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August 20, 2014

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‘All By Myself’ fan Richard Dunn, Lance Bass and Michael Turchin attend Celine Dion’s show

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Celine Dion, second from right, with Richard Dunn, his wife Natasha and their daughter Bailey at the Colosseum on Friday, July 4, 2014, at Caesars Palace.

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Celine Dion, Richard Dunn (holding the young girl) and his family and friends at the Colosseum on Friday, July 4, 2014, at Caesars Palace.

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Celine Dion and Bailey Dunn, the daughter of Richard Dunn, at the Colosseum on Friday, July 4, 2014, at Caesars Palace.

Richard Dunn All By Myself

Celine Dion thanks Richard Dunn

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Michael Turchin, Celine Dion and Lance Bass at the Colosseum on Friday, July 4, 2014, at Caesars Palace.

“Lonely” airport videographer Richard Dunn isn’t the only one in his family able to sing Celine Dion’s hit “All By Myself” — his 2-year-old daughter Bailey knows the words, too, and sang them to the Canadian superstar backstage this weekend at her Caesars Palace Colosseum showroom.

More than 20 million people in 150 countries via 130 websites have now viewed the lip-sync video that Richard posted on YouTube after he was stranded in our McCarran International Airport a month ago. I reported his amazing story at Vegas DeLuxe on June 10.

Celine herself watched it and then recorded her own invitation to the Canadian-born video engineer to return and meet. Her video added another 1 million-plus viewers to the phenomenon.

“It’s just been an incredible experience,” said Richard when I talked with him Sunday night while he was wrapping up a work assignment for a pharmaceutical company’s product launch at Aria this week.

“The meeting with Celine just blew my mind. It was the icing on the cake for everything that’s happened out of the video. My entire family was incredibly moved by Celine, everybody at Caesars Palace and the people at McCarran.

“Backstage when little Bailey met Celine, she started to sing ‘Daddy’s song.’ It was amazing. Celine, who was almost in tears, and Bailey reached out for each other, and she let me take a photo of the two of them.”

Richard also recorded the dressing room meet-and-greet with his wife, Natasha, his parents and his in-laws who all flew in from New Brunswick. (Singer Lance Bass of ’N Sync fame and his fiance, Michael Turchin, also attended Celine’s show over the weekend.)

“When I finish work this week and get back home to Atlanta and the dust has settled, I’m going to send the edit to Celine, who will then post it on YouTube for everybody to see,” he continued.

I asked him how it felt to become famous overnight. He laughed: “George Clooney is famous. You only have to say his name, not that actor from ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ I’m not famous. But people do recognize me, and they lose their minds when they make the connection. It’s truly extraordinary what has happened since making the video.

“Coming to Las Vegas, I made sure to render unto Caesar what had to be rendered! I cashed in the airline vouchers from the night I stayed in your airport to fly in the family, but the generosity of Caesars and Celine in arranging everything for us has just been incredible.”

Richard remains here this week on the video project, and then Friday night he’ll be back at McCarran for another return flight to Atlanta. Will he volunteer to give up his seat again to get more vouchers?

“You’re asking what’s next? In a sense, that implies what I did originally was intentional. I assure you nothing was planned that night and nothing is planned for this Friday night, but there probably will be a next time, especially when there’s an opportunity that arises. I believe that laughter is the best medicine, so I wanted to make everybody rich with it.

“When we arrived, the airport authority had a welcoming committee of people applauding, but I think it was more to escort us to the limo than leaving me alone to have more fun!”

And the most memorable part of the weekend for Richard? “Watching the reaction of my family to everything that went on, and I have the entire thing on video. Meeting Celine, staying in a beautiful suite, eating in all the Caesars celebrity chef restaurants. Celine was over the top, and so was her show.”

Richard explained that if you look carefully at his YouTube video, you will see his iPod in several shots that played Celine’s hit remake as he lip synced. “It was beside me for the entire shoot. Back home I tried to edit it out as much as I could, but you can spot it.”

I had to call his wife Natasha to explain that he really was talking with me when she got his busy signal. She told me: “It was the greatest weekend. Celine was fabulous, and I will never forget meeting her and seeing her show.”

If Richard gets stranded again through the night Friday, instead of departing on his flight, I’m betting that this story is to be continued.

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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