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December 18, 2014

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Robin Leach commemorates 50 years of journalism and living in America

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Cashman Photography

Shania Twain and Robin Leach at the Colosseum on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, in Caesars Palace.

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Giada De Laurentiis and Robin Leach in New York on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, for the Food Network's 20th anniversary.

There’s a delightful coincidence for me this weekend with Ringo Starr in concert at the Palms. It was exactly 50 years ago Saturday that I left England and landed as a legal immigrant in the United States.

Weeks earlier while on the news desk of the Daily Mail in London, the editor told me to turn down an offer to travel to Liverpool to meet The Beatles when manager Brian Epstein sought press coverage for his new group.

Weeks later after arriving in New York, I did get to meet them all when they made their first-ever appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and set off fan fury that hadn’t been seen since the days of Elvis Presley.

Back on Nov. 23, 1963, I sailed into Manhattan Harbor onboard the Queen Mary and landed with no job and contacts and just $135 in my pocket. My first lodging was in a rundown hotel for $27 a week with the bathroom down the end of a corridor of beds.

It took me two days to get a job and, after selling shoes at a New York City department store, landed back in journalism at the Daily News of New York.

Despite being fired there six months later after three warnings for working too hard for the union shift times, I went on to a decade-long run as showbiz editor for Rupert Murdoch’s then-fledgling tabloid Star, which went on to become the steppingstone of his U.S. empire.

His failed attempt at a weekly TV version led me to guest spots on ABC in New York and Los Angeles, which led to “People Tonight” at CNN, where I was the cable outlet’s first showbiz reporter at the Oscars. The rest, as they always say, is history.

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Donny Osmond, Robin Leach and Marie Osmond at Flamingo Las Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.

I developed the pilot for “Entertainment Tonight” with Jack Haley Jr. and Al Masini, who became my business partner in “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” “Runaway” and several other shows and specials. More than 500 hours of television!

It was an incredible nearly two-decade run before I wanted — and needed — a big change, so I joined forces with TV kingpin Reese Schonfeld to help launch the Food Network.

Burnout comes easy in the high-pressure world of television, and when the opportunity arose to move to Las Vegas and bring my friends and star chefs to open their restaurants at the Venetian, I made the move here.

I’ve been a Las Vegas resident for nearly 14 years now and have loved every minute of it. We began our Luxe Life and Vegas DeLuxe daily columns not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we’ve spent a decade bringing you showbiz stories and star scoops.

I hope it continues for a long time to come because I honestly feel that all the late nights and around-the-clock hours to be first and fast keep me young. It also is great to be able to contribute to charities in Las Vegas, including my two favorites: Keep Memory Alive and Opportunity Village.

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Robin Leach works the red carpet for Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson One" at Mandalay Bay on Saturday, June 29, 2013.

Thanks for all your support and friendship over the half century in your wonderful and amazing country. I could never have achieved back in Britain what I have enjoyed here. I am sincerely grateful.

It’s appropriate that Ringo’s visit here from my home country and working near his Liverpool hometown coincides with my own anniversary. Ringo is presenting for the first time in a public exhibit his photographs and prints, and in the “Photograph” exhibit at the Palms, you will find “the kids in the car” shot. He recently tracked them all down to reunite them for an updated photo to go alongside the original from the 1960s.

Check back for our weekly Weekend Celebrity Preview in Las Vegas with Ringo and many more. And here’s to many more champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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