Story By: Ellen Diane Sterling

Robert Davi

There was a terrific taste of classic Las Vegas entertainment in Sin City this weekend when actor-singer Robert Davi opened for classic comedian Don Rickles.

As anyone who has followed Rickles' career — 60 or so years in Las Vegas alone — knows, he's a master at his craft. Born in Queens, it was Frank Sinatra who advocated for him to get his career started. (You can read the entire tale in his terrific autobiography, Rickles' Book.)

Robert Davi, too, was born in Queens and, like Rickles, was the beneficiary of Frank Sinatra's generosity when the superstar gave him his first movie role in Contract On Cherry Street, Sinatra's much-touted TV film debut in 1977. Davi has since performed in scores of films, most notably as Jake Fratelli in Goonies, as Bond villain Franz Sanchez in Licence To Kill and, most recently, as Leonard Marks in The Iceman. In addition to his acting, Robert Davi is a trained singer with a strong, powerful, beautiful voice. So, as he grew up hearing the music of Frank Sinatra as the soundtrack of his life — after all, his parents were Italian — he loved Sinatra's music and, recorded an album produced by Phil Ramone, called Davi Sings Sinatra. To promote that, he began to perform a show of the same title.

Davi has performed the music across the country. A month ago, he played before 10.000 people on Long Island and, last weekend, opened for Rickles in Las Vegas. Robert Davi is not an impersonator or tribute artist. He doesn't try to sound like Sinatra. He simply loves the music, believes it is important that it be performed and does so with his own spin.

The audience had in large part come to see Don Rickles and Davi proved to be a most pleasant surprise to them. Sitting there, I could hear people saying, "Oh! He's good." One woman behind me said, "He doesn't sound like Sinatra" and the man next to her responded, "He doesn't have to. He is great by himself."

And, indeed, he is. It was a special night in Las Vegas because, via first-rate entertainment in 2013, we were reminded of what made the city great in the1960s.

And, for Robert Davi, it was a dream come true. Asked about the gig, Davi says he is "thrilled" to work with Rickles because of his history with Sinatra and, of course, because of Rickles own status. "There just ain't many legends around and I'm lucky to be working with one."