Monday, July 1, 2013 | 5:32 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach heads to the East Coast and London before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus, the Amalfi Coast this year — many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We kick it off today with Flamingo headliner Donny Osmond, who, along with sister Marie, start a new run Tuesday through July 27 and again Aug. 20 through Nov. 23.
A few weeks ago, while flying into McCarran Airport, I turned to my wife and told her that landing in Las Vegas felt like coming home even though I reside in Utah. Her response was one to be expected: “That’s strange.”
As we got talking about it, I realized that Las Vegas really is my second home. Although my career began at age of 5 on “The Andy Williams Show,” by the time I hit my teens, I was performing nightly in Las Vegas. In fact, from my recollection, I’ve been working in this town for about 40 years — and a lot has changed.
I have fond memories performing in Las Vegas while in my youth. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the significance of my experiences; rubbing shoulders with great performers like Redd Foxx, Jerry Lewis and Don Rickles taught me so much. Of course, who would forget Elvis and The Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. Watching and working with these and other great performers of Las Vegas, I gleaned from their expertise.
I’m grateful for those experiences, which have made me who I am today. Of course, Las Vegas isn’t just about the work. As teenagers, my brother Jay and I, after an evening’s performance, would grab our racquets and go play tennis until 3 or 4 in the morning. It sounds crazy, but any Las Vegan will tell you that’s the coolest part of the day, with temperatures around the high 80s.
What would be crazy is to play at noon when it’s 110 degrees! After a few games, we worked up an appetite. Since Las Vegas is open just about 24/7, we would go to the kitchen and get club sandwiches. To this day, the club is my sandwich of choice all because of the memories created here in Las Vegas.
When Debbie and I were married, 35 years ago, we honeymooned in Las Vegas. However, she and I joke about it actually being a honeymoon because the day after we wed, I was back onstage performing with my brothers. My Las Vegas memories continue as Marie and I are now into our fifth year performing at Flamingo Las Vegas. And for the last two years, we’ve been recognized in the Best of Las Vegas voting.
Looking forward, I will soon celebrate my 50th year in entertainment, and I’m gearing up to make it an event to remember. And I can’t think of a better place to be than right here. Because of these memories, Las Vegas will always be my second home.
Robin, thank you for letting me guest write on your blog. I enjoy our friendship and association here in this great city — Las Vegas!
Check our other guest column today from “Top Chef: Seattle” kitchen queen Carla Pellegrino and, on Tuesday, look for our three guest columns from the stars of “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace: The Gazillionaire, Penny Pibbets and Melody Sweets.
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.
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Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.