Go to main content

Alex Shoofey Passed Away

September 01, 2007 | People
Alexander James Shoofey, who rose from humble beginnings in a Brooklyn orphanage to become a Las Vegas gaming giant, successively running the Sahara, Flamingo and Las Vegas Hilton resorts in the 1960s and early '70s, died Wednesday. He was 91.

The day after Elvis Presley opened at Las Vegas' Hotel International in 1969, the resort's president, Alex Shoofey, was in the showroom having a cup of coffee with Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Despite a hugely successful opening night, Shoofey was unhappy because the king of rock 'n' roll had been contracted to only two weeks a year at the new 1,500-room resort that today is the Las Vegas Hilton.

"Listen," Shoofey recalled telling Parker in his 2003 UNLV oral history interview. "I'd like to extend your contract ."

Parker balked: "Alex, it's too early. Let's find out whether he (Presley) can make it or not."

"I'll take that chance right now," Shoofey said. He then scribbled on the tablecloth a new pact that would result in more than 700 sell out performances from 1969 to 1976, resparking Presley's career and making him a Las Vegas icon.
My boy, my boy wrote on September 01, 2007
It is just too bad that this "pact" turned out to be, in the long run, a good excuse for the Colonel to keep Elvis from preparing for a long tour outside the states. If I was Mister Shoofey I woudn't be too proud of that....but may he rest in peace anyway ! Nevertheless, this contract, weather we like it or not, led Elvis to be bored like hell in Vegas...if we could turn back time somehow ! (sigh)
Mofoca22 wrote on September 01, 2007
rest in peace alex if it werent for you i honestly believe the colonel wouldve freaken screwed elvis's out of performing live you believed in elvis when parker didnt
Martin DJ wrote on September 02, 2007
This is not a true story. Elvis was scheduled to play a month in Vegas right from the start. It was not decided after opening night to extend the original two weeks' engagement. How could it? It's not only Elvis who would have to commit himself to working for another two weeks on short notice, but also the members of the band, the orchestra, the backup singers. If a deal was made it would have been about the february 1970 engagement.
Jumpin Jehosaphat wrote on September 02, 2007
Just another street thug from brooklyn
My boy, my boy wrote on September 03, 2007
Martin DJ, you are probably right...but don't forget that Colonel thought (unfortunately) that the band members and backup singers were somehow expendable...so he would have never waited for their "approval" to sign Elvis on any long term contract !