Restaurateur Freddie Glusman experienced the old Vegas that would put most Hollywood versions to shame.
At age 76, he’s among the last of a dying breed of colorful characters who lived through an epic half-century.
Glusman, who is celebrating 25 years at his Piero’s Italian Cuisine on Convention Center Drive, sat down earlier this week for an interview that lasted two hours.
Among the highlights:
■ He shot down a reservation request by reputed mob hitman Tony “The Ant” Spilotro at Piero’s first location on Karen Avenue.
“I told him we were sold out,” said Glusman. Spilotro had run off business at Glusman’s disco, The Oz. “Who wants that in a restaurant? No one wanted to associate with him.”
■ On the day of a car-bomb assassination attempt on mobbed-up Frank Rosenthal 31 years ago today, “the phone rang at Piero’s on Karen when the bomb went off. Two guys who had been sitting there answered the phone. They were waiting at Piero’s to find out if they got him.”
Not long after the incident, former Stardust owner Allen Glick “left me his car. It had an automatic starter so you could start it a block away. For years people were starting their cars from a mile away.”
Read the rest of the interview at normclarke.com.
Actress Gina Gershon, in town to promote Lifetime’s “House of Versace,” with her cast as Donatella Versace, stopped by the KKLZ Morning Show (FM-96.3) on Thursday. Deejay Mike O’Brian asked her if she would ever consider “dating down” like Elizabeth Taylor did by marrying handyman Larry Fortensky. “Oddly enough,” said Gershon, “I once went out to dinner with Liz and Larry, and they couldn’t have been sweeter. We ate knockwurst!” …
Stephanie Wilson, founder of the Wicked Creative public relations firm, had to cancel out of a much-rescheduled lunch with some media friends today. But she had an awesome alibi: NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who recently retained Wicked Creative to represent him, asked Wilson to fly to Los Angeles today for his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Wilson handled publicity for Bradshaw during his highly entertaining one-man show at The Mirage in June. “He’s taking the show on the road and probably coming back here,” said Wilson. …
Jim Fassel, head coach of the New York Giants when they reached Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, started his 8-9 a.m. sports talk show on ESPN 1100 last Saturday. He guided the now-defunct Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League to league titles in 2009 and 2010 and fell short of a three-peat in the 2011 championship game. The league ended operations last year.
Dan Reynolds, the lead singer for Imagine Dragons, celebrating his wife’s birthday at Picasso (Bellagio) on Thursday. His wife is Aja, the lead singer for Nico Vega. … Oscar-winning director Francis Ford Coppolla, best known for his “The Godfather” films, dining at Piero’s Italian Cuisine on Tuesday. …
Baseball Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, picking up steaks, potatoes and asparagus at Whole Foods in Green Valley on Wednesday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“The popular show ‘Duck Dynasty’ is having a summer cruise. It sold out instantly. If you are a seagull, you may want to avoid that ship.’’ — Jimmy Kimmel
Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reach him at 702-383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more at normclarke.com. Follow @Norm_Clarke on Twitter. “Norm Clarke’s Vegas” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.