Venerable Sparks Nugget performer dead at 49

SPARKS, Nev. - One of Nevada's biggest showroom stars is dead at the age of 49.

Bertha, the Sparks Nugget's performing elephant, died Wednesday of old age and complications of arthritis.

Bertha retired from performing just last month and was scheduled for an evaluation today at the University of California at Davis.

She began performing at the Nugget in 1962, teamed with a smaller elephant - Tina at first and most recently Angel. She has shared the stage with some other legends, like Tony Bennett, Debbie Reynolds, Carol Channing, Red Skelton and Liberace.

Nugget owner John Ascuaga said when she retired that she was part of the resort's family and would live at the Elephant Palace in the hotel-casino's parking lot until her death.


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