SPARTA, Ky. (April 2004) For 14 years, Robin Leach introduced
a starstruck television audience to the Lifestyles of the Rich
and Famous. This month, he will introduce a lucky contingent
of Belterra Casino Resort guests to a sample of the good life during
the casino resorts Rise to Riches Giveaway, April
In its largest promotion ever, Belterra will over the course of
three days award $100,000 in cash and prizes including a brand new
Hummer H2, a Stingray boat, $25,000 in cash and much more. And who
better to present the prizes than Leach, who will be on hand during
Saturdays drawing with champagne wishes and caviar dreams.
I think this contest is great because it has a large number
of prizes, said Leach, 62, in mid-March during a telephone interview
from Las Vegas, where he resides when not on the go. Leach said he
feels very much at home there, not only because it is convenient to
L.A., where he travels frequently on business, but because it
is the entertainment capital of the world and my business is entertainment.
Las Vegas also is home to a bountiful selection of haute cuisine,
a bonus for Leach, who, besides caviar, enjoys an array of culinary
delights. Spago, one of Wolfgang Pucks posh restaurants, is
among his favorite places to dine.
I love all of Wolfgang Pucks restaurants. Ive known
him for a long time. I was with him on opening night when he opened
Spago in Las Vegas, Leach said.
Leach, who wrote a cookbook called Entertaining With The Rich
And Famous, also enjoys cooking but said that surrounded by
the worlds best chefs, hes inclined more often to dine
out. Vegas has over 100 star chefs. Theres no way I can
compete, he said.
Although he lives in the casino capital of the world, Leach said he
gambles more on his career than on anything else. He occasionally
plays Blackjack but said he spends most of his money on business ventures.
When we started Lifestyles we had $8 million tied up by the
time the first special aired, he said. Thats what
it costs to produce those things, so its a big risk.
That gamble paid off. Lifestyles, which ran for 14 years, was one
of the longest running series in television history. The show resulted
in Leachs personal celebrity status, something he said was unintentional.
I dont like that stuff; Im uncomfortable with it.
I prefer writing and creating, he said.
Despite being best known as the tuxedo-clad host who gave television
audiences a glimpse into the lavish lives of the worlds richest
people, Leach described himself as more casual and relaxed. I
do not live in a tuxedo, he said.
To prove that point, he agreed last year to appear in Im
a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, ABCs star-studded knockoff
of the CBS reality hit Survivor that aired February-March
2003. For the show, Leach, along with nine other celebrities, set
up a primitive camp in the Australian Outback, where they competed
in outrageous stunts for the honor of being the last one standing
and to earn money for their chosen charities. A unique twist allowed
television viewers to vote off the contestants one at a time.
Leach said he did the show for two reasons: to raise money for his
chosen charities and because the show represented what Leach said
he always believed TV would one day become unrehearsed,
unscripted, unplanned and unprepared. This was the first show
that I thought genuinely met that criteria, and that really intrigued
me. So for nine days I suffered every indignity under the sun,
According to Leach part of the indignity he suffered as a result of
the show was from an unflattering image that the shows producers
effected of him with clever editing. They wanted me to look
like the bossy old man that didnt have any patience with the
young blonde model, Leach said.
The tactic worked. Less than impressed with Leach Downunder, viewers
voted that he be the first to go. J Lo cast-off Cris Judd made it
through to the end to be crowned King of the Jungle. Still, Leach
earned $10,000 for Keep Memory Alive, a Las Vegas Alzheimers
association, and Citymeals-On-Wheels.
Maybe its Leachs penchant for spinning straw into gold,
or at least turning a little into a lot, that made even the Im
a Celebrity experience into a moneymaker. From the British countryside
where he grew up, Leach has catapulted himself into the most lavish
and luxurious places in the world and a lifestyle not so different
from the very celebrities he has interviewed over the years.
Leachs success can probably be attributed to never resting on
his laurels. And dont look for things to change any time soon.
As much as I say I cant wait to retire, Ill bet
I never will, said Leach, who is currently involved in numerous
projects, one of which is building a television studio in Las Vegas.
Leach also travels frequently, at least once or twice a week, but
said he has cut back from a hectic schedule that used to put him on
the road as many as 300 days a year. He has visited Indiana before,
but most trips to the Hoosier state have landed him in Indianapolis,
home to his friends, the Simon family who incidentally own Simon Property
Group, the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North
This will be my first visit to the area that is home to Belterra,
said Leach. He encourages everyone to come out to the casino resort
and say hello.
I am a very approachable person, he said.