BETTY WILLIS, DESIGNER OF THE FABULOUS LAS VEGAS SIGN, DIES AT 91
Betty Willis, the woman who designed Las Vegas’s iconic neon sign, has died.
Her daughter confirmed that Willis died at home in Nevada on Sunday, after a mortuary posted details on its website. Willis was 91
Willis designed the neon sign as part of a tourism boost on the part of Clark County, Nevada. The “fabulous” sign was erected in 1959, and became an instant hit with tourists and locals.
“There was no other word to use,” she said in 2008. “Las Vegas was fabulous, and we wanted to advertise that.”
Willis took inspiration for the shape of her sign from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company logo, while the starburst at the top was inspired by Disney films, intending to promote happiness. The silver dollars spelling out “welcome” were designed to look lucky.
The sign has since become one of the most recognisable signs in the world, and has been reproduced freely on souvenir merchandise. However, Willis did not copyright the sign, or make any money out of it, saying it was her “gift” to Las Vegas.