Elaine Wynn joins gala salute to JFK

Elaine Wynn was attending college in Washington, D.C., the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

She returns Jan. 20 to the capital as co-chairwoman of the Lincoln Center’s salute to JFK on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration, a gala concert kickoff to a three-week celebration.

She was leaving a political science class at George Washington University the day of JFK’s assassination.

“The city remained in mourning for years. It was during this time that it was decided to name the national cultural center in his honor,” she said by e-mail Wednesday.

The event marks her first official duties on the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

She was appointed to the board by President Barack Obama last August.

The question had to come up: Who will she be attending the gala with on the big night?

Last year she went to the Kennedy Center Honors with Michael Jackson’s longtime choreographer, Kenny Ortega, her guest at the Wynn Las Vegas New Year’s Eve party.

Wynn’s group will include her cousin, James Cole, the new U.S. deputy attorney general (second in command to Eric Holder) and his wife, Susan. Also: Maria Shriver, a friend and colleague who has worked with Wynn on the national board of Afterschool Allstars.

Wynn said Ortega is “a longtime friend and colleague who has worked with us ever since the opening of Bellagio. He has choreographed the Bellagio Fountains and did all the staging for Bellagio, Wynn and Encore openings.”

He brought his family on New Year’s Eve “and joined me for the second year in a row. We have been having conversations about Broadway Kids Care, a group of young Broadway performers, and how to do more with them and the Kennedy Center. All ties in!”

Wynn called Ortega “really a doll, great heart and fabulous talent.”

The Kennedy Center evening will feature performers and presenters, including Julie Andrews, Harolyn Blackwell, Herbie Hancock, Yo-Yo Ma, The Manzari Brothers, Terrence McNally, Lorne Michaels and Paul Simon. Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols will host the celebration honoring the legacy of the 35th president of the United States.

The night will conclude with a performance of “The Dying Swan” by the American Ballet Theatre.

Wynn, a director of Wynn Resorts since 2002, is co-chairing with James Wolfensohn, who was president of the World Bank, a leading force in fighting global poverty.


No comment from the camp of Roy Horn after Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow told late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon the legendary illusionist “asked me to lift my skirt, and then he attempted to kiss me on the lips.” Horn’s public relations rep said he was “unavailable” for the second day in a row.


Denver Broncos quarterbacks Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, with a large group at N9NE Steakhouse.


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Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at

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