In Las Vegas, Elvis Presley became a legend. He’ll never be referred to as “Mr. Las Vegas,” as that title belongs to Wayne Newton.
Newton continues to enjoy performing in his beloved Vegas as one of the most well-liked artists over the past fifty years. But for a variety of reasons, he has had a difficult few years.
So how exactly did 81-year-old Wayne Newton start off as a celebrity? This is the tale of him!
Wayne Newton – ‘Mr. Las Vegas’
Teenagers have an unrealistic sense of what is achievable. You have aspirations for what you want to accomplish in the world, but receiving an education and graduating in your 20s are prerequisites.
But suppose someone informed you that you had already started your career as an artist in Vegas at the age of 16, performing shows six days a week. Although it seems like a dream job to me, Wayne Newton actually had it.
For more than 40 years, Newton has entertained “Sin City” audiences multiple times every night for many days in a row.
The nickname “Mr. Las Vegas” was given to the native Virginian, and it is unquestionably appropriate.
Newton doesn’t want to slow down at all at the age of 79. He still has a wonderful appearance nowadays.
So how did he initially land a gig in Las Vegas? And why has he remained here for so long? Wayne Newton, aka “Mr. Las Vegas,” is all you need to know.
Wayne Newton – early life
Having been born in Roanoke, Virginia, on April 3, 1942, Newton was reared by his mother Evelyn and father Patrick Newton, an auto mechanic.
Newton’s youth wasn’t always enjoyable because he frequently fell ill while living at the family farm. He frequently missed school due to his bronchial asthma.
He was meant to be a guy of show business from a very young age. At age 4, he had the opportunity to observe his destiny firsthand and learnt to play the piano, guitar, and steel guitar by ear.
Wayne Newton was taken by his parents to witness Hank Williams and Kitty Wells perform on the Grand Ole Opry in Roanoke.
He watched on as the two performed – and realized that was exactly was he was going to do.
“That’s what I want to do,” Newton told his mother. “What?” she asked. “That,” he answered, pointing to the stage.
As Newton mastered the instruments, he became more and more talented. Already at age 6, he and his older brother Jerry had their own morning radio show on WDBJ in Roanoke, and people were impressed.
They entertained audiences before movies in a number of neighborhood theaters, and in first grade, Newton and his brother even entertained President Truman at a USO presentation. They advanced to the US’s largest amateur event after winning a local talent competition two years later. But things didn’t turn out how we had hoped.
“There are two people I know of,” Wayne Newton said, “who flunked Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour auditions: Elvis Presley and me.”
Sure, it was a setback and a disappointment for Wayne and his older brother Jerry. But in fact, he had bigger issues to deal with.
Newton’s serious health struggles including asthma forced the family to leave Virginia.
“The minute winter would set in, I would get sick,” Wayne recalled in his autobiography Once Before I Go. “Maybe that’s when my parents started to pay more attention to my brother. They may have felt they should show my brother more notice since they spent so much time nursing me.”
They made a new home in Arizona, where he fully recovered and continued to pursue his career in show business. But even though he’d been given a great opportunity, Newton felt guilt towards his parents because of the move.
“Even though the hurt was never verbalized, I felt it. It was as if I were a burden. At night I would lie in bed and think how they were giving up everything they ever wanted because of me,” he wrote. “For my parents, it meant tearing up their roots and leaving everything they had known behind.”
First Vegas performance at 15
Wayne Newton and his brother Jerry got their first shows in Arizona at supermarkets as part of The Lew King Ranger Show. They went on to appear on Lew King Rangers Saturday night show on television and got more and more gigs.
Lew King became a very important figure in Wayne Newton’s rise to fame. But as things proceeded, Wayne and his brother soon became too big for only Arizona.
In his junior year of high school, Newton and his brother landed an employment at the Fremont Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. They were originally scheduled to perform for two weeks, but they stayed for a full year instead. He soon began performing six gigs every night for five years.
A place where dreams can come true is Las Vegas. But it can also be dangerous, especially for a young child. The fact that Wayne Newton was so young when he first visited there was perhaps for the best.
“No matter what you were doing in a casino, you had to be 21, so I needed a work permit at age 15,” he told Closer. “So people really took me in to raise me, and made sure I stayed out of trouble and didn’t go down the wrong path.”
At this time, there were plenty of competition in Las Vegas. “The Rat Pack” with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. all performed in Vegas, alongside greats like Elvis and Bobby Darin.
Why nicknamed “Mr. Las Vegas”?
Since Newton was so much younger than the other top talents of Vegas, he got the greatest mentors he could’ve ever gotten.
“What I learned from people that befriended me like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and on and on is that the one thing that will make you happy is your ability to adjust to life,” Wayne Newton said. “And you must be disciplined and treat every show like it’s your last one — because one day it will be!”
Wayne Newton had been hooked on Las Vegas ever since his first trip there. Even though some people would believe Frank Sinatra or Elvis is the king of Las Vegas, that isn’t actually the case. At the very least, they didn’t earn Wayne Newton the moniker “Mr. Las Vegas.”
In actuality, that is perhaps the best moniker for someone who has truly experienced the Las Vegas entertainment fantasy. Wayne Newton established himself as a Vegas fixture, performing nonstop for up to 36 weeks.
“[The nickname] came from a writer who came through Vegas to review a show. At the end of his review, he wrote: ‘Wayne Newton is truly Mr. Las Vegas’,” Newton recalled. “All of a sudden, I was doing shows in Chicago or Denver and they would say, ‘Mr. Las Vegas opens tonight.’ That one really stuck — and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
While live shows were great, Newton also released some great tunes.
Wayne Newton – solo career
Bobby Darin helped him launch his solo career in the early 1960s, getting his first Top 20 hit with “Danke Schoen” in 1963. Two year later, the song “Red Roses for a Blue Lady”hit the charts, and another big hit followed in 1972, “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.”
But if his album recordings didn’t put him among the greats, Newton’s show business skills at his Las Vegas shows did. At he continued to perform in “Sin City,” he also launched a small film career, appearing in the 1989 James Bond film License to Kill, starring alongside Timothy Dalton.
He had a few more cinematic appearances, but his true love was the theater.
Wayne Newton has received recognition for his work ethic and personality ever since he first began. The modest star consistently puts on a memorable performance for the crowd.
“I really don’t know any other way to work,” he said. “And so I think that the work ethic is something that, when I get asked by some of the younger talent coming on today about the work ethic.
“I explain to them that that really is, I think – if there’s anything that has helped me to sustain not only my career but my voice and my ability to perform, it’s the discipline that I learned in those years, doing that six shows a night, six nights a week.”
New show cancelled
Wayne Newton, who has given more than 30,000 live performances, revealed in 2019 that he would be opening a new show in Las Vegas to mark his 60th birthday. A celebration of Wayne Newton’s outstanding life and work, Wayne Newton: Up Close and Personal was held. The Covid-19 epidemic, though, caused problems.
His performance at Caesars Palace’s Cleopatra’s Barge was canceled in May 2021, according to a statement. Newton, though, was to continue working for Caesars Entertainment, albeit at a different location.
Wayne Newton has had a fantastic stage career and has also brought up a family. In 1968, he married Elaine Okamura; however, the pair separated in 1985.
Five years later, during one of his Las Vegas shows, he met Kathleen McCrone, who works as an attorney. The couple started dating, and in 1994, they tied knot at Newton’s ranch Casa De Shenandoah in Paradise, Nevada.
In 2002, Newton and McCrone welcomed daughter Ashley Newton. He also has a daughter from a previous marriage, Erin, born in 1976.
Wayne Newton – net worth
Newton has amassed a sizable fortune over time. He reportedly has a $50 million estimated net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Newton is still passionate about doing what he loves the most, even though he could spend the rest of his life leaning back and relaxing by the pool.
The most important thing is that he never considers the day when he won’t be performing.
“No, I really don’t. Only to the extent that I took the vacation – meaning I took a couple of years off,” he explained. “Cause I opened up my ranch to the public, and to get that done I had to really apply full time and interest to getting that done and it was fun.
“I’m still able to physically do what I want to do on stage and sound the way I want to sound and sing the way I want to sing and on and on and on,” he continued. “And to be able to walk out and see the happiness that those songs bring people, I think, is what keeps me waking up in the morning.”
True music legend Wayne Newton still has a stunning appearance. We sincerely hope he will keep hosting his presentations for a very long time.
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