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Biography profiles Caesars Palace developer Jay Sarno

Reported by: Fatima Rahmatullah
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Updated: 3/09/2014 11:57 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — Before the mega-resorts shaped Las Vegas, Caesars Palace was the Strip’s first themed resort.

Caesars Palace was the brainchild of Jay Sarno. His life story is the subject of a new book: “Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas.”

“It was a wonderful exciting, messy life, not without problems,” says his daughter, September Sarno. “Reading the book was difficult for me because I learned a lot of the backstory through reading the book.”

Sarno built Caesars Palace, Circus Circus, and dreamed of another mega-resort -- The Grandissimo. But former Las Vegas Mayor and Sarno's attorney, Oscar Goodman, says his dream fell short.

“He had the genius, he had the vision and he had the talent to be able to create Caesars Palace and Circus Circus,” Goodman said. “The man was just a brilliant man who lived life to the fullest.”

Author David Schwartz says Sarno created the mold for modern Las Vegas.

“Before Caesars, you had nice properties, (but) they just weren't really sizzling properties,” he said. “They didn't have that glamour that Caesars had. Caesars really brought the glamour and the fantasy and the idea that you could be whoever you wanted to be when you're in Las Vegas.”


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