Memories of Las Vegas
MEMORIES OF MANY MEETINGS WITH ONE OF MY FAVORITE STARS
This past June my husband and I were shopping at a market near our home, and since we both have had health problems, this day it was his turn to be the one with the biggest problem’s and I was loading groceries in the trunk of the car, while my husband was sitting in the car. Suddenly a big white SUV pulled up next to our car and a man got out and started to walk away, but suddenly turned and started complimenting me on how I looked. I dress as well as I can no matter where we go. My husband always tells people that I never just show up, that I always make an appearance. I don’t know if that’s true but it gets him “points” with me. In any case this man just kept up the compliments for quite a few seconds, and I was flattered. Since I wear a hat all the time now, anyone who knows me might not recognize me, because I don’t dress like I used to. So when this man started to go on his way I suddenly remembered, (he doesn’t look the same either, as he does on stage either) and I called. “Tony.” He said “Yes” and I reminded him who I was. Yes, it was TONY OLRLANDO. He was shopping for his Mother who lives near the market, and was on his way to Hollywood for the funeral of his friend, Ed McMahon. Well, we had a great visit and he went up and talked to my husband, who was sitting in the car. Tony had known us both for many years, and it was old home week. My husband had a condition called Guillian Barre, which is a condition that attacks the nerves and causes loss of control in the muscles. We talked of many things and then we were on our way home, while Tony went in to shop.
My first meeting with Tony was in 1980. The Tropicana Hotel hosted a television shoot that was to be the “Jimmy Durante Entertainer of The Year Awards.” The award show didn’t make it, as a yearly show, but this one that was taped, was a real winner. Many stars came out for this show and afterward, I had been invited to help host a cast party for the people who were involved in the show. All the stars and the people who put the show together, attended the party. Through the entire day, (and we spent an entire day, what with the taping and the after taping party) you could feel the presence of the beloved Jimmy Durante, and because of that presence, people seemed closer to each other than they might have been otherwise, with that many egos involved. The party was a gigantic success. There was Rosemarie, with her trademark hair bow, Waylon Flowers and Madame, (remember Waylon and his puppets? A great light of talent too soon dimmed). Joan Rivers, was there and my dear friend, Liberace. This was my first meeting with a guy with “charisma” to burn, my first meeting with Tony. We were both younger then, and I had a great time being teased by him and watching his natural sense of humor come into play. We had our picture taken together, which I still treasure and will include with this story.
Years later, I attended a press party for the “revived” show of Tony Orlando and Dawn, held backstage at the Desert Inn Hotel. Once again I watched Tonys sense of humor as he joked with all of us, and did “shtick” with his old friend Robert Goulet, no slouch in the humor department himself. We talked a bit then and I found that Tony remembered me from this party, and he continued to have fun with Robert and all the guests.
Now its more years later and Tony was starring with Bobby Vinton at Bally’s. What a show !! Tony never sang better, and Bobby Vinton is so talented that, in my opinion, his reputation as a teenage idol got in the way of the general public knowing how talented he is. His musical compositions have been sung and recorded by a plethora of great singers, and he can still sell a song, whether it is one he wrote or one someone else penned for him. He plays almost every musical instrument known to man. Again, a press party, and a third meeting with Tony. It was wonderful talking with him, and learning that he is truly happy with his life and his career. Maturity looks good on Tony, and he still has the audience in the palm of his hands. Have you seen him since he lost all that weight? He looks 20 years younger and , though he has always been gorgeous, he is even more so, once again. Tom Jones may have had all the women “swooning”, but Tony has to fight them off too. That charm and charisma has only gotten more pronounced with the years. Presently Tony and Bobby both call Branson, Missouri home. Tony loves Branson and says he has finally found a town that he feels comfortable calling home. My meetings with him through the years have been a bright spot in my walks down memory lane, and now my oldest daughter is one of his neighbors in Branson, Missouri, and my granddaughter is a friend of his sons in Branson. I still go to see every show that he does here in Las Vegas. That's at least a couple of times a year. He plays the South Point when he comes here now. Our paths continue to cross, and hopefully they will for many years to come. My husband, Ted Quillin, used to play Tony’s records on KFWB in Hollywood and Armed Forces Radio Network, for many years, so when we see him these days, its old home week.