel.
Carla Alston is out as assistant news director at KLAS Channel 8. She is now in police custody -- as department spokeswoman.
The 21-year news veteran left KLAS Friday and starts with Metro Police May 19 as director of communications.
It is fairly common for reporters to make the move to such a job. For example, former NBC reporter John Miller left his job to become chief spokesman for New York police chief Bill Bratton before following Bratton to Los Angeles last year.
The current Metro spokesman, Lt. Vincent Cannito, told VegasBeat he is being promoted to captain and hopes to be transferred to head a substation.
Prana, the Las Vegas sister restaurant of the celebrated Los Angeles celebrity hangout Crustacean, opens with a private party tonight.
The RSVP list we saw Tuesday included such names as Jacqueline Bissett, Cheryl Tiegs, Don Johnson, Oscar De La Hoya, Phyllis McGuire, Vivica A. Fox, George Foreman, Holly Robinson Peete, Robert Goulet and Starr Jones.
In the immortal words of my former New York Post colleague Richard Johnson -- uttered when Washington Post gossip columnist Lloyd Grove was criticized when he wrote favorably about his girlfriend but did not disclose she was his girlfriend -- "What's the point in having a column if you can't promote your girlfriend?"
In that spirit, I am happy to report that a rug designed by Emma Gardner -- my brilliant and talented sister-in-law -- will be lying on Justin Timberlake's floor when MTV's "Cribs" does an upcoming segment.
The covering was bought at the Los Angeles design emporium Room Service, which did Timberlake's interior. The store's style team of Taryn Walker and John Bernard also did Drew Barrymore's house.
Come on down: Rod Roddy, the popular announcer from "The Price is Right," attended Tuesday's 2 p.m. performance of "The Best of Bottoms Up" at Flamingo Las Vegas ...
Golden Arches: Palo Verde High School junior Ashley Vail, an aspiring model and actress, has scored another quality gig. She is shooting a spot for McDonald's today at Ronald's place near M&M World on the Strip ...
New guys: Anthony Hopkins, Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Mondavi are on the expected guest list at Muhammad Ali's Alzheimer's benefit at Postrio inside The Venetian Wednesday ...
Magic pair: Penn & Teller took in "V -- The Ultimate Variety Show" at The Venetian Tuesday night ...
Radio, radio: No, it is live, live! Elvis Costello plays The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel July 18 ...
Call me: VegasBeat is on the air today at 4 p.m. on KNUU 970-AM (K-NEWS). Please call and say hello at (702) 735-6397.
From Sun wires
Show hosts Tom Arnold and former NBA player John Salley, along with several others involved with Fox Sports Network's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," were sued for sexual harassment by a show hairstylist.
Lisa Brescher, 29, said she began working for the show in August 2001, and from the first day "was subjected to an environment of unrestrained sexual harassment," according to a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Wednesday. She is seeking unspecified damages.
Isn't she lovely: For the seventh time, Halle Berry is on People magazine's annual list of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" -- but making it there repeatedly isn't easy.
The 34-year-old actress, who's on the cover of the issue that comes out Friday, says she works out daily with a treadmill and weights, and maintains a strict diet of chicken, fish, vegetables, brown rice and tabbouleh.
"I'm not obsessive, like I have to have the best butt or the best abs, but I like the idea of feeling strong and healthy," says Berry, who co-stars in the upcoming "X-Men" sequel. "It's important to feel good about myself physically. It's something I think about."