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Marlene Dietrich performs during her opening night at the Sahara on Oct. 4, 1955.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Pistol-packing Marcia Rogers prepares to fan a shot from her Colt .45 as she practices at the Sahara Hotel in November 1961 for the annual Sahara-Colt's National Fast Draw Championship.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Justice of the Peace Herman Fisher begins the wedding ceremony of Vidal Sassoon and Beverly Adams at the Sahara on Feb. 16, 1967. From left, Sassoon, Adams and Cathy McElman, matron of honor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Actress Elizabeth Taylor and husband Michael Wilding relax at the Sahara on March 7, 1956.


The Sahara in 1971.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Sahara Hotel and Casino

The Sahara in 1974.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Sid Caesar, center, and Imogene Coca, right, rehearse for their debut at the Sahara on Sept. 15, 1977. At left is colleague Milton Frome.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Singer Tony Bennett toasts his audience on April 10, 1977, at the Sahara.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

The marquee at the Sahara on May 11, 2011, a week before it closed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Guests play table games during the final hours of operation at the Sahara hotel and casino on May 16.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

Disabled slot machines sit empty during the final day of operation at the Sahara on Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

Charles Krebs, 76, known as "Eddie the Hat" around the Sahara Hotel and Casino, sips a drink at a bar during its final day of operation, May 16, 2011.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

The Sahara hotel on its final day. The 59-year-old property, on the Las Vegas Strip, opened in 1952. It is where Elvis Presley stayed while filming "Viva Las Vegas" and where the Beatles stayed when they performed in Sin City.


Workers man the front desk during the final check-out at the Sahara.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press

The porte cochere and marquee at the Sahara Hotel & Casino on May 11. The Sahara's current owner, SBE Entertainment Group, has closed the 1,720-room resort, which first opened in 1952.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

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End of an era: The Sahara in Las Vegas closes after 59 years

After a 59-year run, the Moroccan-themed Sahara Hotel and Casino has closed its doors.

Once a hangout for Elvis Presley and the Beatles, the resort was stricken in recent years by the recession. In its heyday, the Sahara was a favorite haunt of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford), and Sinatra performed there. The resort even had a cameo in the original “Ocean’s Eleven” movie in 1960.

In 2007, Los Angeles nightclub impresario Sam Nazarian took over and vowed to reinvigorate the property. But in March, his company, SBE Entertainment, announced that continuing business was “no longer economically viable.”

The sun has set on a desert legend.


  1. May 17, 2011, 1:19 am

    I remember the Sahara from the 50's. One of only a few hotels on the strip. Fabulous place. Las Vegas was sweet then, and everything was either free or very inexpensive.

    By: Angela
  2. May 17, 2011, 4:50 pm

    what will replace it?

    By: makais

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