After actor Austin Butler won a Golden Globe on Tuesday night, what happened in Vegas was a celebration fit for a king.
The next morning, the Westgate, the casino hotel where Elvis Presley headlined from 1969 to 1976 – and where he slept, partied, and shot up TVs in a penthouse suite – erected a sign next to the famous bronze Elvis statue gracing its lobby, around which it slung a blue sash.
“The Legend Lives On!” it read. “Congratulations Austin Butler.”
Butler nabbed the Best Actor in a Drama Award for playing the lead role in Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 movie, “Elvis.” During his acceptance speech, the California-raised thespian still spoke with the thick Tupelo twang he picked up on set.
“My boy, my boy,” Butler said, thanking Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie and ex-wife Priscilla, who were in the audience. “Oh, man, all my words are leaving me. I am just so grateful right now.”
Addressing a question about his new speech affectation backstage after his win, Butler said: “I don’t think I sound like him still, but I guess I must because I hear it a lot. I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time, and I had three years where that was my only focus in life, so I’m sure there’s just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way.”
Viva Las Vegas
Elvis performed 636 concerts, two per night, at the Westgate, from when it opened as the International Hotel on July 31, 1969, through its 1971 metamorphosis into the Las Vegas Hilton, to his final show there on Dec. 12, 1976. The showroom stage still exists today.
Elvis earned $125,000 a week – back when tickets started at $15 – and set Vegas attendance records, including the most consecutive sellout performances (58).
During his Las Vegas residencies, Elvis lived in the 30th floor Imperial Suite, a 5,000 square-foot spread where he usually retired with the night’s VIP guests after his midnight performances. (Regulars included fellow singer Tom Jones and actors Jack Lord and Lee Majors.) Here, Elvis indulged his peculiarly dangerous habit of shooting defenseless objects – including TVs, chandeliers, and light switches.
The Imperial Suite was demolished in 1995 to create three VIP “sky villas.” In 2012, the hotel changed hands and became the Las Vegas Hotel, and then in 2014, the Westgate.
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