Motown roots get transplanted to Las Vegas

Sherry Gordy is the daughter of Berry Gordy, who founded Motown, so her baby-sitters included Richard Street of The Temptations and singer Bobby Taylor. Marvin Gaye was her uncle-in-law.

But Sherry Gordy didn’t use her family’s wealth and privilege as an excuse not to get a regular job. She has her father’s work ethic.

“I’ve been working since I was 15 years old. My very first job was selling tax shelter annuities,” says the bubbly Sherry Gordy, who has been living in Vegas for 18 years. “I love working. I love people. I’m a people person.”

When Gordy relocated to Las Vegas from California, it wasn’t to go into entertainment. She came to fill in for a branch manager for a company.

“I was like, ‘Oh, this feels like home. It’s so different from Hollywood.’ ”

A mortgage and real estate broker, she worked her way up to managing a company, setting up branches around the country.

She dabbled in entertainment. In 2000, she produced her first comedy show, “Tickle Me Tuesdays,” at the Blue Note jazz club.

“I went way over budget. I treated (comedians) really well. I sent limos to get them and put them up (in hotels). It was so much fun.”

The Blue Note closed. She kept her day job. But when the housing market crashed, she thought, “I don’t need to be here anymore. What am I going to do? I’m not in the entertainment business.

“So I had to reinvent myself.”

Three months ago, Gordy launched a Thursday show in a 700-seat Fiesta Rancho theater.

It’s a mix of headliner shows and open mics named “Sherry Gordy Presents Take The Stage: The Music of Motown and More.”

Star names already have drawn crowds to that Fiesta stage, including the Mary Jane Girls, LJ Reynolds featuring The Dramatics, and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes. Former Temptations sang a tribute to the late Richard Street, who lived here. Las Vegan Joe Jackson appeared for a tribute to his Jackson family legacy. And there was a tribute to Uncle Marvin.

Tonight, DJ Benzo from KCEP-FM, 88.1 and comedian Jay Reid will be at “Sherry Gordy Presents,” with headliner Paris Escovedo and his nine- to 11-piece band. There’s also a standing band, the Take the Stage All-Stars.

Gordy’s family is rooted here. Two sons raise babies in Las Vegas. Gordy’s mom, Jeana Jackson, lives here. Marvin Gaye’s baby sister, Jeanne, is a Las Vegan. Berry Gordy flies in occasionally, too.

Sherry Gordy is enjoying the entertainment business. She misses mortgages, too, though.

“I would love to get back into real estate, but it’s too slow for me,” Gordy says.

“That’s funny,” I say. “A lot of people in real estate probably wish they could get into entertainment. You’re in entertainment but you wish you could get back into mortgage.”

“I love mortgage,” she says and laughs. “It was such a great feeling, helping people with the biggest investment of their life. I mean, this is their home. To make their dream come true — to be a homeowner — is so fulfilling in their heart.

“And all the people that worked for me — I loved them so much.”

“Why don’t you set up a mortgage table at the Fiesta?” I ask.

“Oh no, that’s a headache, with all these new guidelines,” she says. “Oh my gosh.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at He blogs at

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