- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2006

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Stardust, the neon-wrapped casino with a mobbed-up past whose 1,065 rooms once set the standard for size on the Las Vegas Strip, witnessed its last roll of the dice Wednesday.

Wistful longtime employees and loyal gamblers gathered for a last farewell to the iconic 48-year-old institution, which is to be razed early next year to make way for Boyd Gaming Corp.’s planned $4 billion Echelon Place resort.

The Stardust opened July 2, 1958, as the world’s largest hotel and catered to middle America with $6-a-night rooms and low-minimum stakes gambling.

But as bigger, classier casinos sprung up around it in the late 1980s and ‘90s, its luster began to fade.

The resort became as famous for its familiar friendliness as its mob connections. In the 1995 movie “Casino,” Robert De Niro played a character inspired by the finely tailored Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, who ran the hotel-casino in the mid-1970s.

“He truly was Cadillac sharp all the time,” said Mickey Jones, a drummer and actor who appeared as a guest on Mr. Rosenthal’s television broadcast from the hotel. “When the mob ran this town, everything functioned like clockwork.”

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