Johnny Football wins fans in visit to Las Vegas


Johnny Manziel brought his show-me-the-money swagger to Sin City over Memorial Day weekend and Las Vegas loved him back.

The Cleveland Browns’ new quarterback had front-row seats at UFC 173 next to UFC President Dana White. Club crowds, beauties in bikinis and V.I.P. hosts swarmed the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M.

He showered crowds with Dom Perignon champagne gushers at Surrender nightclub at Encore, where his disc jockey pal Diplo introduced him to loud cheers at about 1 a.m. There was even an it-had-to-happen bro connection with Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots Pro Bowl tight end and all-world party hound.

One of the city’s top club executives said Johnny Football’s visit was worth millions in publicity for Las Vegas.

“It was great for Vegas. Look at how much media surrounded him since he came to town. He’s been all over ESPN and social media for three days. He’s definitely famous, more famous than I thought,” said the exec, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

He added, “It was like when Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods came to town. It meant something. People love a showman. People love to follow that kind of guy. He’s Johnny Football — and he’s a nice guy.”

The executive, who has witnessed chutzpah in every form, was caught off guard when Manziel approached him and said, “I heard you’re the owner. I want to give you my number.”

Manziel took the exec’s cellphone and typed his phone number into the contact list.

The message: Johnny Football will be back.

Manziel has definitely got White in his corner.

White said he and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta had dinner with Manziel a year and a half ago at Cipriani restaurant.

It might have been the week Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, was in New York for the presentation. White’s not certain.

“He’s the greatest guy you could ever meet,” White said. “I’m telling you I’m rooting for this guy so much. He’s such a good guy. I think he’s going to do big things. I hope he can pull it off.”

TONY CURTIS PAINTING

A donated Tony Curtis acrylic painting will be unveiled at Palm Eastern Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave., on June 3 at 10 a.m.

Family and friends will be on hand for the artwork unveiling on what would have been the film legend’s 89th birthday.

Curtis, who was laid to rest on the mortuary grounds in October 2010, painted “Crescent Bouquet” in 1993.

“We want to share Tony’s painting with others. Hopefully the peace depicted in ‘Crescent Bouquet’ can help other families through the trying times brought on by a loved one’s passing,” said his widow, Jill Curtis-Weber.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ‘KID’

It was like the best of times: Marty Allen and Steve Rossi, back together and cracking jokes on Rossi’s 82nd birthday Monday. One of the highlights, Rich Little said, was hearing Allen, 92, call Rossi “kid.” Allen and Rossi took the comedy world by storm in the 1960s, boosted by three appearances with The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Show business types at Rossi’s bash in The Lakes included Lance Burton, Pia Zadora, Nelson Sardelli, Frankie Scinta, Chris Phillips, Peter Pavone, Mark O’Toole and cast members from “Million Dollar Quartet.”

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, told Brian Shapiro of “The Vegas Take” on Fox Sports Radio 670 AM on Monday that the Mayweather camp has not decided if they will take legal action against rapper T.I. after a confrontation that led to a chair-tossing melee early Sunday at Fatburger on the Strip. ...

UNLV golf great Chris Riley ranks Shadow Creek Golf Course third behind Augusta and Cypress. Riley, who is being inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, offered the rankings during an interview Tuesday with the “Gridlock” trio of Mitch Moss, Seat Williams and Ed Graney on ESPN 1100 AM and 98.9 FM.

SIGHTINGS

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson, dining at Social House at Crystals at CityCenter on Friday. ... Luxor headliner Criss Angel, tipping a cocktail waitress $100 at Saturday’s V.I.P. party for new magician Reynold Alexander, who is performing at the Clarion Hotel.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The organizing committee for the 2016 Olympics in Rio just announced that 38 percent of the venues are completed. When asked if they’d be done in time for the Summer Games, Rio said, “Wait — SUMMER games?” — Jimmy Fallon

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, 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.