Robin Leach was a passionate, aggressive supporter of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. He was instrumental in the very first fundraising dinner at Spago at the Forum Shops at Caesars in 1992, which became the annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala.
He also donated the lucrative fees for his many voiceovers on TV commercials to the Center, an incalculable amount of money that likely ran into the millions.
It is fitting, then, that the street that runs past the Cleveland Clinic in Symphony Park in downtown Las Vegas is being renamed Robin Leach Way. The newly named roadway is the stretch of Clark Avenue that runs east-west in front of the Center’s entrance, continuing to the south end of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman will host a formal unveiling of Robin Leach Way at the Center at 4 p.m. March 15, the night before the annual Power of Love Gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Leach had served as the emcee and so-called Voice of God at the annual KMA Power of Love events, and also used his own celebrity to enlist the A-plus talent to the event. The event has raised tens of millions of dollars for research and treatment of brain diseases and disorders.
Discussion of naming a street surfaced soon among Leach’s family and friends soon after Leach’s death at age 76, due to complications from a stroke, on Aug. 24. The “where” and “when” were the only questions, with Goodman and Ruvo agreeing that the Cleveland Clinic medical fortress should be the place.
“It is truly an honor for the city to recognize the unique talent and remarkable warmth of Robin Leach by dedicating a street in his name adjacent to the Ruvo Center for Brain Health, to which he gave so much of himself over the years,” Goodman said in a text message today. “Of course, we wish that he were still with us instead.”
In a phone conversation, Ruvo said, “We can thank Mayor Goodman for fast-tracking this. Only in Nevada can something like this happen.”
Ruvo recalled Leach’s tenacity in supporting the Center, even informally around town.
“He was always wearing his Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic hat,” Ruvo said. “He had several. He had a watch, too. Every time he had a chance, he supported the Center.”
In December 2015, Ruvo arranged for a bench in the Keep Memory Alive Event Center to be named for Leach, who had also donated a new MRI machine to the Center. The piece of equipment was not cheap, surely the price of a luxury vehicle. Classically, when asked how much it cost, Leach grinned and said, “Don’t ask.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.