Ex-Playmate gives dad credit for start


Burlesque sensation Claire Sinclair credits her father, but not by name, early in her upcoming “Pin Up” show at the Stratosphere.

“It’s really because of him that I had any dreams of being a pinup because our house is decorated with old Olivia paintings and Varga paintings and Bettie Page photos,” Sinclair said Monday during a break in the media previews.

“Olivia” is Olivia De Berardinis, the most famous living pinup artist. She’s been a regular artist in Playboy for a decade.

Sinclair, in her role as host and headliner, mentions in the opening of “Pin Up” that her introduction to the pinup world was a result of her father’s business association with Olivia.

Sinclair’s father is Tom Riccio, an infamous figure in the O.J. Simpson robbery case at Palace Station in 2007.

Sinclair, whose real name is Clarissa Riccio, politely declined to go into that side of the story, saying she would prefer the focus be on “Pin Up” and castmates.

Discussing her father’s contributions to her success was not off limits.

“My dad helped me so much throughout my career. Because of his association with celebrities and being a memorabilia dealer, I met Olivia.”

After an eight-hour modeling session with the artist, “she promised me that she’s going to paint me and she invites me to the Playboy Mansion that weekend and I meet Hugh Hefner and the rest is history.”

Sinclair was named Playboy Playmate of the Year in 2011 at age 19 and twice performed as a special guest star with the “Crazy Horse” revue, once in Paris and once with the Las Vegas troupe.

MEDIA NOTES

The dean of Las Vegas publicists, Norm Johnson, celebrated his 80th birthday in style Feb. 16 at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino. Mary Wilson, an original member of The Supremes, added frosting to the cake when she serenaded him before 100 friends and family members. Johnson started in PR in Los Angeles in 1960 with boxing icon Joe Louis, who later promoted the first West Coast pro fight of 20-year-old Cassius Clay. Johnson moved here 46 years ago, and he’s still going strong…

Morning host Tracy Taylor is out at KWNR 95.5. She was replaced this week by “The Bobby Bones Show,” a syndication out of Nashville, Tenn., after taking off in Austin, Texas.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Former Palms Girl Ruth Gray won the Mrs. Nevada title Sunday at the Suncoast. She also took home the community award.

SIGHTINGS

Ryan Seacrest, wading barefoot into shallow water at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (Mirage) on Tuesday to meet the Duchess, one of the bottlenose dolphins. ... Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP last month, at STK (Cosmopolitan) on Monday with friends. At another table: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, with friends.

THE PUNCH LINE

“A toilet flooded the lobby where the Oscars show was being held. The show won an Oscar for best portrayal of a Carnival cruise.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.