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Coronavirus claims Las Vegas icon ‘Uncle’ Phil Maloof

Updated April 5, 2020 - 11:41 am

Coronavirus has claimed “Uncle” Phil Maloof of the high-profile Maloof family of Las Vegas.

George Maloof, Phil Maloof’s nephew, confirmed his uncle’s passing Saturday in Las Vegas at age 93, with coronavirus the cause.

“He was a great man who loved his dogs and his collection of classic cars, art, and theater pipe organs,” George Maloof said in a text message. “He was a bachelor, he never married. He had been stricken with coronavirus and was diabetic and had been ill of late.”

Maloof recalled his uncle’s love of antique vehicles and Southwestern-themed art.

“He owned over 200 classic cars, and thousands of paintings,” Maloof said. “He also owned the original Roxy Theater pipe organ from New York, which was featured at the Fiesta in North Las Vegas.”

The Fiesta was the Maloof family’s original hotel in Las Vegas.

“Uncle” Phil was the younger brother of the late George Maloof Sr., the family patriarch. Phil Maloof’s bio on his official website refers to his Lebanese heritage, and the fact that his family immigrated to America in the early 1900s, originally settling in Las Vegas, N.M.

The family business blossomed with the largest Coors distributorship in the Southwest. They operated the Fiesta from 1994-2001, when they sold it to Station Casinos and opened the Palms. The Maloofs also owned the NBA’s Houston Rockets (from 1979-82), and the Sacramento Kings (from 1998-2013).

Brothers George, Phil and Gavin are minority investors in the Vegas Golden Knights.

“Uncle” Phil refers to some of the family business interests on his official website, which is otherwise filled with photos and videos of his art and car collections.

Phil Maloof’s official bio notes he is a man whose “eccentric life enlivens the ordinary and brings forth collections of treasures from the past to now become keepsakes for future generations to come. In his personal life he is a man of sentiment and of simple pleasures.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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