Thursday, February 20, 2020

Paradise Palms Celebrity Spotlight: Former Resident Nancy Austin & David London

Nancy Austin (center) and David London (second from right)
Photo courtesy Classic Las Vegas and Dennis McBride

Comedian Nancy Austin (July 19, 1934 – March 10, 1995) and her husband producer, comedian & musician David London (d. August 30, 2015) lived in Paradise Palms from 1964-1987. Austin began her career as a third-grade school teacher in Maryland who moonlighted at Washington night clubs. Earning $85 a week as a teacher and $250 a week from the clubs, Austin decided to make comedy her profession and moved to Las Vegas.  

Austin & London's Stellar Greens Home in Paradise Palms

She landed her big television debut in The Jimmie Rodgers Show in 1959, and went on to appear in the documentary Young Americans in 1967 and The Hollywood Palace in 1967-68. She starred in Vega$ (1978), Cannonball Run (1981) and the TV Series Matt Houston (1982). Austin also believed women of size should have all the fashion opportunities that other women had and should dress appropriately had a clothing line called Pudgy Playmates, whose looks featured all the hot looks – frilly sleeves, bell bottoms, and things she deemed eye-attractors. Her stores, Nancy Austin Fashions, grew to three locations in Las Vegas, including right in the neighborhood on Maryland Parkway next to Champagne’s, on the strip next to Circus Circus and near the Meadows Mall at Decatur & Alta.

Austin & Liberace
Austin in Cannonball Run, 1981
A well-known staple of the Las Vegas strip, Austin starred in Bottom’s Up at Caesars Palace, Bed Time Riot at the Desert Inn and Thunderbird, and finished her career with Life Over 40 at the Plaza Hotel. Austin’s father was a political leader for the Truman administration, and in 1966 she ran for the Nevada State Assembly.

Breck Wall, Nancy Austin and Bill Fanning
Austin performing in Bottoms Up with Breck Wall and Bill Faning

Austin married London in 1969 while both were performing in Bottoms Up at Caesars. London was a comedian, opening for Las Vegas headlines such as Liberace and Joan Rivers. London started his career as a voice teacher in Hollywood, and in the 1940s a young starlet was sent to him who couldn’t sing a note. Not knowing any songs, London asked the starlet if she had ever been to a birthday party; turns out she had, and after getting her in key he had taught Marilyn Monroe to whisper sing Happy Birthday 20 years prior to her performance at Madison Square Garden. Monroe would often tell people that London was the man responsible for Marilyn Monroe. 

Austin passed away in 1995 right around the corner from Paradise Palms at Desert Springs Hospital at age 60, and London passed in 2015 in Louisiana at the age of 89.

For a full list of celebrities and notable Las Vegan who called Paradise Palms home, please visit