February 12, 2006

A Fitting Tribute

It was standing room only at lounge giant Sonny King's Memorial held at the Palm Mortuary today.  There were many Las Vegas notables paying their last respects to their beloved friend. Frankie Scinta lead the memorial and several of Sonny's friends sang or just relayed fond memories during the afternoon. Among them were, (in no particular order) Rich Little, Robert Goulet, Pete Barbutti, Frankie Randall, Nelson Sardelli, the Checkmates, Peter Anthony and Derek David. A touching eulogy was given by his son Christopher Schiavone. Also on stage were Tommy Deering on piano, long time accompanist at the Bootlegger where Sonny performed on Friday and Saturday nights for years and Gary Olds on the drums.

The afternoon begun with a picture and film bio which reminded every one of Sonny's close friendship with Dean Martin. Early in their careers in New York City, Sonny and Dean shared an apartment.  Sonny was the one that introduced Martin to Jerry Lewis, and as they say, the rest is history. Other entertainers on screen were of course, the legendary Jimmy Durante who Sonny partnered with for 28 years and Frank Sinatra with the rest of the "Rat Pack", including scenes from the movie "Robin and the Seven Hoods" which Sonny also appeared in.

Other Las Vegas notables who attended the memorial were, Richard and Frances MacDonald, Bill Acosta, Jeanne Bavaro, Tony Sacca, Clair and Michael Zeto, Freddie Bell, Don Cherry, Babe Pier, Linda November and Artie Schroeck, Michaelina Bellamy, Grant Griffin, Jaki Baskow, Clint Holmes, Frankie Dee, Kelly Clinton, Bobby, VCO publisher Marleen Marino and Cory Sachs to name just a few.

In conclusion, a dozen or so entertainers came up to the podium, where they all donned Sonny's signature straw hat and sang "I Don't Want to go Home". Actually, the afternoon was very uplifting which is something unexpected at a memorial.

Like everyone else, we at VCO will miss Sonny. His heart was as big as the place he has gone to. Rest in Peace Sonny, he was much loved.




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