'Casino' Movie Inspiration Rosenthal Dead At 79

MIAMI (AP) - Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal - sports handicapper
extraordinaire, Las Vegas gaming executive and the inspiration for
the blockbuster movie "Casino" - died today. He was 79.

He died from a heart attack in his Miami Beach condo, a
fire-rescue spokeswoman said.

Rosenthal, who once survived a car bomb, ran the Chicago
mob-owned Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda and Marina casinos through
the 1970s and into the mid 1980s. Although Sports Illustrated once
crowned him as the greatest living expert on sports handicapping,
Rosenthal eventually was listed in Nevada's "black book" of
unsavory types banned from the state's casinos because of his ties
with the Mafia.

Born in Chicago in 1929, Rosenthal learned the gambling trade
through illegal bookmaking operations and made friends with Chicago
mobsters - ties that would last a lifetime. In 1961, he appeared
before a Senate hearing on gambling and organized crime during
which he invoked Fifth Amendment protection against
self-incrimination 38 times - and kept his left hand aloft
throughout while doing so, thus garnering the nickname "Lefty."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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