Las Vegas' International Hotel, Set Location for James Bond Film Diamonds Are Forever, First Opens (1969)

Launches and Openings | Jul 2, 1969

Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino

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Hilton Hotels Corp., Westgate Resorts

The hotel casino known as of 2023 as The Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino, first opened its doors on July 2, 1969. The hotel, casino, and timeshare resort located in Winchester, Nevada, near the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, opened as the International Hotel. The resort was known for many years as the Las Vegas Hilton, then briefly as the LVH or Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

From 1981 to 1990, The Las Vegas Westgate was the largest hotel in the world. The property is probably best known for being used in the exterior shots of the Whyte House, a fictional hotel owned by billionaire Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean) in EON Productions’ 1971 James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. Whyte is said to have taken refuge in one of the hotel’s penthouse for months. In the movie, stand up comedian Shady Tree (Leonard Barr) occasionally performs at the Whyte House Lincoln Lounge nightclub as “Shady Tree and His Acorns.”

The tall building behind the original Hilton International was edited in by filmmakers to make the entire resort seem larger and more imposing, but it did not actually exist.

The character Shady Tree was a reference to legendary Las Vegas entertainer Shecky Greene. Willard Whyte is based on the famously reclusive Howard Hughes, who for a short time owned numerous Las Vegas casinos, including the Castaways, Frontier, Landmark, the Sands, the Silver Slipper and the Harolds Club Casino in Reno.

In addition to Diamonds Are Forever, the 1970 documentary Elvis: That’s the Way It Is covers several of Presley’s concerts at the hotel. Also, in the 1993 film Indecent Proposal, The Westgate Las Vegas was the hotel where Robert Redford’s character stays and makes the titular proposition to Demi Moore. Additionally, Baz Luhrmann’s 2022 movie Elvis depicts Presley’s residence and performances at the hotel. Lastly, many television shows have shot episodes at The Westgate Las Vegas, including Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Roseanne, to name a few.