10 Las Vegas Celebrities We Lost in 2023

Posted on: December 13, 2023, 01:40h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2023, 10:46h.

The world of Las Vegas entertainment suffered major losses in 2023. Our list, presented in alphabetical order, consists of 10 celebrities with a stronger-than-average Las Vegas connection.

Read on to remember their lives and legacies.

Magician Dirk Arthur performs with a snow leopard. (Image: dirkarthurmagic.com)

1. Dirk Arthur

Arthur’s “Wild Magic” debuted in 1997 in “Jubilee” at Bally’s before subsequent incarnations leaped to the Silverton, Plaza, Tropicana, O’Sheas, and the Riviera a few months before that hotel closed in 2015.

By then called “Dirk Arthur’s Wild Illusions,” it was the official last exotic cat show ever staged on the Las Vegas Strip. Arthur died on October 13 at age 63.

2. Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte
Singer Harry Belafonte performs at Caesars Palace in 1967. (Image: Las Vegas News Bureau)

Singer Harry Belafonte headlined residencies at several casino resorts that, due to segregation before 1960, wouldn’t allow him to stay on the premises. (He had to stay at the Harrison House on the Historic Westside.)

Belafonte was a regular at the late-night jam sessions at the Moulin Rouge, Las Vegas’ first fully integrated casino hotel, which operated from May to October in 1955 before closing due to bankruptcy.

Belafonte also tied the knot in Vegas, marrying Julie Robinson at Caesars Palace in 1976. He died on April 23 at 96.

3. Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett performs on stage at the Sahara in 1957. (Image: EPA)

In claiming Bennett as its patron son, Las Vegas ranks a distant third after New York and San Francisco, if only because of — you know, that song.

The standard-keeper of classic cool performed on the Strip hundreds more times than he did anywhere else, beginning in 1952 at El Rancho Vegas, where he was double-billed with dancer Samia Gamal, up through his engagement at the Venetian Theater in September 2019.

Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, the masterful crooner and interpreter of American standards died on July 21 at age 96.

4. Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson dominates the 1977 World Series of Poker at Binion’s Horseshoe. (Image: Getty)

Considered the godfather of poker, Brunson won 10 World Series of Poker tournaments, including the Main Event in 1976 and 1977.

That’s second to only Phil Hellmuth’s 16 WSOP wins. Brunson and his wife, Louise, whom he married in 1962, settled in Las Vegas in the 1970s.

Here, Brunson became the world poker champion, earning millions while beating some of the best players in the world in cash games. He died May 14 at age 89.

Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett performs his final concert in Las Vegas on March 11, 2023. (Image: the-sun.com)

5. Jimmy Buffett

Buffett, the tremendously successful singer-songwriter whose mellow tunes celebrated drinking margaritas and eating cheeseburgers on tropical beaches, parlayed his best-selling hit into an empire of Margaritaville bars/restaurants.

The most famous opened at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in 2003, where it still stands today. Buffet died on September 1 at age 76.

6. Pat Cooper

Comedian Pat Cooper appears on “The Dean Martin Show in 1965. (Image: YouTube)

Cooper, a comic known for his angry delivery and brash personality, was the stars’ choice of Las Vegas opening act. After opening for Bobby Darrin at the Flamingo in 1963, he went on to open 56 shows for Frank Sinatra at the Sands.

Cooper, born Pasquale Caputo, retired in Las Vegas, where he died at age 93 on June 6.

7. Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie, Elvis Presley
Lisa Marie Presley with her famous dad in the 1970s. (Image: elv75.blogspot.com)

She’s had the least to do with Las Vegas of anyone on this list. However, as the only child of Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie was Las Vegas royalty.

Lisa Marie spent many weekends at the International Hotel and the Las Vegas Hilton, as it became known in 1971, in the company of her legendary father, who resided in the 30th-floor Imperial Suite.

She returned to Vegas on many occasions to honor her father’s legacy. She died on January 13 at age 54.

8. Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers performs in 2015 at the Westgate. (Image: Westgate)

Between “Three’s Company” and ThighMaster, Suzanne Somers earned her keep headlining Las Vegas production shows.

After she left the iconic ‘70s sitcom following a salary dispute, the multitalented singer and dancer launched a Las Vegas career with a two-year residency at the MGM Grand’s celebrity theater. She also headlined the Riviera and Las Vegas Hilton.

She died on October 15, a day before turning 77.

9. Tina Turner

Tina and Ike Turner
Tina and Ike Turner perform at the Las Vegas Hilton on Dec. 21, 1973. (Image: Las Vegas News Bureau)

The R&B icon, born Anna Mae Bullock, first headlined Las Vegas with her husband, Ike, at the International Hotel in August 1969.

The duo also performed at Caesars Palace in 1971 and at the Las Vegas Hilton two years later. When Turner finally found the courage to break out of the orbit of the man who discovered, yet also abused, her, she returned to Caesars Palace to launch a solo career in 1977.

In her 40s, at an age when most female singers are relegated to the oldies concert circuit, she finally became a superstar. Her hit, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” was the best-selling single of 1984. Turner died on May 24 at age 83. “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” was set to debut at the Smith Center in Vegas three weeks later.

10. Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch opening her show at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1972. (Image: Robert Scott Hopper)

Known for her film and TV roles, the ’60s sex symbol also headlined her own Las Vegas nightclub act.

Her one-hour revue was staged for about a month at the Las Vegas Hilton beginning Dec. 31, 1972. Its centerpiece was a puppet-festooned Sid and Marty Krofft production number featuring a medley based on Welch’s movie roles.

Welch, whose real name was Raquel Tejana, died on February 15 at 82. Krofft died November 25 at age 86.