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Navy honor guard will salute Curtis

Plans have been made to accommodate the overflow crowd that’s expected today for the funeral of film legend Tony Curtis at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave.

TV monitors will be in three overflow chapels. The main chapel will be mainly reserved for family and friends, according to Preston Ahearn, Curtis’ business manager.

“All of his family will be there,” Ahearn said.

Also attending will be a Navy honor guard to pay tribute to a famous son. Curtis joined the Navy at age 17 after forging his mother’s name. He dreamed of serving on a submarine after seeing his film idol Cary Grant star as a submariner in “Destination Tokyo.”

Curtis, almost 19, was on the sub tender USS Proteus in Tokyo Bay when Japan formally surrendered during ceremonies on the USS Missouri. He later was allowed to take a short run on the submarine USS Dragonet, fulfilling his dream.

Curtis’ wife of 12 years, Jill Vandenberg, will deliver the eulogy. The service will include a 15-minute montage of film clips. “She gave him the best years of his life,” said Curtis’ close friend, Luxor executive Gene Kilroy. “Everybody should be so lucky to have a wife like Jill.”

An invitation-only reception to celebrate Curtis’ life will follow at Luxor.

KSNV-TV, Channel 3, will be live-streaming the funeral service on its website, www.mynews3.com.

REMEMBERING TONY

Among the many e-mails filled with remembrances of Curtis was this classic from Coco Giancana, granddaughter of Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana:

It was 1988 and she was with her family and comedy legend Milton Berle at the Riviera, having dinner, when Curtis walked in with a group that was being seated at the next table.

Curtis recognized Giancana’s uncle, Lou Paciocco, and Berle and greeted them. When Curtis left their table, Berle loudly and profanely asked who the greeter was.

“Milton was so out of it he didn’t recognize Tony,” said Giancana, who grew up running errands in New York City for Frank Sinatra’s entourage, including Jilly Rizzo.

Ever the prankster, Curtis decided to pull one on Uncle Milty. After disappearing for a few minutes, Curtis returned to Giancana’s table dressed in a white chef’s outfit, including a toque, “just so he could play with Milton,” Giancana said.

Torment is more like it.

The “chef” sat down next to the Cantankerous Berle and began peppering him with questions.

Is everything OK? Want a special dessert? Need more wine?

Finally Berle blew up and ordered the overbearing “chef” back to the kitchen, but, according to Giancana, in “loud and obnoxious” language we can’t share in a family newspaper.

“That was Tony,” Giancana added. “So boyish, even into his 80s.”

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Jermaine Jackson’s concert at Planet Hollywood Resort took many bizarre twists on Saturday. After a one-hour delay, with fans chanting “Start the show,” Jackson appeared to be reading the lyrics of many of the songs from a teleprompter. The delay reportedly had to do with the last-minute scramble to fill seats after well under 1,000 seats were sold for the 7,000-seat venue. …

Marley Taylor of Zowie Bowie, posted this tweet on her Twitter site Saturday: “After a 10 year run, I have decided to resign from Zowie Bowie. Thanks to all of the fans that have given me so much love.” Her last show with Chris Phillips was Friday at Red Rock Resort.

SIGHTINGS

Film star Jamie Lee Curtis, spotted at Luxor on Sunday night. … Comedienne Joan Rivers, having lunch with friends at the Mount Charleston Lodge on Saturday afternoon. … Penn Jillette and Kevin Pollak, dining at Buzio’s (Rio) before Jillette’s show and Pollak’s weekend appearance at The Palms. … Twins Kristina and Karissa Shannon of “The Girls Next Door,” celebrating their 21st birthday Saturday at Vanity (Hard Rock Hotel).

THE PUNCH LINE

“I am tasting my favorite new perfume — success!” — Press agent Sidney Falco, played by Curtis, in “The Sweet Smell of Success.” (1957)

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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