May Celebrity Celebrations
May 1: Happy 52nd McBirthday to country singer Tim McGraw. We’re guessing the onetime Venetian residency headliner still practices what he preaches in his hits — say, “Humble and Kind”?
May 2: Even as he turns 83, we vow never to release “Release Me” crooner/Vegas headlining vet Engelbert Humperdinck from our album/8-track/CD/iPod/Spotify collection.
May 2: Vroom-vroom-vroom … Racing dynamo and Vegas native Kyle Busch hits the gas toward birthday No. 34.
May 3: We still can’t take our eyes off lead Jersey Boy/Vegas legend Frankie Valli, whose famed falsetto (along with the rest of him) turns 85. Save your birthday wishes for June 15, when the Energizer Bunny singer shows up with the Four Seasons to perform their greatest hits at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
May 7: Trailblazing comic Totie Fields passed away here in Las Vegas in 1978 at age 48, but her legacy of self-deprecating laughs lives on. Classic Totie: “I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is two weeks.”
May 8: Lost to us in 2017 at age 90, insult comic supreme/Vegas legend Don Rickles is still the hockey puck of our dreams.
May 8: Make it a (belated) birthday bash fit for a king — that is, the King of Latin Pop — when Enrique Iglesias returns to Vegas as a 44-year-old to perform Sept. 14 at Caesars Palace.
May 9: Blow out all 70 candles on the birthday cake for Vegas mainstay Billy Joel, but be careful how to dispose of them. We have to be able to claim that We Didn’t Start the Fire.
May 10: With a wondrous sleight of hand maneuver, Linq magic man Mat Franco somehow turned into a 31-year-old right before our very eyes. How? Well, great magicians never reveal their secrets.
May 11: Before leaving us in 2001 at age 89, funnyman Foster Brooks got us drunk on laughs simply by telling jokes as a make-believe drunk. You can visit YouTube to revisit some of his best bits as a roaster on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, filmed at the MGM Grand.
May 12: The man was a comedy god — period. That man was longtime Vegas headliner George Carlin, who left us in 2008 at age 71. Classic Carlin: “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things”; “Atheism is a non-prophet organization”; “Have you ever noticed that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone driving faster than you is a MANIAC!”
May 14: Near the top of the list of the gone-way-too-soon club is cool-dude singer (and Vegas hipster) Bobby Darin, who left us way back in 1973 at age 37. But the memories are forever. Surely you recall how he made time with Sukey Tawdry, Jenny Diver, Lotte Lenya and Sweet Lucy Brown. “Oh the line forms on the right, dears, now that Mackie’s back in town … LOOK OUT OL’ MACKIE IS BACK!”
May 14: The man who is No. 1 — as in, at the pinnacle of DJ Mag’s list of the top 100 DJs for 2016-2018 — also marks birthday No. 23 when Martin Garrix returns to Omnia at Caesars Palace on May 17, 21 and 25; and to Wet Republic at MGM Grand on May 19 and 24.
May 16: Though it was never revealed, we suspect that for many years, NASA astronauts could spot Las Vegas from space just by the sparkle from Liberace’s outfits. He left us in 1987 at age 67, by which time he had earned his place as a timeless, forever icon of this city.
May 16: Line up at the Park Theater, everyone: On May 17 — one day past her 53rd birthday – Janet Jackson will debut her new Vegas residency, where she will once again demonstrate what she’s doing for us lately.
May 18: Ultimate country troubadour George Strait just needs to wait a few months to celebrate his 67th birthday – trust us, we’ll make the wait worth your while, George! — here in Las Vegas when he returns to serenade us Aug. 23 at T-Mobile Arena.
May 19: Bring on the chaos as DJ Marshmello (a.k.a. Christopher Comstock) cues up birthday No. 27 the night before The Big Night when he appears at KAOS dayclub/nightclub on May 18.
May 20: It was the Sign of All Time, Vegas-style — The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign — that made Betty Willis a legend around here, though she was also responsible for much of the indelible Strip signage that captured lightning in a neon bottle. She helped fix Las Vegas in the public imagination before she left us in 2015 at age 91. (Click here https://www.lasvegasnewswire.com/betty-willis/ for a feature story on Betty Willis — including an interview with her daughter and past comments from Willis herself — and this year’s 60th anniversary of the “Welcome” sign.)
May 20: Dark lady laughed and danced and lit the candles — all 73 of them — one by one in preparation for the megastar’s Vegas return when Cher hits the Park Theater stage Aug. 21-Sept. 1.
May 24: Elvis’ dewy-eyed bride Priscilla Presley turns 74, yet it seems like only yesterday when the Swivel-Hipped One couldn’t help falling in love … with … her.
May 26: She left us in 2002 at age 81, but Vegas (and the rest of the world) will never forget about how Miss Peggy Lee, in that husky, sensual purr, gave us all “Fever! Yeah, fever all through the night … Fever! Yea, I burn forsooth.”
May 26: You can still make lovin’ fun at age 71, as surely proven by Stevie Nicks, who holds the distinction of being the opening headliner at the Park Theater back in 2016.
May 26: It’s a big Six-Oh! celebration for celebrity chef — a.k.a, “Iron Chef” — Masaharu Morimoto, whose culinary talents are relished nightly at his namesake restaurant at the MGM Grand.
May 29: Thanks for the memories, Bob Hope — in Vegas and around the globe — that you made during your 100 years with us, before leaving to spread laughs on another plane in 2003.
May 29: He was a pallie of those Vegas rascals known as the Rat Pack. That alone validated the coolness factor of John F. Kennedy. And then didn’t we hear a bit of scuttlebutt about him being president or something? That was until that dreadful day in Dallas, when he was taken from us at age 46. Today, he would have been 102 years old.
May 29: Comedy naughty boy Daniel Tosh turns a boyish 44 before he returns to the Terry Fator Theatre at the Mirage on Sept. 27.
May 30: Here comes da Judd — the one known as Wynonna, who frequently makes her larger-than-life presence known to Vegas showrooms — to celebrate birthday No. 55.
May 30: DJ Madeon (a.k.a. Hugo Pierre Leclercq), a DJ staple of the Vegas nightlife scene, gives being 25 years old a spin.
— Steve Bornfeld