Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | 4:55 p.m.
They might be the world’s most unique and expensive pinup paintings, and they’re headed to Las Vegas. Hollywood celebrity photographer Dick Zimmerman has created a process melding his artwork with mixed-media compositions of diamonds and other gems applied to canvases.
Each of the three Marilyn Monroe spectaculars contain $135,000 in diamonds, and for the first time his “Diamonds Diva” collections will be for sale here in August. “I believe Marilyn was the first and original Hollywood diva,” Dick told me. “We have so many more in the works. The contemporary portraits really come to life with the sparkle of diamonds. They create an ever-changing visual experience.”
For many years, Dick was a top Hollywood photographer the stars turned to for portraits. His client list of more than 350 included Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, and he shot Michael Jackson’s album covers. Salvador Dali even asked Dick to capture his 50th anniversary gala portraits.
“I never felt like a true artist until I returned to my first love of painting,” Dick told me. “That’s how I began, and I moved into photography because it was easier, faster and more profitable. It wasn’t as challenging, though, as doing something completely different with painting.”
By 21, he was a professional photographer and lived in Paris for six years before opening his celebrity studio in Hollywood. “After taking photos for 20 years, I knew I had to return to my true love of painting. I was only 7 when I painted my first portrait -- of my father” her added.
“Now that ‘Diamonds Diva’ is a real project, I’m bringing them to their first showcase in Las Vegas. I know there will be some beautiful women who will want to be immortalized in diamonds and oil -- maybe even some of your Strip entertainers and VIPs.”
The three Marilyn paintings are $150,000 each, but Dick says if a buyer wants all three, he’ll sell them for $400,000. If he hits the jackpot here, he’ll open a studio and gallery, with a portion of each painting earmarked for a local charity.
PAMPERING PAPA YEAR-ROUND: The price is steep, but the reward is deep. The stores at Crystals in MGM’s CityCenter have come up with two high-priced treats for men. The classic man’s package is $12,780 and includes a Ermenegildo Zegna suit, a Bvlgari stainless-steel watch, a bronze statue of the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Golf Open, three coffee-table masterpiece books and dinner at Mastro’s Ocean Club.
Too pricey? Trim to $11,538 for the modern man’s package consisting of a Paul Smith travel suit, a Tag Heuer Formula 1 watch, a driving session in Dream Racing’s Ferrari racecar, a Rodney Lough framed, award-winning wilderness photograph and dinner at Social House. The packages proved so popular during Father’s Day that they have become year-round offerings.
*“American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks kicked off his eight-week run in the Indigo at Bally’s on Tuesday night to kudos from legendary Las Vegas singer Clint Holmes and his wife singer Kelly Clinton. Clint gave Taylor a two-thumbs-up salute after the show.
*Congratulations to the cast and crew of “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian on Tuesday night’s sixth anniversary and 2,416th performance. Backstage afterward, I chatted with the four principals about the bittersweet moment of celebrating the milestone knowing the show closes Sept. 2. “Had it not been for the economic downturn, it would have run for 10 years, maybe forever,” said Tony Award-winning Anthony Crivello, who portrays the Phantom. My full interview will run next week.
*At “Vegas! the Show” with its cast of 40 singers, dancers, an orchestra and showgirls, it was a second-anniversary celebration for the David Saxe production at Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood. David premieres “Awesome ’80s Prom” at his V Theater on July 13, a blast from the past interactive party set at a high school prom in 1989. The evening includes characters from “Pretty in Pink” and “The Breakfast Club,” flirting with the bad boys on the football team and voting for prom king and queen in the mezzanine showroom converted into a dance floor.
*Congratulations to magician Murray Sawchuck (“America’s Got Talent,” “Pawn Stars”). His short run at the Tropicana has proved so popular that it’s now being extended six nights a week to at least through Labor Day weekend.
“Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” and ABC series pro dancers Lacy Schwimmer and Tristan MacManus watched Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity” at New York-New York. It was her fourth visit and his first, and they invited the cast backstage to their show across the street.
Comedian Dave Chappelle and his family watched Cirque’s “Mystere” at Treasure Island. The party of 12 also hit N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms, where chef Barry Dakake gave the funnyman a tour of the kitchen, and Dave of course added his autograph to the shakedown door. Dave ended his night at Hyde Bellagio, where he jumped in the DJ booth. Also at Hyde: “DWTS” Trop star Joey Fatone.
Travelers arriving from overseas at the new T3 terminal at McCarran Airport that opened today were greeted by the “Rat Pack” headliners from the Rio: Frank Sinatra (Brian Duprey), Sammy Davis Jr. (Kenny Jones), Dean Martin (Drew Anthony) and Joey Bishop (Mickey Joseph) . Marilyn Monroe impersonator Jamie Edwards also was present. All perform their Old Las Vegas tribute nightly with the Lon Bronson Big Band Orchestra at the Rio.
Previews begin for “Surf the Musical” at Planet Hollywood -- hip, hip hooray for a jolly good show! And English party queen Yvette Brown hosts the Everything English party with models and couture at English’s -- where else? -- in Town Square.
More than 30 high-rolling poker players have each paid $1 million to enter Cirque du Soleil chief Guy Laliberte’s One Drop tournament at the Rio. We have the full story of the richest pot ever to be paid, and his water for the world charity benefits, too.
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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