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Burton Cohen, Vegas casino executive, dies at 90

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A casino industry legend who once served as president of some of the Las Vegas Strip's most famous properties and was best known for his three stints at the now-closed Desert Inn casino has died.

Burton Cohen was 90.

Cohen's wife of 30 years, Linda, said she discovered Tuesday morning that her husband had died in his sleep. His death was unexpected, and Cohen had attended a meeting the day before, she said.

Born in Philadelphia, Cohen served in the Air Force during World War II and worked as an attorney in Florida, his wife said. He came to Las Vegas in 1966 as co-owner and general manager of the Frontier casino, and he helped Jay Sarno open the Circus Circus casino.

Cohen also held posts at the Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Thunderbird and Dunes, according to his profile in the American Gaming Association's Gaming Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 1995.

Cohen is best known for the Desert Inn casino, where the 1970s detective TV series "Vega$" was filmed with his support. He is credited with reviving it in the 1990s before it was closed to make way for the Wynn and Encore resorts.

"Burton left an indelible imprint on Las Vegas-style hospitality as we know it today. He was a legend in our industry," said Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts International.

Cohen remained active well after he retired in 1995, serving on the boards of MGM Resorts and Sunrise Hospital until his death.

He is survived by his wife, son, two grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two beloved rescue dogs.

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