The Life and Times of a Casino Boss' Wife - 8 News NOW

The Life and Times of a Casino Boss' Wife

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Corinne Entratter Corinne Entratter
Jack and Corrine Entratter Jack and Corrine Entratter
Paul Joncich with Corrine Entratter Paul Joncich with Corrine Entratter

LAS VEGAS --  Before she was the wife of a powerful casino boss, she was a Hollywood actress and a Playboy cover girl. But one of Corinne Entratter's fondest memories is being a Copa Girl at the Sands in the 1960s. Copa girls made $175 a week, wore dazzling costumes, and opened for some of the biggest names in show business.

"When I walked out on that stage and you look out and you see Marilyn Monroe sitting there, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez and all these famous people and you're coming out in a show that Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis and Dean Martin are in and I know they're not here to see me, but this a really something," she said. 

High rollers would send elaborate gifts backstage, even marriage proposals. One wealthy playboy convinced almost the entire line of Copa Girls to leave with him and fly around the world, but Corinne and her friend stayed at the Sands.

"Jeanie Gardner and I would get long-stemmed roses just from admirers, but we wouldn't open it for the flowers, we'd shake the box first to see what kind of jewelry was in there."

Corinne didn't need the job, she was married to the boss. The day she wed Jack Entratter, it was front page news. Entratter was president of the Sands, and at the time, one of the most powerful men in Las Vegas.

Historians say Jack Entratter deserves much of the credit for turning Las Vegas into the entertainment capital of the world by bringing big name performers to Las Vegas. The Entratter's lived like king and queen in a luxurious suite at the Sands.

"He never went around that he didn't always have at least $6,000 in one pocket, and the other pocket he had about a thousand dollars. I said, 'Jack, why don't you keep your money in one pocket?' He said, 'Oh no I have to have two pockets, one to give away, and one for my own use,' Corinne said. "Many times if a cocktail waitress or a busboy, if they had trouble and they couldn't make their house payment or if they had a son or daughter in the hospital, or a mother, Jack always paid for everything."

His generosity was legendary. He didn't drink, smoke, or gamble. But Jack Entratter had a dark side. He was connected to the mob.

"I remember very distinctly, Jack saying to me, 'Don't use the telephone for anything important, you want to talk, go outside.' I mean I was used to security guards following us, even when we were on bicycles at the Sands, then one day they came into the apartment and said, 'We're sweeping the phones,' unscrewing it, just like the movies and I asked Jack what that was about. 'He said, well somebody put some bugs in there. They want to know what we're talking about.'"

Even though Corinne is one of the sharpest people you'll meet, at the time, she says she didn't put it all together. She remembers when she learned the sliding glass doors to their suite were bullet proof and she met famous mobster Jimmy "Blue Eyes" while on a business trip with her husband, but didn't know who he was.

"And I said to this man, 'Oh boy, you have the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen.' I mean gorgeous. So when Jack came down everybody was laughing and Jack said, 'What's so funny?'  And Jimmie said, 'Your wife said she thinks I have the prettiest blue eyes she's ever seen Jack.'"

She knew better than to ask too many questions. She just enjoyed the ride, socializing with a who's who of Hollywood and spending time at Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs estate.

"Oh, Frank always played his music, and I said, 'Frank how come we always listen to your music'? He turned to me and said, 'Is there anyone better'? I said, 'No Frank, you're quite right, keep playing.'"

Jack Entratter died at the age of 57 after falling off his bicycle. The day of the funeral, Corinne left Las Vegas, but more adventure followed. She remarried twice, was kidnapped, wrote a syndicated newspaper column and at the age of 54 married again, this time to famed movie director George Sidney. The two were together for 11 years until Sydney died in 2002.

Now 76 and a breast cancer survivor, Corinne is amazed at how much Las Vegas has grown and is proud to part of the city's rich history.

 

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