Actor James Garner at the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship
I just read of the passing of actor James Garner.
He seemed like a really nice man. He certainly enjoyed a remarkably long and distinguished film and television career which spanned nearly six decades, including many memorable roles, perhaps none quite as endearing to those of us in the poker community as “Maverick.”
Writer’s Note: Late last night, Chad Brown passed away in New York City, the place of his birth. He died at the excruciatingly unjust age of 52. I was asked to write a tribute to Chad, which appears HERE at WSOP.com. Writing that narrative reminded me of an afternoon with him earlier this year. I had the opportunity to visit Chad here in Las Vegas. At the time, he was staying with Vanessa Rousso. Although the pair had already been divorced for a few years by then, they remained very close and were good friends until the very end of his life. Accompanying me on that day was Rich Korbin, the longtime marketing executive at PokerStars.com. This is the story of that special time and place.
One wouldn’t think a New Yorker born to Jewish immigrants from Poland would end up playing the role of a Mexican bandit, a lovable villian cast in one of the greatest movie westerns ever made.
But Eli Wallach always defied expectations. That’s why he was so special and bears remembering on this occasion of reflection.
Casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan in 1965, in front of his El Cortez Hotel and Casino
The name Jackie Gaughan may not be familiar to as many people as it should.
So, please allow me to take some time to tell you why this man was important, and so beloved, by so many, for so long.
Mr. Gaughan was one of the last surviving of Las Vegas’ early pioneers. He was cast in the same mold as his iconic contemporaries — including Benny Binion, Bill Harrah, and Sam Boyd — all legends who embodied the casinos they built along with the reputations they earned and established over decades of changes within Las Vegas and the gambling industry, earning universal respect and admiration.
I just learned Mr. Gaughan passed away last night. He was 93.
(1919 – 2014)
An extraordinary man.
A wonderful life.
A powerful message.
An unwavering commitment.
It’s 1:03 am PST.
I was just about to turn in for the night and go to bed when I saw the sad news that Pete Seeger had passed away. He was 94.
Wow, what a life.
Please do yourself a favor, where ever you are. No matter what your political beliefs. No matter whether or not you know this man’s name or not, or understood what songs he sang or what he stood for.
We owe him a moment of our time today, and I beg you to give it to him. Take a few minutes to learn something about him, or listen to one of his songs (Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Turn, Turn, Turn, We Shall Overcome, to name a few), or watch a video on YouTube and learn more about the things he believed in.
I can’t imagine a man who lived as full a life as Pete Seeger. I can’t envision a greater joy than giving and sharing his soul, as he did for nearly a century. I can’t fathom that on the very night after the evening that was to honor music, one of the pioneers of American music and spirit is no longer with us.
This land is your land, Pete Seeger. This land is my land, too.
Thanks to you and your music, this land was made for you and me. [See Footnote]