Last night the Neon Museum announced the designer Betty Willis who created the most famous neon Las Vegas sign has died!
Betty Willis the designer famous for having designed the neon ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ passed away. The news was announced on Facebook in a post by the official account of the Neon Museum.
The post stated the Neon Museum is saddened to announce the demise of another great designer in the signs history. Betty celebrated her 90th birthday when she visited the Neon Museum and the post sent condolences to her family over the sad news. Betty Willis was 91 years old and died at her home in Overton her birth place.
Betty Willis was born with the name Betty Whitehead in 1923 and moved to Las Vegas when she was just a few weeks old in Southern Nevada. Betty’s father was the first assessor of Clark County. In 1942 Betty attended an Art school in Los Angeles, and then started her first job as an ad illustrator for the Fox West Coast Theaters.
In 1952 Betty started working at the Western neon where she designed the sign ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ which was completed in 1959. The neon sign of ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ is undeniably one of the most recognizable signs in the whole world.
When Times magazine asked Betty about the sign and its creation, Betty explained they thought the town of Las Vegas was fabulous so they added the word into the sign.
As the sign was never trademarked and a gift from Betty to the town, the sign was replicated on all sorts of souvenirs such as T-shirts, mugs etc. Betty also designed other famous Las Vegas signs such as the Moulin Rouge, Blue Angel motels, City Center Motel, Del Mar Motel and the Riviera pylon.