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September milestones

Actress Catherine Deneuve introduces the new Paris Las Vegas Hotel-Casino on its opening night, Sept. 1, 1999. (Las Vegas News Bureau)

On Sept. 1, 1999 … Lending Viva Las Vegas! a Vive la France! vibe, Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino opens on the Strip, courtesy of Caesars Entertainment Corp. On opening night, acclaimed French actress Catherine Deneuve flips a switch to turn on all the new property’s lights, and fireworks are shot from the half-scale, 540-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower. Oooh-La-Las Vegas!

On Sept. 7, 1996 … one of the most infamous murders in Las Vegas history explodes into the headlines when iconic rapper Tupac Shakur is gunned down at age 25 after the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon boxing match at the MGM Grand. He dies six days later. Despite multiple theories, the case remains unsolved. In July, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said they were re-investigating the slaying, but no arrests have been made to date.

On Sept. 10, 1957The University of Nevada, Las Vegas — aka UNLV — is officially founded by the Nevada Board of Regents as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada. Renamed Nevada Southern University in 1965, it was finally christened University of Nevada, Las Vegas by the Regents in 1969. Today, UNLV offers more than 350 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in numerous fields, taught by approximately 850 faculty members. Wanna get yourself some good schoolin’? This is where you come.

On Sept. 13, 1951 … that skinny kid from Hoboken, N.J. — the world will know him as the Chairman of the Board, The Voice, and most importantly, Vegas-wise, the head rat of the Rat Pack — Frank Sinatra makes his debut in town at the Desert Inn. So, to quote one of his masterful recordings, “When he was 36, it was a very good year” (for Vegas).

Tony Curtis with the Caesars Palace Goddesses in 1967. (Don English/Las Vegas News Bureau)

On Sept. 30, 1929President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicates Boulder Dam — subsequently renamed Hoover Dam — by declaring it a project spurred by “a federal government concerned with the general welfare.” While implosions are a common occurrence in and around our desert paradise, this world wonder should make it to the next Ice Age.

On Sept. 30, 2010 … A matinee idol, Oscar-nominated actor and Hollywood legend — who was originally known as Bernard Schwartz from the Bronx — actor Tony Curtis passes away at age 85 at his home in HendersonA colorful character right to the end of his life, Curtis made his mark in movies such as The Defiant Ones, The Boston Strangler, Spartacus and The Sweet Smell of Success. And he insisted he never lent his New York accent to the oft-ridiculed line from 1951’s swashbuckler flick The Prince Who Was a Thief: “Yondah lies da castle of my faddah.”

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