Dubbed “Mr. Las Vegas,” for his longevity in the entertainment business, Wayne Newton had performed more than 30,000 solo shows for over 40 years. He has attracted to Las Vegas thousands of tourists from out of state just to watch him perform such that the avenue leading to the front of McCarran Airport in Las Vegas has been called “Wayne Newton Boulevard” for more than 20 years.
Born as Carson Wayne Newton on 3 April 1942 in Norfolk, Virginia, Wayne Newton grew up in Roanoke where he learned to play the guitar and piano at the tender age of six. Then, his family moved to Newark, Ohio where he started singing in theaters, clubs and fairs with his older brother. Due to severe asthma induced by allergens in the area, his family was compelled to move yet again to Phoenix, Arizona in 1952 where he attended North High School. Wayne and his brother continued performing in road shows and local TV shows until their big break came in September 29, 1962 when they first performed on the Jackie Gleason Show. Over the next two years, Wayne would subsequently perform in that show twelve times. Many big time entertainers supported the budding career of Wayne Newton, like Jack Benny who even hired him to do the opening act for his show, and later graduating into doing the headline act at the Flamingo Hotel for another comedian.
In July of 1972, his song “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Chart selling more than 1 million copies and was awarded a gold disc. His other best known songs are his 1965 vocal version of “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” “Years,” which was released in 1980 and his signature song “Danke Schoen,” which means “Thank You” in German.
Wayne Newton is as patriotic as he is successful—choosing to share his talent with homesick and lonely U.S. servicemen stationed overseas. He has entertained American soldiers in war torn countries such as Vietnam, Lebanon and the Persian Gulf earning in the process the U.S. Defense Department’s highest civilian award for being the lone American entertainer to perform in these three countries. At the behest of President Ronald Reagan, Wayne Newton performed a 4th of July concert at the Washington Monument and was able to attract a crowd of 350,000. He also selflessly contributes his time and talent to raise funds for the benefit of worthy causes and serves on the board of countless philanthropic and charitable organizations. For his patriotism and charitable heart, he has received numerous prestigious awards from various government institutions, humanitarian and socio-civic organizations.