Part of Las Vegas’ fascinating history is that it’s always attracted those who seek novelty, adventure, or a new start. From our city’s inception actors, athletes, and musicians have flocked to Las Vegas, adopting it as their new home, and ultimately, their final resting place.
While there’s no shortage of attractions to visit in Las Vegas, visit a cemetery this October and commingle with our famous residents of the afterlife. You’ll also find that Las Vegas’ older cemeteries offer lush sights that are backed with important history.
We’ve compiled the most significant figures to find eternal rest in Las Vegas.
Palm Memorial Park
7600 S Eastern Ave. Las Vegas, Nevada
Born to Hungarian Jewish immigrants in Depression-era New York City, Tony Curtis went on to become a Hollywood icon. The actor’s storied career spanned over six decades. He starred in over 100 films and acted alongside Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and Kirk Douglas; most notably portraying Marilyn Monroe’s love interest in the 1959 hit “Some Like It Hot.” He was nominated for two Golden Globes, one Emmy, and one Oscar.
The actor moved to Las Vegas in 2010, but his Las Vegas love affair began decades prior. Curtis was an “honorary member” of the Rat Pack. He was a member of Elvis Presley’s glitterati when Presley launched his comeback at Las Vegas’ International Hotel in 1969. In 1978, he landed the role of Roth, a casino mogul, in “Vega$.”
Curtis died of cardiac arrest in his Henderson home in 2010. He was 85 and left behind six wives and five children, including actor Jamie Lee Curtis. Five months before his death, Curtis rewrote his will, intentionally disinheriting all of his children. He left his $40 million estate to his sixth wife, Jill Vandenberg, who was 45 years his junior. His memorial service was held at Palm Eastern Cemetery and attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kirk Kerkorian, Kirk Douglas, and Phyllis McGuire, among other celebrities.
Noriyuki “Pat” Morita
Best known for his role as Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid” film series, the Academy Award-nominated actor and comedian Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, spent the last decade of his life in Las Vegas.
Morita was born to Japanese immigrants in 1932 and raised in a Sacramento suburb. At the age of two, he developed tuberculosis and was bedridden for nine years. After a successful experimental operation, Morita was released from the hospital and sent to an internment camp in Arizona with his family during World War II.
After the war, he performed stand-up comedy before landing his big break portraying the owner of Arnold’s Drive-In in the 1970’s sitcom, “Happy Days” – beginning a 40+ year career in starring in film and television
Morita and his wife Evelyn Guerrero tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1994 and became residents shortly after. In the 1990s, he performed stand-up comedy locally. “(Las Vegas) always had a pulse and a vibrancy of its own, even way back when I started,” Morita told the Las Vegas Sun in 1999. He died of kidney failure in his Las Vegas home in 2005. He was 73. His remains were cremated at Palm Eastern Cemetery.
John Elroy Sanford, better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was a ground-breaking comedian best known for his portrayal of a cantankerous antique dealer in the 1970’s television series “Sanford and Son.”
The raspy-voiced comedian began his career in the black theater and cabaret circuit. Long before Richard Prior, Foxx gained success performing raunchy acts at underground nightclubs during the civil rights movement.
During the peak of his career, Foxx reportedly earned $4 million a year, but his fortune depleted due to his lavish lifestyle offset with divorce settlements between his four wives. In 1969, Foxx had a home built off-the-strip. He lived there for 20 years until it was seized by the IRS claiming he owed nearly $3 million in taxes, penalties, and interest.
Foxx died in 1992 after suffering a heart attack on the set of “The Royal Family”. He was 68 years old. Comedian Eddie Murphy paid for Foxx’s funeral and headstone.
Dolores Fuller was an American actress and songwriter between the 1930s-1950s. The so-called “Queen of the B Movies,” was the one-time girlfriend of the low-budget film director Ed Wood. She co-starred in many of his films, garnering herself a cult following. Fuller was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Tim Burton’s Oscar-Winning 1994 biographical film Ed Wood.
Following her breakup with Wood, she relocated to New York City and became a successful songwriter. Elvis Presley recorded over a dozen of her songs written for his movie musicals. In her later years, she helped book talent for Vegas casinos. Fuller died in 2011 at her Las Vegas home after a stroke. She was 88.
Robin Leach was an entertainment reporter and journalist. Born in London, he became best known as the host of “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” from 1984 to 1995. The series focused on profiling the extravagant lifestyles of well-known celebrities, athletes, and socialites. Leach famously ended each episode with his catchphrase “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”
Leach died in 2018 due to complications of a stroke he had on vacation in Cabo San Lucas the previous year. He was 76. The Las Vegas resident spent the last two decades of his life attending star-studded events around town, chronicling the dining scene, and contributing to local philanthropic causes. His Spanish Trails villa was sold in 2020 for $718,000; the home was previously owned by sports and tech entrepreneur Gavin Maloof.
Palm Downtown Cemetery
1325 N Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Siegfried Fischbacher of the legendary magician duo Siegfried & Roy passed away from pancreatic cancer in January 2021. He was 81. His death came merely eight months after that of his partner Roy Horn, who passed away from complications related to COVID-19.
Their longtime residency, Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, was one-time regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas. Fischbacher and Roy captivated audiences with elaborate costumes, light shows, and performances alongside big cats, elephants, and other exotic animals.
His former partner, Roy Horn, was cremated. His ashes were given to loved ones.
Richard “Pancho” Gonzales
Dubbed “The greatest player to never win Wimbledon,” American tennis legend Richard “Pancho” Gonzales is considered one of the best men’s tennis players of all time. Gonzales won 14 major singles titles including two U.S. National Singles Championships, 12 Professional Grand Slam Titles, and is considered the greatest tennis player of the 1950s.
In 1971, Gonzales relocated to Las Vegas, where he would spend the last two decades of his life. He served as the Tennis Director at Caesars Palace until he was fired in 1985 for refusing to give lessons to his boss’ wife. Sports Illustrator writer, S.L Price noted, “There was no more perfect match than Pancho and Vegas: both dark and disreputable, both hard and mean and impossible to ignore.”
Gonzales’ troubled personal life and fierce temper are part of his turbulent legacy. He died at Sunset Hospital in 1995 following a 10-month battle with stomach cancer. He was 67. He died in poverty and was estranged from his ex-wives and children. Andre Agassi paid for his funeral.
William “Wild Bill” Elliott
William “Wild Bill” Elliott was an American film actor notable for his portrayals of rugged heroes in American Western movies. The Missouri native appeared in over 170 films over his 30-year career where he became one of the highest-paid actors in the genre.
Elliott moved to a ranch in Las Vegas in 1957. While in semi-retirement, he hosted a local television program that featured many of his Western films. Elliott died at his ranch house in 1964 at the age of 61. The actor’s cremated ashes are located in the Eternity Mausoleum at Palm Downtown Cemetery.
Davis Memorial Park
6200 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
Charles “Sonny” Liston is one of the greatest boxers of all time. In 1962, Liston became the World Heavyweight Champion, he lost the title in 1964 to Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali). Liston fought Ali again the following year, Ali won with a first-round knockout. Their two fights were among the most anticipated, watched, and controversial fights in boxing history.
The heavyweight champion compiled a 50-4 record in the ring before dying mysteriously. Liston was found dead in his Las Vegas home by his wife in 1971.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Department concluded no signs of foul play and ruled that Liston died of a heroin overdose. Mark Herman, the then-County Coroner, disagreed with the ruling, stating that Liston did not have enough heroin in his system to cause the death. Liston’s headstone at Davis Memorial Park bears the dedication: “A Man.”
Known as “The Master of the Telecaster,” blues musician Albert Collins’ guitar style featured a unique combination of icy echos, sustained high notes, an ultra-percussive right-hand attack, an unheard-of minor key guitar tuning, and a lively stage presence.
One of the first blues stars to appeal to a rock ‘n’ roll audience, Collins’ is ranked in Rolling Stones’ “100 Greatest Guitarists” list. He produced 10 studio albums and six live albums. During his 30-year career, he collaborated with B.B. King, David Bowie, and George Thorogood. Millennials may remember Collins for his guest appearance in the 1987 movie “Adventures in Babysitting”.
The Grammy award-winning musician died at his Las Vegas home in 1994 after a three-month fight against cancer. He was 61.
Bunkers Eden Vale Memorial Park
1216 Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada
Liz Renay was a boisterous cult film actress, author, and showgirl. As a teenager, Renay ran away from her Mesa, Arizona home to Las Vegas where she found work as a showgirl. She became the one-time girlfriend of mobster Mickey Cohen in the late 1950s which led to a three-year prison term.
Renay’s best known for her starring role in John Waters’ 1977 fairy-tale cult classic “Desperate Living”, she also appeared in 18 sexploitation movies. She wrote five books, two of them were memoirs that made several best-seller lists: “My Face for the World to See” (1971) and “My First 2,000 Men” (1992). In the latter, she claimed flings with Joe DiMaggio, Regis Philbin, Glenn Ford, and Cary Grant. She died near her Las Vegas home in 2007 at 80 years old. She is buried at Bunkers Eden Vale Memorial Park.
The one-time highest-paid performer on the Las Vegas Strip, Danny Gans was billed as “The Man of Many Voices.” His headlining show at The Mirage was named Show of The Year between 1998 to 2008.
Prior to entering show business, Gans was a professional baseball player, playing for the Chicago White Sox. He sustained a career-ending injury and took up comedy. The impressionist performed a one-man show on Broadway in the early 1990s before moving to Las Vegas. He moved to Las Vegas and had residencies at the Stratosphere and the Rio before moving his show to the Mirage, where the Danny Gans Theater was built for him.
Gans died in 2009 due to a toxic reaction to hydromorphone – an opiate drug used to treat chronic pain. The Clark County Coroner’s office ruled his death as accidental. Originally buried in Palm Eastern Cemetery, his cremated remains were moved to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, in 2013.
Redd Foxx’s House
Located near Eastern and Hacienda, Redd Foxx’s former Las Vegas residence has become a local paranormal attraction.
After Foxx’s death, Elvis impersonator Jesse Garron purchased the house at a tax sale in 1991. Garron resided in the home for a short time before moving out. He claimed that the ghost of Foxx lingered inside the residence. Garren appeared in an episode of “Current Affairs” where they held a séance. The psychic concluded Foxx haunted the house and was angered by the changes Garron made to the house.
Today, the house is a real estate office. Located at 5480 South Eastern Avenue, the location is a popular destination during Las Vegas ghost tours.
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