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Liberace film leaves comic Shore shaken

Comedian Sammy Shore not only opened for Liberace but filled in for an entire show the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated when the grief-stricken showman was hospitalized.

They were on the road that evening on Nov. 22, 1963.

“We were working the Holiday House in Pittsburgh,” Shore said, “and I was told Liberace was so upset he couldn’t go on that night and I had to do the show.”

Shore, who later worked as Elvis Presley’s opening act, said he did not learn until later that Liberace went to the hospital.

“The next night he went on,” Shore said, “and thanked me for going on and that he was upset about Kennedy.”

Shore, 86, watched HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” on Sunday and came away shaken.

“Michael Douglas was right on the button” with his uncanny portrayal of Liberace, Shore said. “It really bothered me. I had to walk away (from the TV) because it was getting to me. It was like Liberace was in the room.”

Liberace, one of the most successful Las Vegas headliners over the years, “was a magnificent human being,” Shore said. “He was one of the kind men I met in my life.”

Shore, who moved to Las Vegas four years ago, continues to land opening gigs. A dog lover, Shore and his wife are hosting — for the fourth year in a row — the Funny Bones comedy benefit for the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on June 9 at The Orleans.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

VH1’s Tuesday episode of “I’m Married to a …” will feature Las Vegas swinger David Cooper and his wife and girlfriend. The documentary series explores unusual couples in love. Cooper’s episode will delve into his relationship with his two stripper significant others. Cooper has been fighting Clark County’s denial of his bid to operate a high-end swingers club, Sextasy, in the Commercial Center. …

The Las Vegas stop on the “American Idol” summer tour has been canceled. Las Vegas was among nine dates canceled on the 40-city tour.

SIGHTINGS

Actor and musician Billy Bob Thornton, with girlfriend Connie Angland and daughter Bella, 8, at “O” (Bellagio) on Thursday. … Comedians Bob Newhart and Don Rickles, in what they said was a first in their careers, onstage together Friday during an appearance at the AARP Life@50 national convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center. … U.S. Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, among 482 participants in the World Series of Poker no-limit hold ’em eight-handed tournament at the Rio on Wednesday. Phelps and 195 others advanced to the second day of the event. … Animal Planet’s “Tanked,” a reality show about fish tanks, featured Las Vegas-based Johnnie Walker RV on Friday’s episode. A custom fish tank was built into an Econ trailer.

THE PUNCH LINE

“President Obama’s had a rough couple of weeks with the big Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal and the phone-tapping scandal. And now he has to replace all four ‘American Idol’ judges.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.

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