Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2017

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FREDERIC APCAR: 1914 — 2008:

Dancer from Paris brought touch of class with shows on Strip

Whenever Dunes Hotel show producer Frederic Apcar returned to Europe to visit friends, he always called Las Vegas home.

“My dad always joked that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered over the Las Vegas Strip,” Frederic Apcar Jr. said.

The son was called home to Las Vegas from Panama, where he was producing a show, because his father had suffered two heart attacks. When he walked into the hospital room Friday, his father recognized him, Frederic Jr. said Sunday. “He saw me, he got excited, and then the next day he gave up.”

Frederic Apcar Sr. died Saturday. He was 93.

Funeral services have not been scheduled, according to Palm Mortuary.

When Dunes Hotel owner Major Riddle wanted to bring a touch of class to the Strip in the 1960s, he approached Apcar, a famous Parisian dancer, to produce a French extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Riddle saw Apcar and his wife, Florence, dancing in the “Folies Bergere” production in Paris and brought them to Las Vegas. Apcar persuaded Line Renaud, star of “Casino de Paris,” to move to Las Vegas. But first they had to convince Henri Varna, the show’s Parisian producer, that it was the right move.

After the 84-year-old Varna won three consecutive jackpots — on a nickel, a dime and a quarter — he agreed to allow Apcar to open a production of “Casino de Paris” at the Dunes in Las Vegas on Dec. 23, 1963, Apcar Jr. said. The show made Renaud an international star and Apcar a fixture on the Las Vegas Strip.

Before mounting a French spectacular in the main showroom, however, Riddle tested Apcar’s production abilities. Apcar opened “Vive Les Girls” in the Parisian Room at the Dunes in 1961, and it became one of the longest running shows on the Strip.

After he began dancing and producing spectacular stage shows in Las Vegas, including “Bare Touch of Las Vegas,” “Hot Streak” and “Showbiz,” Apcar spent the rest of his life here.

In 2006 Apcar received a lifetime achievement award from the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV.

Born on Sept. 16, 1914, in Paris, Apcar began working at age 12 to earn enough money to follow his dream of performing; he worked on docks, as a coal stoker and as a bartender’s assistant. At 16, he became a chorus boy in the “Folies Bergere” in Paris. He graduated from College Jules-Ferry in Paris.

In addition to his son, Frederic, Apcar is survived by his second wife, Olga, and a daughter, Elisabeth, also of Las Vegas.

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