Best Lasting Legacy

Betty Willis

Betty Willis at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, she is the womanEven after designer Betty Willis died in April at age 91, she kept working. Her best-known creation, the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that’s greeted visitors to our town since 1959, is on task even now: Each day, tourists snap selfies with it; couples shoot wedding photos in front of it; and a new generation of commercial artists is admiring a design that’s become a visual shorthand for Las Vegas itself—a design that Willis deliberately didn’t submit for copyright. As long as “Welcome” and her other surviving masterpieces—the Moulin Rouge at the Neon Museum and the Blue Angel, which still stands at the eastern end of Fremont Street—are still inspiring people to think Vegas, Betty Willis will always be doing her job.

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