Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 | 5 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
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Palms Casino Resort has come a long way since its "Real World" debut in 2002. The boutique property features three distinct towers and a diverse mix of bars and restaurants across a 95,000-square-foot casino.
Palms, which features more than 1,200 rooms and fantasy suites, is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation that will encompass an Ivory Tower room and suite redesign, new culinary additions, re-imagined gaming spaces and new, distinctive nightlife experiences.
In addition to newly designed rooms, during the first phase of the renovation, Palms will welcome Heraea, a high-energy American restaurant and lounge, and XISHI, a pan-Asian restaurant and lounge.
Fantasy Suites include the Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with its own basketball court.
Other amenities include the all-new Cantor Gaming® race and sports book, one of the few sports books in Las Vegas to include a poker room; SOCIAL; Scarlet; Chocolat Bistro; tonic bar; ghostbar; Pearl Concert Theater; Moon Nightclub; N9NE Steakhouse; Nove Italiano; Simon Restaurant & Lounge; Palms Pool & Bungalows; Kim Vō Salon; Drift Spa & Hammam; Brenden Theatres, a 14-theatre cineplex and more than 60,000 square-feet of meeting space.