Biography

Aptly nicknamed "Mr. Vegas" for his constant presence in Glitter Gulch, master showman Wayne Newton swept audiences off their feet for many a decade with a slick crooning style modeled upon such influences as Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin (one of Newton's personal mentors). Newton distinguished himself, however -- at least in the early years -- via his unusually high vocal register and his choice of material; he took such numbers as "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" and the seminal "Danke Schoen" and made them synonymous with himself. In his prime, Newton reportedly commandeered up to a million dollars per month for his live shows (to say nothing of his recordings), and bought up a healthy amount of property in Las Vegas, including the Aladdin Casino. Cinematically, Newton debuted on an absurd note, with the lead role in the critically reviled Gerd Oswald musical 80 Steps to Jonah (1969) -- playing a convict on the lam who flees from the law and ends up at a camp for blind children. That picture bombed, effectively convincing Newton to place a greater emphasis on singing than acting, but by the early '90s, he began cropping up in Hollywood films once again, this time with more respectable cameo roles in such films as The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990), Vegas Vacation (1997), and Ocean's Eleven (2001). In the fall of 2007, the ABC network tapped Newton to perform as one of the celebrity dancers on the fifth season of its competitive reality series Dancing with the Stars, opposite dancer Cheryl Burke. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi