Betty Willis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Betty Willis
Born 1923 (age 91–92)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Occupation graphics designer
Years active 1942-1999
Known for Designer of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Parent(s) Stephen R. Whithead

Betty Willis (born 1923) is a graphics designer.[1][2] Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is best known for having been the designer of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.


A Las Vegas native, Willis is the daughter of Stephen R, Whitehead, the first assessor of Clark County, Nevada.[2] She went to Los Angeles in 1942 where she attended art school and drew ads for Fox West Coast Theaters.[2] Betty returned to Las Vegas where she first took a job at the courthouse, then worked as a commercial artist before moving on to designing neon sign at Western Neon.[1][2] It was there that she designed her signature piece, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, completed in 1959.[1] Willis never trademarked the design, later saying "It's my gift to the city."[3]

Willis is also known for designing the signs for the Moulin Rouge Hotel and the Blue Angel Motel.[3] She continued designing signs until she retired at the age of 77.[1]

Signs designed[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "People & Events". PBS. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d BROWN, PATRICIA LEIGH (2005-01-13). "AT HOME WITH: Betty Willis; A Neon Come-Hither, Still Able to Flirt". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c Katsilometes, John (2008-06-09). "Famed designer Willis never tires of, “What’s your sign?”". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  4. ^ "Home". Moulin Rouge Museum & Cultural Center. Retrieved 2010-03-28.