1977: Hall of Fame Broadcaster Bill Buckmaster gets roughed up by Frank Sinatra’s bodyguards

As a monthly guest on the Bill Buckmaster Show (first Wednesday of every month), I’ve been astounded to find out what a treasure we have here in Tucson every day at noon on KVOI-1030AM.

The year 2017 marks the 50th year of broadcasting for Buckmaster and he was recently inducted into the Arizona Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame. This came just after Bill was inducted into Nevada’s Hall of Fame.

We decided to write about this milestone and started digging up old photos of Bill Buckmaster in “old” Las Vegas; the type that was in the movie “Casino” before it became the family friendly place it is today.

Buckmaster was recently telling me about when he and Mohammed Ali spent an afternoon together before his big fight with Leon Spinks in 1978 when he shared a dinner with The Greatest at the top of the Dunes Hotel.

It turns out the Broadcaster Buckmaster was the focus of news headlines the year before in 1977; four decades ago in a different era in Las Vegas.

I came across the following news articles (above and to the right) featuring Bill Buckmaster getting roughed up by Frank Sinatra’s bodyguards!

This came as they were getting kicked out after Bill and other reporters showed up to Sinatra’s dressing room after he received an award.

I asked Bill about these stories; maybe they were about some other man named “Bill Buckmaster” being roughed up and not the kind gentleman we all know here in Tucson.

Buckmaster confirmed that this was indeed him and that not only was Las Vegas different back then but so was he.

I asked him what went on that night. Buckmaster responded:

We got a tip that Frank Sinatra was going to do a phony publicity picture, stuff for some cooked up special award and we wanted to spoil the party!
Yes, there was a bit of pushing and shoving especially of the TV camera guy.
That is when I stepped him and was shown the door by security.
Those were wild days in Las Vegas, a place in the 1970’s that was still a very crazy town and not “the family friendly” place it is today.

And now you know the rest of the story… good day!


Originally published at TSON News.