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Rise to Riches Giveaway

"Lifestyles" Robin Leach to appear
at Belterra Casino Resort in April

The celebrity will help give away $100,000

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

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 resort’s “Rise to Riches” Giveaway, April 16-18.

Robin Leach

Robin Leach

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 Saturday’s 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 Puck’s posh restaurants, is among his favorite places to dine.
“I love all of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants. I’ve 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 world’s best chefs, he’s inclined more often to dine out. “Vegas has over 100 star chefs. There’s 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. “That’s what it costs to produce those things, so it’s 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 Leach’s personal celebrity status, something he said was unintentional. “I don’t like that stuff; I’m 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 world’s 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 “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!,” ABC’s 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,” he said.
According to Leach part of the indignity he suffered as a result of the show was from an unflattering image that the show’s producers effected of him with clever editing. “They wanted me to look like the bossy old man that didn’t 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 Alzheimer’s association, and Citymeals-On-Wheels.
Maybe it’s Leach’s penchant for spinning straw into gold, or at least turning a little into a lot, that made even the “I’m 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.
Leach’s success can probably be attributed to never resting on his laurels. And don’t look for things to change any time soon. “As much as I say I can’t wait to retire, I’ll 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 America.
“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.

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