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Gaming Guru

Rod Smith
 

Dan Chandler, Caesars Marketing Legend, Dies

30 April 2004

By Rod Smith

Legendary casino host Dan Chandler, who raised the expression "My man!" to an art form in Las Vegas gaming circles, died in his sleep Tuesday in his father's cabin on the family's Versailles, Ky., estate.

He had health problems in recent months and was found dead by his brother, A.B. Chandler Jr., who called his death "a bad shock" to the family.

Chandler, 70, was the son of the late Kentucky Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler and uncle of U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler.

Over the past 30 years, Dan Chandler was hired and fired by Caesars at least six times.

Most recently, the veteran casino marketing specialist and other hosts were sacked by Caesars Palace in 2002 as part of a failed effort by then-Caesars Palace President John Groom to shake up his ship.

"My inability to get along with Caesars Palace presidents is legendary," Chandler said at the time, laughing. "It would be fun to come back a seventh time, but I'm sure I'll have to wait until this president hits a wall."

A.B. Chandler said of his brother's ability to keep being rehired: "He knew all the high rollers. That's one thing that kept him employed, because he knew all of them."

Billy Walters, owner of Walters Gold and a Chandler friend from years ago in Kentucky where they both grew up, said there will never be another Dan Chandler.

"He was an unbelievable guy, one of a kind. No exaggeration. There are a thousand colorful stories about Dan Chandler," Walters said.

Walters told a story of going to the dedication of a new golf course with Chandler two years ago.

At the ceremonial dinner the night before the dedication, Walters said the clubhouse dining room was packed with celebrities from the world of golf and entertainment.

"The room was filled with very important people," he said. "But there wasn't anyone there who didn't know Dan, and there was no one there who knew more people than he did."

Debbie Munch, a long-time public relations official at Caesars Palace during most of Chandler's tenure, said he was a legend in casino marketing.

"He rubbed elbows with some of this country's most powerful characters. He knew how to take care of every customer, and he will be missed," she said.

Chandler had worked off and on in Las Vegas casinos since 1973.

At the time of his death, Chandler worked for Rampart Resort Management in Las Vegas and was vice president of the Woodford Sun, which he formerly co-owned.

Chandler was a man with a fantastic sense of humor who lived life as he wanted to, according to those who knew him. He was especially known for his natural jokes, they said. His father was known for that, too, but some people said Dan Chandler was even wittier.

"He was better than his father, believe it or not," said Richard Crane Jr. of Los Angeles, Chandler's attorney and friend, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. "Dan had a better gift of gab than his daddy ... that's certainly not putting down his father."

In addition to Chandler's brother and nephew, survivors include a daughter, Erin Gilboy of Los Angeles; a sister, Mimi Lewis of Versailles; and a half-sister, Marcella Miller of Wilson, N.C.

Services are pending at Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home in Versailles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.