As a revered Las Vegas maitre d', Emilio Muscelli seated thousands of locals and visitors at the Rat Pack's performances at the Sands in the early 1960s and to Elvis Presley's attendance-record-setting shows at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1970s. But Muscelli saved the best table for himself - a front-row seat to some of the most enduring moments and colorful people in Las Vegas history.
In addition to getting to know Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Muscelli partied with billionaire Howard Hughes in the 1950s, long before Hughes became a recluse, and chauffeured Meyer Lansky when the mob boss came to town in the '60s to keep tabs on the mob's casino operations.
Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. May 3 at Palm Mortuary-Eastern.
“No question, Elvis was by far the biggest attraction ever in Las Vegas,” said Muscelli.
Muscelli said he used creative seating to pack the showroom each night, often with as many as 4,000 guests for both shows. What few people knew, Muscelli said, was that the Clark County Fire Department had limited the capacity of that showroom to 1,150 people per show.
“Certainly, (Presley’s manager) Col. Tom Parker was not going to turn me in for putting so many extra people in the showroom,” Muscelli said. “He was happy to see so many seats filled.”
When Elvis died in 1977, and the excitement that he brought to Las Vegas quieted down a bit, Muscelli decided it was time to wind down his career. He retired two years later.