Written by Bobbie Katz
One Golden Globe, 1 Grammy nomination, 3 marriages, 3 children, 15 years away from performing to raise her family and 2 years of living inLas Vegasare bringing an accomplished singer and film and Broadway star to the Suncoast for 1 night on Saturday, February 23. Pia Zadora is back and ready to paint the town – and she’s painting it by numbers.
Zadora’s 75-minute stage show was created by 3-time Emmy® winning director and choreographer Walter Painter, Emmy®-nominated Academy Award® writer Jon Macks. Featuring some of the greatest songs ever performed, Zadora will be accompanied by legendary Sinatra pianist and musical conductor Vinnie Falcone and his orchestra. Zadora will perform classics including “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Come Rain or Shine,” “All of Me,” “Young at Heart” and “The Man That Got.Away.”
One thing is for certain — there is no doubt that audiences will see a woman of many hues who couldn’t be more content with where she is today.
“I love living inLas Vegas,” Zadora enthuses. “It’s like a community, especially having come fromL.A.andNew York. I’m on my third marriage – we’ve been married for nine years and it’s going so well that I no longer call him my current husband; I call him ‘Detective Honey.’ He is on the Las Vegas Metro police force.
“I was visitingLas VegasfromL.A.with my first husband, Rik, on my son’s birthday and my second husband was stalking me – he followed me here fromL.A.I had brought my baby from my second husband, who was 5 at the time, with me and he didn’t think that I was supposed to take him out ofL.A.There was violence involved and my attorney told me to file a report with Las Vegas Metro. So I did. The report came across the desk of Michael Jeffries. Michael and I spoke on the phone a few times and then about a year later, we decided that we should meet since I didn’t know what he looked like. He sounded like a middle-aged cornhusker on the phone; I didn’t expect a hunky Alec Baldwin type. We met and got engaged two weeks later.”
That was 10 years ago. Zadora’s two children, by Rik (Meschulam Riklis, with whom she remains best friends), Kady and Kristopher, who are now 27 and 25, were also still living at home in L.A. with her at the time so she couldn’t move. Jeffries would come in Saturday afternoons after work and go back toLas Vegason Tuesday afternoons. After they got married, he retired from Metro, moved toL.A.and transferred to the Sheriff’s Department. Then two years ago, with Kady and Kristopher grown and gone and her youngest son then 13, the couple decided that it was time to move back toLas Vegas. Jeffries had to go back to the police academy before he could rejoin Metro again.
As for Zadora, she got back into singing through friends such as Deana Martin (Dean Martin’s daughter) and Chance Torme (Mel Torme’s son), getting up on stage and singing with them at theirLas Vegasshows. Before she know it, she had engagements booked at both the Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Performing Arts Center in Las Vegas, where she performed the last weekend in July, and the Metropolitan cabaret in New York City, where she performed a few months ago and got great reviews. In addition, after herSmithCenterperformance, she started working on a reality show with Discovery Studios and Hoodworks Entertainment. While she can’t divulge anything about the show as yet, she jokes that there will be no Kardashians and no hillbilly hand-fishing, nor will it be called “Here Comes Pia Boo Boo.”
Zadora has come full cycle. She began her career on Broadway at the age of seven after being discovered while studying acting at the AmericanAcademyof Dramatic Art. This success led to a number of Broadway shows, including a two-year stint from 1964-66 inFiddler On The Roof, and featured roles in The Sound Of Music, Little Mary Sunshine, Funny Girl, Damn Yankees, Crazy for Youand Dames At Sea. She has also appeared in numerous feature films, including Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964),The Lonely Lady (1983), Hairspray (1988) and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994).
Of course, it’s also hard to forget the flack she encountered when she won the Golden Globe for the movie Butterfly in 1981.
“The hub-bub was that I had won it for Best Actress when I actually won it for Best Newcomer,” she recalls. “I had a funny name and my husband had financed the film. It was like ‘Who is this?’ I became Johnny Carson’s answer to Rula Lenska. But I didn’t let it get in my way or run with my tail between my legs. I used all of it to get where I am today.”
Zadora admits that getting back into performing was a little daunting at first. “I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff,” she says about herSmithCenterengagement. “But it was a combination of fear and exhilaration. Once out there, I felt that I hadn’t missed a beat for 15 years. I connected to my inner diva. And I’m really excited about performing at the Suncoast. It’s the quintessentialLas Vegasshowroom.”
And it’s just adding more colors to her life.