Monday, March 19, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capital of the World, each year drawing hundreds of big-name performers to its stages.
But when it comes to eternal resting places, celebrities for the most part eschew Las Vegas. Here's a look at a few who bucked the trend and are buried in the Las Vegas Valley.
In a career spanning the better part of 60 years, Curtis appeared in more than 150 motion pictures. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1958 for his role in “The Defiant Ones” with Sidney Poitier.
Curtis, who died at age 85, is buried at Palm Eastern Cemetery.
The onetime heavyweight boxing champion died Dec. 30, 1970, at the age of 38.
During his professional career, Liston fought 54 times and won 50 of those bouts, including 39 by knockout. He won the heavyweight title in 1962, knocking out Floyd Patterson at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Liston successfully defended his title against Patterson in July 1963 in Las Vegas but lost the belt in early 1964 to Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali).
Officially, Liston died of lung congestion and heart failure, though some still question that assessment because of Liston's hard-living lifestyle.
Liston is buried at Davis Memorial Park on Eastern Avenue.
The famed trumpeter and bandleader from the big-band era died at age 67 in 1983 in Las Vegas.
James, perhaps, is best known for hiring Frank Sinatra — Ol’ Blue Eyes’ first gig with a name band — in 1939.
James’ fame as a musician and bandleader opened the door for his appearances in more than a dozen films and on television. He wed three times, including a 22-year marriage to World War II pinup girl Betty Grable.
James is interred in the mausoleum at Bunkers Eden Vale Memorial Park in Las Vegas.
In the 1970s and ’80s he worked Las Vegas showrooms, mainly at the Hacienda, where he sometimes would come into the kitchen to joke with the employees before hitting the stage.
Foxx, who died in 1991, is buried at Palm Eastern Cemetery.
Richard “Pancho” Gonzales
From the mid-1950s through the early 1960s, there was no tennis player better than Pancho Gonzales.
The winner of the U.S. Open as an amateur in 1948 and 1949, Gonzales turned pro in the early 1950s. From 1953 through 1960, he won eight consecutive U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. At the height of his professional career, he was ineligible to compete in Grand Slam events. But in 1968, the open era of tennis began and Gonzales again was eligible to compete in tennis’ premier events. At age 41, Gonzales defeated Charlie Pasarell in a five-hour, 12-minute first-round match at Wimbledon. With no tiebreakers in existence at the time, the score was 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9, and it still stands as the longest match ever in the championships.
Gonzalez died July 3, 1995, in Las Vegas and is buried at Palm Eastern Cemetery.
The “Man of Many Voices” made a fortune as a headliner on the Strip even though he originally had his sights set on a career in baseball. An injury changed those early plans, and Gans became an entertainer. By 1995, he had his own show on Broadway, and in 1996 he moved to Las Vegas.
According to a 2009 Sun article, “after stints at the Stratosphere and the Rio and eight years at the Mirage, where he reigned in his self-titled theater, Gans recently moved across the street and into the Encore Theatre.
“He was a quick-change artist, using his supple voice, elastic face and body English to jump from character to character.
“In his 90-minute-plus program, Gans delivered a buffet of impressions: Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin — in self-duet with Jerry Lewis, and the inevitable Elvis and George Burns.”
Gans died May 1, 2009. The Clark County coroner said Gans had a toxic reaction to hydromorphone, a common pain medication, in addition to other physical causes.
Gans is buried at Palm Eastern Cemetery.
Bo Belinsky spent eight years as a major-league pitcher and was referred to in a New York Times obituary as “the Playboy Pitcher” for his relationships with actresses Ann-Margret, Tina Louise, Connie Stevens and Mamie Van Doren.
He was thrown into the spotlight as a rookie with the Los Angeles Angels after tossing the first major-league no-hitter on the West Coast. The gem came on May 5, 1962, in Dodger Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles.
In 2006, five years after Belinsky’s death, Dan Connolly wrote in the Baltimore Sun, “Belinsky, who had a career record of 28-51, was known more for his quick wit, wild lifestyle and romance with Hollywood starlet Mamie Van Doren. After securing the first no-hitter in Angels and Dodger Stadium history, Belinsky told reporters, ‘If I'd known I was going to pitch a no-hitter today, I would have gotten a haircut.'"
He died Nov. 23, 2001, in Las Vegas. He is buried six rows up and a spot to the right of Sonny Liston in Davis Memorial Park.