Remembering Allen Glick
REMEMBERING ALLEN GLICK
I just learned Allen Glick died. He was 79.
Glick is most (in)famous to the public for his role as the mob frontman in the film Casino. Though the names were fictionalized and the casino’s name was changed to the Tangiers, in reality, most of what was portrayed in the Martin Scorsese movie actually happened. During the late ’70s and early ’80s. Glick as the majority stakeholder in ARGENT CORPORATION (which was named using Glick’s initials) was the owner and operator of the infamous Stardust, a notoriously mobbed-up cesspool of graft, greed, skimming, corruption, and ultimately murder. At least 15 people were charged with various felonies, several well-connected wiseguys were murdered, and even Glick’s own casino manager (the scumbag Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal) barely escaped a car explosion. Glick himself was threatened by the head of the Kansas City mafia, who warned Glick to sell his shares in the casino immediately or else members of his family — one by one — would be killed until he complied with the ultimatum.
Watch this short news clip from around 1980, which shows the obvious tension between Glick and Rosenthal.
I never met Glick. However, I spent multiple occasions with Kevin Pollack, the actor who played Glick in the “Casino” movie. Pollack played in several WSOP events, and his recollections were fascinating when I had the chance to hear them. He said Scorsese tended to overshoot scenes (most of it was filmed at the now-demolished Riviera) and Glick actually had a much bigger role in the story. However, the movie was already running a bit long at 3 hours and much of Glick’s story (Pollack) ended up hitting the cutting room floor. The truth was Glick was a survivor and probably deserves his own film treatment someday. I hope that happens.
In the movie, Glick came across as a smarmy accountant and little more than a puppet with no personality. The truth was, Glick was a proud Vietnam veteran who was decorated in combat and later became largely a self-made man. He started his own company and bought several casino properties, at one time holding ownership in more licensed casinos in Nevada than anyone other than the Howard Hughes Corp. Given everything he was involved in, during arguably the darkest and most dangerous period of the Las Vegas Strip, it’s a miracle Glick wasn’t charged with any criminal activity. It’s even more of a miracle he wasn’t murdered.
I retrospect, Glick was either an absolute genius for somehow not getting mixed up in the Stardust’s criminal schemes or the dumbest man alive for not knowing what was going on right under his nose. He later owned a few casinos in Costa Rica and lived out the last 35 years of his life in San Diego.
Glick was certainly no saint. He may have even been involved in a mob hit to silence someone who was suing for a piece of his empire. Read about the brutal mob hit on Tamara Rand. But credit Glick for one thing — he was a survivor. Las Vegas has lost one of its last remaining links to the bad old days when one mob was replaced by another.