East valley man steps away from performing career pioneered by Wayne Newton to care for ailing son

Until January, east valley resident Glenn Smith had been performing on stage all of his adult life. That’s when his son took ill, and he stopped performing to take care of him.

“I’ve got a severely handicapped boy, and he took a turn for the worse,” Smith said. “He’s had pneumonia and needs to be taken care of pretty much 24/7, but that’s my boy. That’s what you do when you’re a father.”

His first son, Christopher, was born with Down syndrome and two holes in his heart.

“The doctors told us not to keep him, to institutionalize him because he wouldn’t live past 3 years,” Smith said. “Well, we couldn’t do that, and he’s 45 now.”

Smith came to town at age 18, playing with a rock band. For six years, that band performed at the Fremont Hotel. It performed on a rotating stage that would turn between sets so the other act, two brothers, was always set up also. Eventually, one of those brothers, a guy named Wayne Newton, made a name for himself and got Smith and his band a long-term gig at the Flamingo.

Smith eventually segued from rock to become a classic Las Vegas entertainer, working the lounges and the big stages.

Because of Christopher, Smith became involved with Opportunity Village, founding the Concert of Love benefit, an annual event that ran for 29 years. His connections to the Strip and its performers allowed him to draw big names to the shows. He watched the organization grow from a small building to the sprawling campus it occupies today.

“We raised millions of dollars over the years,” Smith said. “With that money, Opportunity Village has been able to help so many people to help themselves.”

Emily, Smith’s second wife, met him when they were working together at a New Year’s Eve concert in 1996. At the time, she was playing bass, but she is currently the executive director of the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation.

“The bass was a long time ago,” Emily said. “I’ve always known Glenn as an entertainer with people announcing him onto a stage, but for the last six months, he’s been around the house with the kids.”

The performer, who is used to working cruise ships and performing all over the world, spends a lot of his time sitting around drinking tea and hanging out with his eldest son and the two children he had with Emily. His other son has married and has a career of his own, although it’s likely all four will be around on Father’s Day.

“At home, he’s just down to Earth. He likes to sit down with his kids,” Emily said. “He’s into whatever they’re into, and he wants to know what they’re doing and how they’re doing it and how they feel. He’s a really good dad.”

Christopher is not out of the woods yet, but his father is hopeful and said he’ll do what it takes to help him get better. For the time being, the stage will have to wait.

“It’s been an interesting time for Glenn,” Emily said. “He’s used to standing ovations and applause, but there’s no standing ovations for making lunch and driving the kids to school. It’s a big change, but he never complains.”

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like