Las Vegas History: Top 10 Shocking Celebrity Moments in Vegas
Vegas always has been a playground for the rich and famous, and even though they usually have a great time while they're here, celebrities also seem to be good at finding trouble in Sin City. Whether it's their own crazy behavior or just bad luck, celebrities have made some shocking headlines in Vegas and we've picked 10 of the biggest.
12. 'Fan Man' crashes boxing match: A strange boxing moment came Nov. 6, 1993, during the Evander Holyfield match with Riddick Bowe. The most memorable part of the Caesars Palace bout occurred when James "Fan Man" Miller swooped into the ring via motorized paraglider during the seventh round. Miller said he was protesting what he saw as violence in spectator sports. The parachute he used was motorized, powered by a giant fan. The cords of his chute tangled in the overhead lights as he came down into the ring and one of his legs got caught in the top rope of the ring. Fans dragged him to the ground and beat him. He was rushed to a nearby hospital as spectators cut his parachute into pieces for souvenirs. After his release from the hospital, Miller was taken to the Clark County Detention Center, where he was charged with dangerous flying.
13. Dana Plato gets arrested: The late child star Dana Plato, best known for her role on the TV show "Diff'rent Strokes," ran into some very public legal problems more than once in Las Vegas. Her problems began in 1991, when she was arrested for robbing a Las Vegas video store and was placed on five years' probation. In 1992 she was given another five years' probation for forging prescriptions for Valium in Las Vegas.
14. Frank Sinatra crashes his golf cart: Frank Sinatra ruled Vegas during the '60s and probably wasn't used to hearing too many people turn him down for anything. He lost his cool one day in 1967 when he had a falling out with the Sands management after having his credit cut off in the casino. The eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes had just purchased the Sands. He and Sinatra had a history of enmity dating to when Sinatra starred in several movies for Hughes' RKO Pictures, and Hughes was determined to put the singer in his place. After learning that his credit line at the casino had been suspended, an angry and drunk Sinatra drove a golf cart through a plate-glass window at the Sands. Sinatra reportedly threw chips in the face of a casino employee and defied hotel security officers who tried to quiet him. He staggered into the Garden Room, the Sands' 24-hour restaurant, where he found casino manager Carl Cohen and overturned his table. It wasn't long after the incident that Sinatra moved his show to Caesars Palace .
15. Linda Ronstadt booted off stage at the Aladdin: Singer Linda Ronstadt never has been particularly controversial, but comments she made on stage at the Aladdin Hotel (now Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino) didn't sit well with the management, and she was asked to leave the property. During her performance on July 17, 2004, Ronstadt dedicated a song to "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker Michael Moore and encouraged the audience of 4,500 people to see the film, saying Moore was "spreading the truth" about President George W. Bush. Ronstadt's comments drew boos, and some of the 4,500 people in attendance stormed out of the theater. People also tore down concert posters and tossed cocktails. Aladdin President Bill Timmins ordered security guards to escort Ronstadt off Aladdin property after the singer's show, not even allowing her back into her luxury suite. The hotel president also sent word that Ronstadt was no longer welcome at the hotel for future performances.
16. Carole Lombard killed in plane crash: The crash of the plane carrying actress Carole Lombard in 1942 was one of the most shocking accidents of that era. Lombard was heading back to Los Angeles after a trip to sell war bonds when the plane crashed into a mountain near Goodsprings, killing everyone on board. The flight had been scheduled to stop and refuel in Boulder City that evening, but because it was running behind schedule and the Boulder City location was totally black at night, the two pilots decided to land instead at the Las Vegas Army Airfield, now Nellis Air Force Base. The plane refueled, then departed for California. The pilots, however, failed to change the departure and altitude settings that had been set when the plane was expected to leave from Boulder City, and the plane slammed into the mountain. Lombard's husband, actor Clark Gable, flew to Las Vegas to await news of the crash, and during the rescue efforts, he remained at the base of the mountain.
17. Evel Knievel crashes at Caesars Palace: On New Year's Day, 1968, daredevil Evel Knievel attempted to jump the famous fountains in front of Caesars Palace on his motorcycle. Knievel jumped 151 feet across the fountains, but after clearing them, the landing turned to disaster. As horrified spectators looked on, Knievel somersaulted over and over again, suffering a shattered pelvis, fractured hip and smashed right femur. Surgeons had to rebuild his leg with a 2-foot-long, 3-inch-wide strip of steel, and his injuries put him in a coma for 30 days.
18. Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield: Boxer Mike Tyson is not known as one of the sports world's nicest guys, but on June 28, 1997, he hit a new low when he was disqualified after the third round of his scheduled 12-round WBA heavyweight championship fight for biting reigning champ Evander Holyfield twice on the ear. The bizarre finish to the highly anticipated rematch stunned the crowd of 16,331 at the MGM Grand , not to mention the millions watching around the world on television.
19. Roy Horn attacked by a tiger: In Vegas' most terrifying stage moment, Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy was attacked by one of his white tigers Oct. 3, 2003, during a Friday-night performance on the Strip. The tiger lunged at Horn's neck about halfway through the show and dragged him off stage, leaving the audience and fans worldwide stunned and concerned for the magician, who was critically injured.
20. Anything Howard Hughes did: Howard Hughes was one of Vegas' most eccentric residents, and just about everything he did was shocking to the public. Hughes came to Vegas shortly before New Year's Eve 1966 and rented the entire top floor of high-roller suites and the floor below it at the Desert Inn for what was supposed to be a 10-day stay. Checkout time came and went, and Hughes didn't move. That didn't please the hotel management since the hotel had promised the suites to other customers. Rather than move, Hughes decided just to purchase the hotel for himself and make it his home. Unfortunately for Hughes, his suite overlooked the Silver Slipper casino across the street, which had a large, well-lit rotating sign that cast shadows and light on Hughes' room. The sign annoyed Hughes so much that he purchased the Silver Slipper and had the sign fixed in place so it wouldn't disturb him. The purchase was one of many including the Sands, Castaways, Frontier and Landmark.
In another strange move, Hughes bought the local CBS affiliate, KLAS-TV, from former Las Vegas Sun Publisher Hank Greenspun for $3.6 million because, as a night owl, he wanted to control which movies it ran in the middle of the night. He then set up his own schedule of three movies played back to back each night. Hughes often hesitated before making his movie selections so that the TV station couldn't even put out a reliable advance schedule.
Hughes' eccentricities were not confined to business. During his four years in Vegas, Hughes' penthouse at the Desert Inn was never cleaned, and Hughes kept his bodily waste in sealed jars in a closet. Even Hughes departure from Las Vegas was unusual. On Nov. 25, 1970, Hughes was carried out of the hotel on a gurney and whisked away on a plane to the Bahamas. It would be a week before the public realized that Vegas' most eccentric celebrity had left.
Things you can do at 2 a.m. Only in Vegas (21 - 30)