weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Rene de Haven went from farm boy to Las Vegas dancer

Joseph Wellington McIntosh, better known in the dance world as Rene de Haven, was born on May 8, 1922, on his father’s 100-acre farm just outside Tulsa, Okla.

They were Creek Indians, one of the six civilized tribes. His great-grandmother actually walked the “Trail of Tears” from Alabama to Tulsa.

He had a comfortable childhood, riding his father’s horses. He and his high school sweetheart had a son, Richard Hamilton, who was the world karate champion from 1996 to 1998, is a jet pilot and is gorgeous.

In 1942, Joe McIntosh joined the Navy in San Diego. When he left the Navy, he went to Hollywood. He had become well-known for Indian-style dancing. He joined the Lester Horton Dancers in Hollywood, then hooked up with beautiful blond dancer Sonny Knight, who was a friend of Bugsy Siegel.

Bugsy paid him to create a dance act for Sonny. Now Rene de Haven full time, he made it a couple act. The duo were booked all over Mexico and then South America in big, glamorous nightclubs, all the rage then. They were a star act.

So Rene was an international dance star before he came back to Hollywood, joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1951 and danced in many movies. He did the solo Indian dance in “Mohawk,” then did the same dance in “Foxfire,” starring Jeff Chandler.

The then-unknown Bob Fosse hired him for a big Bing Crosby film, “Give a Girl a Break,” with Debbie Reynolds. He also became known for choreography in Hollywood and then especially in Las Vegas.

Rene de Haven is now in hospice care at Golden Villa Care Home. Ministers Diane Thorne and Howie Maurer see him daily. His son Rick is there daily. The phone rings off the wall.

Everybody who knows Rene loves him, including me. He calls me “Lady Bunch.” He calls our friend Clair Fitzpatrick “Clair de Lune.” Joni Sailon is “Little Feathers.” And he never says goodbye. He says “Tri-La-La.”

Sal Angelica, who has danced in every great show on the Strip as well as Juliet Prowse’s act, says, “Rene helped so many people, singers and dancers, to find their place in our wonderful business. He mixed old and new and was still inventive.”

The legendary Fluff LeCoque of “Jubilee!” said of Rene, “Great guy, great dancer.”

Rene told me his doctor said he would just get weaker and weaker, then drift away. He told his son Rick, who told me, that he didn’t mind going, he’d had a wonderful life that couldn’t have been better. And he’d always been curious about the other side.

Tri-La-La, dear Rene.

Betty Bunch is a former dancer. Today, she works with the national Elderhostel Association. Contact her at bettybunch100@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Susan G. Komen organization announces 30 grants

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, has awarded 30 new grants to researchers at 18 leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The $14 million in grants support the organization’s mission to end breast cancer through funding two key focus areas: research to better detect and treat stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer and research to eliminate disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

Mob Month is back at the Clark County Library

For the fifth year the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is making an offer some people find they can’t refuse. Mob Month is coming back to the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, with events Tuesday nights in January.

7 ways autocomplete can get smarter

Autocomplete is one of the best (or depending on how hastily you push ‘send’ – worst) things in the world. We rely on it so much that Google plans to let us autocomplete whole emails. Here are seven ways predictive input can improve. 1. Recognizing names from previous emails Jakub Kokoszka has a tough name to […]

Movie posters might soon be based on your clicks

You may have thought you left Blockbuster behind, but the basic way we browse movies hasn’t changed all that much. We peruse poster after poster, kind of like walking the aisles of a ‘90s-era video store. That one poster image, meant to appeal to as many people as possible, is often all we see before […]

What I’ll be covering at NAB 2018

The National Association of Broadcasters show kicks off this weekend in Las Vegas.  The show focuses on new and emerging technologies and trends in relation to the media and entertainment industries. As it’s not open to the public, I’ll be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday to share some of […]