El Rey Club and The Excessive Life of Willie Martello: Rare Photos and Story Revealed in a Book


Luxurious cars, beautiful girls and celebrities always around him, alcohol and fun. Americans define him as the man who “had more fun than most would in 10 lifetimes”. This is Willie Martello, the man (with his seven brothers) who started with a little hotel in Searchlight, Nevada, “El Rey Club”, right after the WW2 (1946), but didn’t know that this would have created the myth of Las Vegas (and its success). Rare photos and full story have been now revealed in a stunning biography.

Beyond living a “life full of excesses” (how many people would like to live like that?), Willie Martello made it possible for a previously deserted area to become what it is now. From a little hotel, subsequently converted into a casino, to influencing the birth of what Las Vegas is now.

las vegas by night
wbeem | Flickr

The nearby Las Vegas rose rapidly, but this made “El Rey Club” almost forgotten (then it was destroyed by fire in 1962).

Before that, the Willie Martello “castle” lived a “prosperous life”, passing from an ordinary hotel to a one-time brothel and also a destination for many film stars from Hollywood. Francis Ford Coppola has to thanks “El Rey Club” too, for having contributed to the launch of his career (he directed and shot his first film there).

The sensational life of Willie Martello has been revealed in a biography with amazing old photos and where the author, Andy Martello, tells the full story, beyond his heavy-drinking and womanising ways.

“That same man used to go into Las Vegas during the Christmas season, find kids who needed food and toys, and buy them everything they need.”, the author said.

His way of living, full of gambling, prostitution, alcohol and so on, can be quite controversial (depends on who you ask -Ed.), but before forming an opinion we should read the whole story.

Are you curious? You can find the book on Amazon.
According to the author, you will discover rare or unseen photos and read about the unreal but true story of the unknown casino that changed Las Vegas forever.

WARNING! the book contains nudity, prostitution, vintage Vegas, celebrities, and (some) mobsters!

Do you already know Willie Martello? Would you take him as an example for you and your children to live like him? Do you think this is the real success in life?

Featured photo by Roy Benton | Vimeo 


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