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Wayne Newton to open Vegas mansion to public

Wayne Newton estate: A promotional tour is expected next month and Newton told The Associated Press he hopes to offer the first public tours by February.

By Cristina SilvaAssociated Press / October 20, 2011

In this photo, Wayne Newton answers questions during an interview at his home in Las Vegas. Newton, the former two-bit lounge singer turned Las Vegas icon, hopes to create a Wayne Newton museum at his home.

Julie Jacobson/AP

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LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas icon Wayne Newton said a yearlong effort to turn his sprawling estate, Casa de Shenandoah, into a tourist destination is almost complete.

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A promotional tour is expected next month and Newton told The Associated Press he hopes to offer the first public tours by February.

Visitors will be able to survey the singer's collection of European antiques and celebrity mementos — including Nat King Cole's watch, a Johnny Cash guitar and a champagne glass used by Frank Sinatra to toast Newton.

"It's going great," Newton said Tuesday.

A museum, theater, visitors' center and other attractions were being added to the property. And revised building plans submitted last month call for expanding the museum space and theater, where Newton will perform occasionally.

Newton received permission last year to turn his lavish home into a tourist venue after a bruising battle in which his neighbors said they didn't want tour buses invading the largely residential neighborhood.

Newton's 40-acre (16-hectare) estate features South African penguins, Arabian horses, Impressionist paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and 17th-century antiques collected from European castles. Some of the keepsakes were gifts from the mentors and friends who helped make Newton famous, including Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Jack Benny.

Newton, his wife and their daughter are expected to move into a smaller house on the property.

The revamped estate is expected to employ more than 400 people as Nevada struggles with unemployment above 13 percent, the highest in the nation.

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