Bugsy Siegel to Vegas Vickie: Meet the Icons of Las Vegas
Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Las Vegas, known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, has a rich history filled with iconic figures who have left their mark on the city. From visionary mobsters to legendary performers, these individuals have shaped Las Vegas into what it is today. Read on to delve into the lives and legacies of some of Las Vegas’s most prominent icons and how they have influenced the city’s glamorous past and bright future.
Bugsy Siegel: The Visionary Mobster
One of the most infamous figures in Las Vegas history, Bugsy Siegel played a significant role in the development of the Las Vegas Strip and the city’s organized crime history. Born in 1906, Siegel grew up in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He quickly found himself involved in criminal activities and gained a reputation as a ruthless mobster, and moved to Vegas in 1946 to reinvent his image.
Siegel’s vision for Las Vegas came to fruition with the development of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. In 1945, he spearheaded the construction of this luxurious resort, which set the standard for future Las Vegas establishments. Unfortunately, Siegel’s success was short-lived, as he was murdered in his Beverly Hills home in 1947. Despite his untimely demise, his impact on the Las Vegas Strip and organized crime history cannot be denied.
Frank Sinatra: The Rat Pack Performer
Frank Sinatra, a member of the Rat Pack, was instrumental in establishing Las Vegas as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Alongside fellow entertainers Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford, Sinatra performed at various Las Vegas venues, captivating audiences with his smooth vocals and charismatic stage presence.
Sinatra’s connection to the Rat Pack solidified his status as a Las Vegas icon. Their performances at the Sands Hotel and Casino and other renowned venues brought an air of sophistication and glamor to the city, all while sipping on his iconic glass of Jack with 3 rocks, 2 fingers of whiskey, and 1 splash of water.
Elvis Presley: The King’s Reign in Vegas
Elvis Presley, the legendary King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, had a profound impact on music and pop culture. In the 1970s, he embarked on a series of sold-out shows in Las Vegas, performing over 600 concerts. These performances solidified his status as a Las Vegas icon and brought a new level of excitement to the city.
Elvis’s residency in Las Vegas showcased his electrifying stage presence and larger-than-life personality. His performances at the International Hotel (now the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino) became the stuff of legends, drawing fans from all corners of the globe. Even after his passing, Elvis’s enduring legacy continues to resonate in the city.
Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie: Neon Legends
When you think of iconic Las Vegas landmarks, the neon cowboy sign known as Vegas Vic immediately springs to mind. Located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, Vegas Vic once graced the exterior of the Pioneer Club, welcoming visitors with his jovial “Howdy, partner!” greeting. Nearby, Vegas Vickie, a neon cowgirl sign, added a touch of feminine charm to the bustling street.
These neon legends have become synonymous with the spirit of Las Vegas. They serve as a reminder of the city’s vibrant past and continue to be beloved symbols of Downtown Las Vegas. Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie remain as nostalgic reminders of the city’s heyday, with Vic still greeting people on Fremont Street as Vickie gets to enjoy her very own bar inside of Circa Las Vegas.
Howard Hughes: The Eccentric Billionaire
Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire and aviator, made Las Vegas his home during the 1960s and 1970s. Known for his reclusive lifestyle and obsession with aviation, Hughes left a lasting impact on the city’s development after moving into the penthouse of Desert Inn and subsequently buying the whole property.
During his time in Las Vegas, Hughes acquired several hotel-casinos, including the Desert Inn, Sands, and Frontier. He also played a significant role in the city’s aviation industry, acquiring local airlines and expanding their operations. And on top of all of that, he even bought several local TV stations such as KLAS. Hughes’s contributions to Las Vegas were substantial, and his influence can still be felt today.
Celine Dion: A Residency for the Ages
In recent years, Las Vegas has been home to numerous long-running residencies by world-renowned performers. One such residency that captivated audiences was Celine Dion’s at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The Canadian singer’s stunning performances drew fans from around the world, solidifying her place as a Las Vegas icon and earning herself the unofficial title of the queen of Las Vegas.
Her residency showcased her powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence, and she became synonymous with the city’s modern era of entertainment. Despite concluding her residency in 2019, Dion’s influence continues to resonate with fans and fellow performers alike.
Source: Picas Joe
Penn & Teller and Siegfried & Roy: Magic in the Desert
Las Vegas has long been a hub for mesmerizing magic performances, thanks to magicians like Penn & Teller and Siegfried & Roy. These magicians not only entertained the masses but also helped shape the entertainment culture of Las Vegas. Their shows showcased the artistry and spectacle that the city has become known for, solidifying their place as icons of Vegas.
Siegfried & Roy, the legendary duo known for their captivating performances with exotic animals, became synonymous with Las Vegas. Their show, featuring white tigers and lions, was a spectacle of grandeur and wonder. For years, they thrilled audiences at The Mirage Resort and Casino until their final performance in 2003.
Penn & Teller brought their unique brand of comedy and magic to Las Vegas. With their show at the Rio, they combine sleight of hand tricks with witty banter, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that delight both locals and tourists alike.
Derek Stevens: Revitalizing Las Vegas
In recent years, Derek Stevens has made significant contributions to the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. Through his projects, such as Circa Resort, the D, and Golden Gate, he has breathed new life into the heart of the city while honoring the rich and iconic history of the city.
Through his investments and vision, Stevens has contributed to the ongoing growth of the area, attracting new visitors and injecting new energy into the area with incredible restaurants and bars, state-of-the-art casinos, the world’s largest sportsbook, and the Stadium Swim® pool amphitheater. The Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, also owned by Stevens, brings lively shows and events to help grow the cultural experiences in Vegas.
The Lasting Legacy of Vegas
The icons mentioned above have all made significant contributions to Las Vegas’s culture and history. Whether it’s Bugsy Siegel’s role in shaping the Las Vegas Strip, Frank Sinatra’s influence on the city’s entertainment reputation, the enduring presence of Vegas Vic and Vegas Vickie, or the revitalizing efforts of Derek Stevens, these figures have all left an indelible mark on the city. Their legacy lives on in the glitz and glamor of the city’s casinos, the magic of its performances, and the ever-changing skyline that draws millions of visitors year after year.
Las Vegas has a rich heritage, and it continues to grow and make even more room for future icons. Could it be you? Next time you’re in town, be sure to book a room at Circa Las Vegas and have a drink at Legacy Club rooftop bar. Here, you can live the glamorous life of the founding members of Las Vegas while having the time of your life with modern luxuries that every icon deserves.