Forgotten by some to be one of the top names in Las Vegas’ gaming history, “Forgotten Man” Bill Bennett is well-known for bringing middle America to Las Vegas and reinventing the Strip in the early 1990s through investments in Circus Circus. The Jack Sheehan novel portraying his life and accomplishments debuts November 15.
Bennett’s story is told through in-depth interviews in the novel Forgotten Man: How Circus Circus’s Bill Bennett Brought Middle America to Las Vegas. Bennett began as an owner of a furniture store in Phoenix and became a millionaire after a string of expansions. When the business collapsed, Bennett looked to the casino industry for future business endeavors. He became an investor in the struggling Circus Circus in the mid 1970s with partner Bill Pennington. Pursuing the “middle America” clientele, the hotel-casino became a huge success, reinventing the Strip as a family-friendly destination and eventually leading to the more than half a dozen properties that today are a major part of MGM Resorts International.
The novel was written by Las Vegas local Sheehan, who has written 16 books including “Buried Lies,” “Skin City” and “Above Las Vegas.” He co-hosted and produced the TV series “True Vegas” and has also won the Lowell Thomas award for outstanding travel article as well as a Nevada Screenwriters Award.
Bennett’s daughter, Diana Bennett, helps to tell her father’s story throughout the novel.