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Wayne Newton

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Carson Wayne Newton (born April 3, 1942 in Roanoke, Virginia) is an American singer and entertainer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He performed over 25,000 concerts in Las Vegas over a period of over 40 years. Newton was born to Evelyn Marie “Smith” (née Plasters) and Patrick Newton, who was an auto mechanic. His father was of Irish-Powhatan descent and his mother of German-Cherokee ancestry. While his father was in the U.S. Navy, Newton spent his early childhood in Roanoke. He was active in show business at an early age, learning the piano, guitar, and steel guitar at the age of six. Along with his older brother he appeared with the Grand Ole Opry roadshows, performed for President and auditioned unsuccessfully for Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.

Wayne’s severe asthma forced the family to move to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1952. In the spring of 1958, toward the end of Wayne’s junior year in high school, a Las Vegas booking agent saw a local TV show on which the two Newton brothers were performing and took them back with him for an audition. Originally signed for two weeks, the two brothers eventually performed for five years, doing six shows a day.

Newton achieved nationwide recognition on September 29, 1962, when he and his brother performed on The Jackie Gleason Show. He would perform on Gleason’s show 12 times over the following two years.

Many other entertainment icons such as Lucille Ball, Bobby Darin, Danny Thomas, George Burns, and Jack Benny lent Newton their support. In particular, Benny hired Newton as an opening act for his show.

After his job with Benny ended, Newton was offered a job to open for another comic at the Flamingo Hotel, but Newton asked for, and was given, a headline act.

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