You didn’t ask a lot of questions back in the Las Vegas mob days.
But drummer Bobby Morriscouldn’t help himself during a gig with crooner Eddie Fisher in Mexico City in 1968.
They were playing at the El Forum nightclub when Fisher introduced Morris to one of their regulars.
“This man came in there every night. Eddie introduced him to me as Dr. Goldberg,” recalled Morris, who turns 89 in June.
“So for four weeks I’m calling him Dr. Goldberg. I tell them I’m getting married. Eddie says ‘I want to be your best man.’ Dr. Goldberg says ‘I want to be your best man’ and they each gave me a $1,000 bill. I had never seen a thousand dollar bill.”
They drive out to the ancient city of Teotihuacan for an outdoor wedding amid pyramids, a group of five.
“On the way back, Dr. Goldberg says ‘I want to invite you to my villa. Make a little party for you.’
“So we go to this villa and there are men with machine guns on the roof. Dr. Goldberg is cooking this wonderful Italian food and I said, ‘Dr. Goldberg why are there people on your roof with guns?’
“He said, ‘Well, Bobby, some people don’t like me. And besides my name isn’t Dr. Goldberg.’ I said what is it?’
“He said, ‘Sam Giancana.’ ” Morris knew he was a crime boss.
Morris remembered Giancana, who was in self-exile in Mexico after being imprisoned, didn’t want to be in the wedding picture.
“Eddie wanted him in. He reluctantly got in the picture but he didn’t look at the camera,” said Morris. In the photos, Giancana is avoiding the camera.
“He was hiding out in Mexico City. He had all kinds of aliases and different looks. He was wearing a hairpiece.”
Giancana was accompanied by his girlfriend, Judith Exner, who claimed to be a mistress of President John F. Kennedy. She met him in Las Vegas in 1960 through Frank Sinatra, according to reports.
Morris went on to be Elvis Presley’smusical director at The International, now Westgate.
In July, 1975, Giancana was assassinated at his home in Chicago while frying sausage and peppers.
ON THIS DAY:
March 7, 1987: Mike Tyson, who became the youngest heavyweight champion ever by winning the WBC title four months earlier, defeats James “Bonecrusher” Smith at the Las Vegas Hilton to add the WBA belt to his collection. He’ll hold the title until his shocking loss to Buster Douglasin 1990.
March 8, 1972: A bomb explodes in the cockpit of a TWA jetliner after it lands at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. Passengers had left the plane and no one is injured. An extortionist planted bombs on two planes – the other is defused in New York – but TWA would not say if it paid a ransom.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who married Mick Jagger’s ex Jerry Hall in London on Saturday, recently had his bachelor party at the Wynn. According to London’s Daily Mail, Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, and friends wore matching T-shirts bearing his initials, KRM, on the pocket and “The Boss” emblazoned on the back. Murdoch, 84, gave Hall, 59, a 20-carat marquise cut diamond engagement ring. It was her first engagement ring. She never received an engagement ring from Jagger, the father of their four children.
Leonardo Dicaprio, who won his first Academy Award last week (“The Revenant”), in the private dining room at Rivea (Delano) on Saturday with Tobey Maguire and Chuck Liddell. … Conor McGregor, with girlfriend Dee Devlin at Surrender (Encore), where he hosted his after-fight party following his loss to Nate Diazon Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden. Also at Surrender was Holly Holm, who lost her fight to Miesha Tate. … Funny fellows Steve Martin, Martin Short and Conan O’Brien, dining at Mr. Chow (Caesars Palace) on Saturday. … At Light (Mandalay Bay) on Saturday: Gerard Butler, Kevin Connolly, Maguire and Danny Abeckaser. They were celebrating Connolly’s 42nd birthday and Abeckser’s new film, “Standup Guy.” Also there: chef Gordon Ramsay, octagon announcer Bruce Buffer, UFC middleweight champ Luke Rockhold and Liddell. … Johnny Manziel and Von Miller, at Marquee Dayclub (Cosmopolitan) with friends Saturday.At Crush (MGM Grand) on Saturday: NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and Outlaw driver Brad Sweet; McGregor’s parents, Margaret and Tony McGregor, sports-talk host JT the Brick and a group of NFL players that included Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict… At Drai’s (Cromwell) on Saturday: NFL players Terrell Suggs, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Arthur Jones and Justin Bethel…Veteran actor Barry Corbin, celebrating his wedding at Brendan’s Pub on Saturday… Brandon Flowers of the Killers, dining with his children at Pasta Shop Ristorante in Henderson on Sunday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“Chris Christie flew all the way to Florida to stand behind Donald Trump supporting him. Throughout the speech, he looks genuinely miserable. He looks like he saw the bottom of a supposedly bottomless pasta bowl at Olive Garden.” – Jimmy Kimmel
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. On Twitter: @Norm_Clarke