American singer and actor Eddie Fisher was massively famous in the 1950s. He sold millions of records and had his own TV show. Fisher was even married to Debbie Reynolds and then Elizabeth Taylor. His marriage to Taylor, as most of us know, created an international scandal – sometimes overshadowing his legacy as a performer.
The image above is from one of his greatest Vegas performances ever in 1958. Fisher was a singer at nightclubs before bursting onto the pop music scene. He delivered hit after hit between 1950 and 1956 until rock n’ roll suddenly became a phenomenon. Fisher’s pop music appeal subsequently began waning.
Mansfield wasn't just a 1950s sex symbol but an accomplished musician and stage actress too. Plus, she was known for her incredible drive and razor-sharp pursuit of fame. Unwavering, some might add. Hollywood has seen a long line of Marilyn Monroe look-alikes. Mansfield was among the more successful heirs to that unenviable and frankly unattainable legacy!
Her nude pictorial in Playboy took the industry by storm. She also had an excellent Broadway run in "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" What's more, this Vegas entertainer played the violin and the piano. She even appeared on a British TV show in 1957 where she recited a line or two from "Hamlet."
The Stardust Resort
Another iconic Las Vegas resort was the Stardust Resort and Casino that opened in the year 1958. The resort had the largest casino and swimming pool in the whole state of Nevada. But it was most famous for its large neon sign with “Stardust” written in what looked like an actual shower of stars.
You couldn’t miss the sign – all 188 ft of it towering in the distance for miles. Although it was originally an outer space-themed hotel, that concept quickly changed. Many flocked to the casino to see the topless showgirls. Rumor has it that it also attracted a fair amount of underground activity. The Stardust officially shut its doors in 2006 after having been in business for 48 years.
Mara Lane by the Pool
One of the most iconic photographs of British-Austrian actor Mara Lane is one of her in a red and white striped bikini by the pool at the Sands hotel. Shot by renowned photographer, Slim Aarons, the image is the very definition of Las Vegas celebrity glam during the 1950s.
This picture here is a rare behind-the-scenes picture of a picture. Aarons went (literally) to any lengths and heights for the perfect shot. Thank goodness for extending ladders. Lane’s star rose during the 1950s and early 1960s when she appeared in over 30 German and English language films. It’s odd that nobody seems to remember her now.
Fisher Strikes Back
Eddie Fisher’s marriage to Debbie Reynolds fell apart in 1958 when their close friend Mike Todd died in a plane crash. Todd was married to Elizabeth Taylor at the time. Fisher was there for Taylor as she grieved, and they eventually began an affair. The scandal sent ripples through Hollywood. It was all anyone in the film industry could talk about!
In 1959, Eddie Fisher left his wife and married Taylor in Las Vegas, just hours after his divorce. The couple actually got married in the Las Vegas synagogue, such was the urgency! Was Fisher being deliberately defiant? Perhaps it was his answer to all the wagging tongues. The divorce was devastating for Reynolds as she and Taylor had been best friends for years, or so she thought.