Las Vegas Sun

July 25, 2021

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John Katsilometes sidles up to Bill Boyd on the morning he closes the door on the legendary Stardust amid a festive atmosphere

Bill Boyd has his Stardust memories, of course. But the chairman and chief operating officer of Boyd Gaming also made off with a significant memento as the hotel closed the doors forever at noon Wednesday.

"There's a picture of me at William B's I've always liked," Boyd said, referring to the hotel's fine-dining restaurant that is named for him. "I'm a lot younger, in my 30s. I have a m ustache. I look pretty good (laughs). A lot of people don't know it's me and that picture has been hanging up at William B's ever since it opened, in 1987. So I took that."

Boyd, who turns 75 on Saturday, posed for photos and met with dozens of former employees and customers as the Robbie Howard Band played "Mack the Knife" and other standards in a slammed gaming pit.

"Well, it's a lot more emotional than I thought it would be," Boyd said of the hotel's final day of operation. "It's difficult to say goodbye to all of the great employees and loyal customers. There are a lot of people who made the Stardust what it is."

Slot machine betting was halted at 7:30 a.m. As noon approached, Howard announced "the longest conga line ever" to lead the crowd out of the casino's main entrance, and launched into "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Outside, the tune playing on the hotel's sound system was probably more appropriate: John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me" (there'd be days like this).

NoteMart

As Boyd was surrounded by well-wishers, one gentleman waiting for him to sign a book turned to me and said, "Isn't it amazing how much he looks like Liberace?" Wow. Not exactly ...

Earlier this week Wayne Newton checked in via e-mail (and that e-mail was HOT!) on the closing of the Stardust, where he headlined for several years: "Anything that lives, grows or diminishes. So while the closing of the Stardust is bittersweet, it does reflect the ever-changing landscape of our great city. Many great talents reveled in the 'star-dust,' and with the new project, many more will. I wish Boyd Gaming much success with Echelon Place." ...

Of all the facts and figures unearthed about the Stardust as the old hotel closes, this might be the most startling: At the time of the announcement that the Stardust would close, 111 employees had worked there for at least 30 years. "I haven't heard that specific number, but I believe it," Boyd said. "We have been here for 23 years (when Boyd purchased the property) and I know there were many people who had been with the Stardust for many years even then. We have placed as many as we can (in other Boyd properties), and quite a few have retired rather than work anywhere but the Stardust." Among those on hand for the closing was Betty Roberts, a waitress at the Stardust from its opening in 1958 to 2000, when she retired. "Oh, gosh, I don't know what to say," she said just after showing Boyd a photo of the hotel staff on its first day of operation. "But I was smart - I didn't just work at the Stardust, I bought a lot of land in the old days." ...

On Monday during his quick trip to Las Vegas, Fox News Network anchor Shepard Smith said Vegas was an appropriate city for Fox. "A lot of our audience are people who come to Las Vegas. We're not a New York, Boston, San Francisco kind of network. We have given small-town America a seat at the media table, the types of people you see all the time here." Also during the visit, Fox's Greta Van Susteren said the Fox crew has more fun than does her former network, CNN. "That comes across on the air, I think. It's a really fun place to work." As proof, as part of its 10-city U.S. tour celebrating its 10th anniversary, the fun bunch at Fox broadcast Smith's "Studio B" from Centennial Plaza in Atlanta, across the street from CNN's studios ...

Come early, stay late - you'll be glad you did: Singing the national anthem at Saturday's UNLV-TCU football game at Sam Boyd Stadium will be Zowie Bowie, which is performing Thursdays at Sunset Station in addition to their regular Friday and Saturday shows at Red Rock Resort ...

Clint Holmes - who seems busier today than he was while headlining at Harrah's - is performing a holiday show at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 to mark the opening of the Lake Las Vegas floating ice rink. Holmes will perform holiday staples; the performance is free to the public ...

Downward-facing-dog practitioners will be interested in an appearance by yoga guru and kinesiology expert Paul Grilley at the Tropicana's "Bodies ... The Exhibition" today at 1:30 p.m. Yoga students from Sherry Goldstein's Yoga Sanctuary will demonstrate how the body responds to various yoga poses. The presentation will be in the exhibit's lobby and is included in the $24 ticket cost ($21 for locals) ...

Glove is all you need: The UNLV Boxing Team, under the direction of eighth-year coach Skip Kelp, lost its Oct. 26 match at Big Dogs on West Sahara Avenue against UNR, 3-2. The Rebels, a club team that does not receive government funding, travels to Baltimore on Nov. 9 for a match the next day against the Naval Academy ...

Spotted on the roadways: A commemorative Nevada license plate that reads, "I 2 Read." Doesn't using symbols and numerals in place of words sort of defeat the purpose? ...

Her numbers are up: A Saturn Ion parked in the Orleans parking lot on Tuesday night had the vanity plate: KENOANN.

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