Jack Wishna, a Las Vegas “dealmaker,” was found dead in his home on Tuesday. Wishna was pivotal to the changing landscape of Las Vegas, bringing many big names to Sin City.
Wishna was found dead in his Henderson, Nev., home in what police ruled a suicide, reports The Associated Press. Wishna was found dead in his garage of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Wishna was a “dealmaker,” brokering partnerships with some of the biggest celebrities and bringing them to Las Vegas.
Wishna brought music to Las Vegas and brokered the first resident headliner contract. One of Wishna's biggest deals was between Wayne Newton and Stardust Casino in 1999. The deal was worth $250 million over 10 years, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal. The resident headliner has become a staple of Las Vegas, with acts such as Elton John, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Shania Twain being tied exclusively to certain casinos.
Wishna was also instrumental in bring Michael Jackson back to the United States. In the mid-2000's Jackson was facing charges of sexual molestation. After being acquitted, Jackson left the country and vowed never to return. Wishna convinced him to come back, according to E!, and the plan was to have Michael Jackson be a resident headliner in a casino. According to Wishna, "Michael says, 'I have this huge statue of me in full regalia, moon boots,'" reports E!.
While that deal with Michael Jackson ultimately fell through, Wishna did get Jackson to meet with people from Cirque Du Soleil. From that meeting, thanks to Wishna, there will be a Cirque Du Soleil show based on the life and music of Michael Jackson opening in the Mandalay Bay Theater in 2013, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
Donald Trump, no stranger to attention, was nowhere to be seen in Las Vegas until meeting with Wishna. While Trump already had his empire on the East Coast, with buildings in New York and casinos in Atlantic City, it was not until Trump met Wishna that the Donald made it to Las Vegas. Wishna brokered the deal between Trump and Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island Resort, to create Trump International Hotel & Towers.
In 2012, Wishna created RockCityClub.com, a “social music network” designed to bring fans and unknown artists together as a way to launch rock acts. In 2012, RockCityClub.com partnered with Slacker Radio to develop a channel dedicated to unsigned acts.
Wishna was involved with the music scene since age 15. In New York City, Wishna met Steve Rubell, owner of Studio 54. Rubell asked Wishna to be the photographer at Studio 54 and shot many regulars including Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds and Johnny Carson, reports Vegas.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.