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December 20, 2014

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Battered from the slopes, Ruvo slaloms through another Power of Love gala

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

The 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011.

Larry Ruvo has a broken arm.

But because this is Larry Ruvo, this is no ordinary broken arm. He broke his arm in a manner befitting a man well-acquainted with spectacular events.

Ruvo was injured while skiing -- Vail Ski Resort in Colorado. He was cutting the slopes with Cindy Nelson -- the same Cindy Nelson who was a top downhill skier for more than a decade and won a bronze medal in the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.

2011 Keep Memory Alive Gala

The 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011. Launch slideshow »
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Andrea Hissom and Steve Wynn on the 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

The 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

The 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

The 2011 Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala red carpet at the Bellagio on Feb. 26, 2011.

Nelson and Ruvo have been friends for years, and they ski together, usually free of incident. Not this time.

Ruvo’s operation was performed by Dr. Peter J. Millett, shoulder specialist for the world renowned Steadman Clinic founded by Dr. Richard Steadman -- the same Richard Steadman who treated Nelson during her Olympic and World Cup skiing career.

Steadman happens to be a longtime friend of Ruvo’s, and the two were planning to have dinner on the day Ruvo took to the slopes and was cut down by either a fellow skier or snowboarder -- he’s not quite sure because the collision happened in a fantastic, blurry flurry.

“It happened fast. I swerved right, and then someone hit me,” Ruvo said. “I don’t know if it was a snowboarder or another skier. I have no idea who it was.”

Of course, there is nothing routine about Ruvo’s injury. He fractured his humerus in 15 places. The resulting surgery made his arm look like Aisle 6 at Home Depot -- 11 screws and a stainless-steel plate were inserted to reset the bone.

But Ruvo put a smile on the injury, showing up at the Bellagio on Saturday for the 15th annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala wearing a black sling decorated with red and white hearts.

As the president of Southern Wine & Spirits and founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Ruvo talks ceaselessly of how love can overcome any malady.

Saturday he wore that sentiment, literally, on his sleeve. We expect a full recovery.

More from the show:

Nice figures: The total take is yet to be tabulated, but at least $5 million was raised from the silent and live auction and table sales. Proceeds go to operating costs at the Ruvo Center, and as Cleveland Clinic Chief Executive Officer Toby Cosgrove said, "We couldn't do this anywhere else but Vegas."

Wynn in speech: In his introduction of the night’s honoree, E. Parry Thomas, unannounced presenter Steve Wynn said, “It’s nice to be back in this room, to be welcomed back to the Bellagio. I hate this hotel.” The audience laughed, and he added, unnecessarily, “That was a joke.” He also said, “Other than Angie, his mom, I think I am probably the longest-standing person in the room who thought Larry (Ruvo) was cool. … The community is going to benefit for a long, long time because of what Larry has done.” And, of Thomas, who along with partner Jerry Mack, was the sole banker responsible for financing the gaming and resort industry when no other finance company would even entertain such a concept, “He’s like my second father.”

And the second father says …: Humbled at being recognized in a room loaded with Vegas power players, Thomas nodded to his nearly lifelong business partner and friend: “When you are honoring me, you are really honoring the Thomas family and the Mack family.”

A social network: Standing near the entrance of the ballroom were Mayor Oscar Goodman and his wife, the front-runner to succeed him in office, Carolyn. She assessed her campaign so far as, “Tiring!” Oscar, meanwhile, looked like he could pull an all-nighter, no problem.

Romano a mano: Ray Romano came out with some Las Vegas-specific material his longtime fans know well. He joked that Vegas is the only city where you have to cancel your wake-up call because you haven’t been to bed yet. “We need a go-to-bed call. ‘Hey, it’s 7 a.m., pull your pants up, and get back to your room.” Romano asked if anyone in the audience had twins. When someone called out that they did, he asked, “How old are they?” When the couple shouted, “Thirty-five!” he said, “That’s such a cute age for twins!”

All that Chazz: I asked (as opposed to, say, you asking) Vegas frequenter Chazz Palmintieri about returning “A Bronx Tale” back to Las Vegas. “I’ve been trying to do some movies, and doing some stage work. … I will be doing the show again this year.” Will he be bringing it back to the Venetian? “I don’t know yet. We’ll see. But I’ll be back.”

Flock of Siegel: In a quick, chance run-in with Michael Crandall and Stephen Siegel of the Siegel Group, Siegel said. “I think Las Vegas is coming back. You can feel it in the city.” You hear this type of talk in the energy of these big events, which reminds of the financial and emotional investment so many powerful figures make in Las Vegas.

M and M: A talk with Smith Center for the Performing Arts President Myron Martin reminds that about a year from now, the Smith Center will be opening. The Ruvo gala may have to move to make room for one of next year’s major events.

Her comp will go on: Celine Dion appeared in video form, unannounced (but not entirely unexpectedly) to donate seats to a preview performance of her show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace to the doctors, staff and volunteers and related family and friends at the Ruvo clinic. The date of that performance is March 12.

A hit 45: Lee Iacocca showed up driving a 45th-anniversary Mustang, a muscled-up version of the nimble little two-door “pony car” he turned loose on American drivers in 1964. Only 45 of these commemorative Mustangs have been assembled. The updated version, with a 550-horsepower engine and constructed of composite metals used in aerospace design, went for $140,000 -- and two were sold.

More bidding adieu: A poker party hosted by Romano and Brad Garrett went for $40,000, thrice-over. … A whippet-thin Teri Hatcher donated her Academy Awards gift haul, which included vacations to Tanzania and the Caribbean, a $5,000 spa (installed in the bidder’s home) and a variety of jewelry and technological gadgets. The prize package was valued at $50,000. … A 2012 Mercedes-Benz AMG Roadster (563-horsepower V-8 engine, soft-top, 7-speed dual-clutch gear box and a total of eight airbags) went for $340,000. That sucker looks good in my driveway, too.

The hot list: The official list of news-making attendees: Romano, Garrett, Lisa VanderPump from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “Peepshow” and “Holly’s World” star Holly Madison, Laura Croft from "Holly’s World," Hatcher, Caesars headliner Matt Goss and choreographer Robin Antin, comedians Gilbert Gottfried and David Brenner, Palminteri, Steve Schirripa and Sen. Harry Reid. (Not on the official list was Sen. John Ensign, which could be seen as an interesting omission.). … Post-dinner performers were Human Nature and rising vocalist/former Bellagio housekeeping staffer Eric Gomez. … The four-course dinner was prepared by celebrity chefs Jose Andres, Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck and François Payard.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow Kats With the Dish at twitter.com/KatsWithTheDish.

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