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Farewells bid to a prince of a guy
show business pals
provided a royal sendoff Friday to a prince of a guy.
Outside the church, after Goulet's casket had been placed in the hearse, singing legend Steve Lawrence, one of the pallbearers, tapped on a hearse window and said, "Five minutes, Mr. Goulet," invoking the traditional show business signal.
Some of the entertainment world's biggest stars from a bygone era attended Goulet's funeral at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Joining Lawrence was Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis McGuire of the McGuire Sisters, David Brenner, Norm Crosby and Rich Little.
Crosby recalled their first meeting during the Borscht Belt days.
"I was with Robert the first night he worked in the Catskills at the Concord Hotel. I stayed with him for the next three years," said Crosby, the king of the malaprop in his day.
Broadway producer Mike Merrick, Goulet's publicist during his "Camelot" years as Sir Lancelot, had the crowd howling during his eulogy.
ABC talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel and his girlfriend/comedian Sarah Silverman were among the crowd of mourners.
Kimmel opens his show every night with Goulet's voice singing the theme song.
"He was the only person I thought about doing it," said Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas.
Goulet died Oct. 30 of pulmonary fibrosis, a rare lung condition.
The Scene And Heard
Oprah Winfrey teased her Monday show by saying she would be talking to Celine Dion, who may be previewing her new English album, "Taking Chances." The album comes out next week.
Dion, who returns to Caesars Palace on Nov. 29, has only 13 dates remaining before ending her run of almost five years on Dec. 15. She kicks off a North American arena tour Aug. 12 in Boston before heading across Canada for 45 dates.
When Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were backstage before their Oct. 26 MGM Grand appearance, spies tell me that whenever a stranger appeared, Lopez's entourage and bodyguards immediately formed a cordon to prevent any unauthorized photography. Lopez announced her pregnancy during a concert in Miami on Wednesday night.
How many future Hall of Famers would show up for a friend's award presentation? Greg Maddux of the San Diego Padres introduced local author Jack Sheehan, winner of the lifetime achievement award, during VegasGolfer's awards dinner Tuesday at the Spanish Trail Country Club. Other winners: Former UNLV star Charlie Hoffman, male pro golfer of the year, and Natalie Gulbis, female pro golfer of the year.
Las Vegas chefs star in Michelin
Two years after being
wooed to America's hottest restaurant city, French star chef Joel
Robuchon reigns as the king of Las Vegas kitchens.
Since the first Michelin restaurant guide was published more than 100 years ago, this was the first year Las Vegas and Los Angeles were added.
Only the MGM Grand's Joel Robuchon received three stars, Michelin's ultimate rating.
The announcement was to be made this week, with the presentation at a Wynn Las Vegas nightclub, but word leaked when Michelin inadvertently posted the ratings momentarily on its Web site.
Las Vegas and Los Angeles each had three two-star winners. The Las Vegas winners: Alex Stratta's Alex at Wynn Las Vegas; Bellagio's Picasso, under chef Julian Serrano, and Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. The Los Angeles two-star winners: Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Mélisse in Santa Monica; and Urasawa, a Rodeo Drive Japanese restaurant with just 10 seats.
"I am pleased that the PR is going to go out everywhere. It is incredible recognition," said Serrano, who broke out Veuve Clicquot champagne and shared it with his staff after hearing the news Friday.
Robuchon, who was in Las Vegas checking on his two MGM Grand restaurants, celebrated with bubbly as well, joining MGM Grand executives at Tabu ultralounge after closing.
Robuchon won his first three stars from Michelin in 1983 at his Paris restaurant.
One-star ratings went to 12 Las Vegas restaurants: Alize, Palms; Andre's, downtown; Aureole, Mandalay Bay; Bradley Ogden, Caesars Palace; Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Wynn; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, MGM Grand; Mesa Grill, Caesars Palace; Le Cirque, Bellagio; Michael Mina, Bellagio; Mix, Mandalay Bay; Nobu, Hard Rock Hotel; and Wing Lei, Wynn.
The Scene And Heard
Look for a major Broadway-related announcement this week involving a local star on the rise.
ABC's late-night star Jimmy Kimmel and girlfriend/comedian Sarah Silverman, whooping it up with friends and family at Kimmel's 40th birthday party Saturday in the Hardwood suite at the Palms. Also there: pals Adam Corolla, Carson Daly and Huey Lewis
|Chef celebrates rare triple crown|
years after retiring, star chef Joel Robuchon is celebrating the
rare triple crown of the culinary world: a third three-star rating from
His third, which was reported Saturday for his self-titled restaurant at the MGM Grand, was accomplished in just two years.
In an interview hours after his latest three-star rating was announced, Robuchon praised his staff and expressed his appreciation to Gamal Aziz, the president and chief operating officer of MGM Grand.
He thanked Aziz, who successfully recruited Robuchon to Las Vegas, "for giving me everything to achieve this. It is very special to be the first (Michelin three-star restaurant) in Las Vegas."
Robuchon, who will be in Los Angeles today for the formal announcement, is Michelin's only three-star chef in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. It was Michelin's inaugural rating for the two cities.
Rumors were flying last week that Las Vegas might get two, Robuchon said.
"Then we heard only one, so it was us or someone else."
Robuchon retired in 1996 with two three-star ratings. His first was Jamin in Paris in 1984, and he received the second in 1994, after moving Jamin to a new location.
The Scene And Heard
Film and theater actress Julie Andrews, who starred in "Camelot" opposite Robert Goulet, sent condolences to Goulet's family last week, as did Celine Dion, who is out of the country. After the funeral, a private gathering was held at Wynn Las Vegas, with a group of Goulet friends taking turns sharing remembrances. They included singing legends Jack Jones and Phyllis McGuire, comedian David Brenner, musical conductor Vince Falcone, deejay Duke Morgan, and Goulet publicist Norm Johnson. Steve Wynn stopped by and visited with Goulet's widow, Vera. ...
Putting a new spin on painting the town red, Paris Las Vegas will illuminate the 50-story replica of the Eiffel Tower in red in the early morning hours Thursday. It will launch a week of Beaujolais Nouveau festivities to mark the release of the 2007 wine. ...
Goombahs James Gandolfini and Steve Schirripa are in town Tuesday to unveil "The Sopranos"-themed slot machines about 11 a.m. at the Global Gaming Expo. Schirripa is hosting the Vegas Va-Voom Variety Spectacular Wednesday, the kickoff event for the Las Vegas Comedy Festival at Caesars Palace. The lineup includes Lon Bronson's All-Star Band, Red Rock Resort headliners Zowie Bowie, magician Kevin James, Schirripa's "Va-Voom" showgirls, and comedian Dom Irrera. ...
Trader Vic's, featuring an endless menu of tropical drinks, has opened inside the front door of the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood Resort. Owner Doc Wiener has one of the last Strip-front patios, for now, at least, because of a recent moratorium. Among the staffers welcoming a horde of 600 at Friday's VIP opening was Mike Emizawa, Steve Wynn's longtime maitre 'd at Lily Langtry's at the Golden Nugget.
Norm took the day off
Michelin makes Steve Wynn's year
A banner year just went beyond Wynn's wildest dreams: Wynn Las Vegas has landed Michelin's highest hotel rating, the five red pavilions, after recently claiming Mobil five-star distinction and AAA five-diamond award.
The only Las Vegas hotel to earn Michelin's ultimate prize, Wynn Las Vegas is one of only eight hotels in the nation to receive the award.
"We're so thrilled," Wynn said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. "If I had known (Michelin) had those ratings I would have been nervous."
Three Wynn restaurants scored Michelin stars in the 2008 guide, which comes out this week. Alex Stratta's Alex was one of three Las Vegas eateries with two stars, and two other Wynn restaurants received one star: Daniel Boulud Brasserie and Richard Chen's Wing Lei, the only Chinese restaurant in the United States to win a Michelin star.
"I built this to be a Mobil five-star hotel,'' said Wynn.
He's on an unprecedented (for Vegas) roll, and there's more to come. Wynn said he's been informed that another AAA five diamonds award is coming next year.
He feels not just pride, but a sense of vindication for sticking to his guns.
"When I was in Bellagio the story was, 'Why go for those stars and diamonds? They're so expensive; the public doesn't give a shit.' I never believed it.
"But the feeling in town was that level of quality wasn't justified costwise. I didn't believe it at Bellagio, and I got the five stars at Picasso in 2000 and Renoir with Alex at Mirage. And MGM lost 'em the next year when I sold.
"But those were the first two five-star restaurants in Las Vegas. Then they went away (after Picasso and Renoir repeated in 2001).
"That five-star really does mean a lot to the customers, because they know that is a real rating. So now Bellagio and some of the other hotels have figured it out that it matters. There's a much higher awareness of quality in town, and if that happens it's good for Las Vegas.
"And I think it's a good idea to raise the bar for everybody in town. It's better to have three five-star hotels in town instead of just one. To have 16 Michelin restaurants in town is pretty good," he said.
"No one would have thought it was possible. Michelin was always about the French and Switzerland, snotty places like that. But here we are with 16 restaurants in the Michelin Guide.
|Health concerns sideline Newton|
considerations have caused Las Vegas entertainment icon Wayne Newton
to cancel his six-week holiday show at Harrah's.
Newton's representatives informed Harrah's on Wednesday that he "could not and would not go on" with the engagement, which was supposed to start tonight.
KVBC-TV, Channel 3 entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs reported the development Wednesday.
A formal announcement is expected today, Jacobs said.
Harrah's on Wednesday began notifying ticket holders of the cancellation.
It was first reported here Oct. 16 that Newton had a medical scare involving his heart during the grueling training for ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." He flew to Texas for tests and canceled shows in Washington, D.C., and Verona, N.Y.
After he and his dance partner, Cheryl Burke, were eliminated from "Dancing" on Oct. 9, Newton returned a week later for a guest encore and sang his breakthrough hit "Danke Schoen."
He later backed out of a show in Canada.
More concern was raised Friday when Newton did not attend the funeral of Robert Goulet, who died Oct. 30. Newton was best man when Goulet married Vera Novak in 1982.
Declining health might force Newton, long known as "Mr. Las Vegas," to step down as chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle. Since replacing Bob Hope in that position in 2001, Newton has tirelessly headed USO tours to Iraq, Afghanistan and other troubled areas where U.S. troops are stationed.
The Scene And Heard
Britney Spears was back in Las Vegas over the weekend for more liposuction, according to London's Daily Mail. That squares with a sighting from one of my spies, who claims she was at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas. The British newspaper reported that there are rumblings she is house hunting in Las Vegas. Spears had a lipo treatment in Las Vegas in April. ...
Beyoncé performs Dec. 30 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. ...
No change as of yet in Kanye West's Dec. 31 concert at the Pearl venue at the Palms. West's mother, Donda West, died Saturday in Los Angeles after a cosmetic surgical procedure. She was his co-manager and was with him during the MTV Video Music Awards at the Palms in September. ...
Legendary drag performer Joey Arias is returning to New York at the end of the year after four years emceeing Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity" at New York-New York, according to a report Wednesday by Las Vegas freelance writer Steve Friess. Arias mentioned his departure in a YouTube.com video. ...
Mary Wilson, formerly of the Supremes, has returned to Las Vegas from Asia, where she raised public awareness about land mines and unexploded ordnance. As the spokesperson for the Humpty Dumpty Institute, she performed a charity concert in Colombo, Sri Lanka, visited a rehabilitation center for victims and took part in blowing up explosives found near schools.
Newton tells fans he will be fine
Newton, in an interview with People magazine, said he will be out of commission for about two months but assured his fans that he's "going to be fine."
His heart condition is known as cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure. It is often associated with inadequate heart pumping or other heart function abnormalities, including viral infections.
Newton informed Harrah's on Wednesday that he was canceling his six-week holiday show. He also backed out of the upcoming "Dancing With the Stars" tour.
"This is just another little bump in the road," Newton told People. "The doctors are a little more concerned than I am. Part of their concern is that I feel so good -- I'm not taking this lightly."
He said his doctors indicated he should be back to full health in a couple months.
"I really want to apologize to the fans that were going to see me in those shows," he said. "I'm terribly apologetic. And for those who want to paint this situation with a black brush, they're not going to get their wish. I'm going to be fine."
Vegas Confidential reported on Oct. 16 that Newton had suffered a heart scare that caused him to cancel a number of shows.
Don Marrandino, president of Harrah's, said Newton "has been a great friend and our prayers are with him." The last-minute cancellation is not an issue, said Marrandino. "I would like to say that we're not mad; we just want him to get better."
Local boy-makes-good Steve Schirripa got The Comedy Festival off to a hot start with his Vegas Va Voom show on Wednesday night.
About 900 patrons showed up in the Augustus Room at Caesars Palace for the old Vegas-style variety show.
"It was a home run," said "The Sopranos" star, who still books entertainment for the Riviera.
Bruce Bloch's hilarious rabbit act helped set the tone of the festival.
Skippy Ala King, Bloch's trained white rabbit that scrambles up to an open mic, waited for a so-so crowd reaction and then brought down the house with the line, "People, there's a writer's strike. I have to write my own" you know what.
Bloch, who provides Skippy's raspy voice, told me he was given the killer line shortly before the show by Hugh Fink, a writer for Craig Ferguson's show.
Schirripa, who was seen around town this week with fellow "Soprano" James Gandolfini, continues to pick up film and TV work.
His new TV food show, "Steve Schirripa's Hungry," begins airing Dec. 6 on Rainbow Media's free, on-demand network, Lifeskool, and he's doing the voice of a basset hound in "Open Season II," an animated family film. The 2006 flick featured the voices of Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence and Debra Messing.
The late-night talk-show pilot he did for Fox Net "went away," he said.
The Scene And Heard
David Copperfield returned to the stage at the MGM Grand Thursday for the first time since his warehouse was raided by the FBI after a Seattle woman told authorities the magician raped her while she was at his home in the Bahamas last summer. ...
Pure Management Group opens its latest restaurant venture, Company American Bistro, this weekend. It is located adjacent to Pure's LAX nightclub at Luxor.