Lonnie Hammargren

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lonnie Hammargren
31st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
In office
January 2, 1995 – January 4, 1999
Governor Bob Miller
Preceded by Sue Wagner
Succeeded by Lorraine Hunt
Member of the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education
In office
Personal details
Born Lonnie Lee Hammargren
(1937-12-25) December 25, 1937 (age 79)
Harris, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Republican (1991–present)
Residence Paradise, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Profession Neurosurgeon (retired)

Lonnie Lee Hammargren (born December 25, 1937) is an American politician and a retired neurosurgeon. He was elected a member of the non-partisan Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education, an office he held from 1988 to 1994; he is the former 31st Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. State of Nevada, serving from 1995 to 1999 as a member of the Republican Party.

He is also known for his "eclectic collection of artifacts, including old casino signs and an Apollo space capsule."[1]


Medical career[edit]

Hammargren is a neurosurgeon first licensed in 1971.[2] Lonnie spent several years as a NASA flight surgeon.[citation needed] He also operated on boxer Duk Koo Kim in November 1982, following Kim's loss to Ray Mancini; Kim died as a result of his injuries in the fight.[3]

Following Roy Horn's near-fatal tiger attack in 2003, Hammargren spoke up to correct misinformation in the press about the procedure Horn (of Siegfried & Roy) had received.[4]

According to Hammargren, he gave up surgery in 2005, when the cost for his malpractice insurance was raised to $275,000/year; in 2009, as part of a medical malpractice settlement, he agreed to give up surgery permanently, though he retained his medical license.[2]

Political career[edit]

From 1988 to 1994,[5] Hammargren was a member of the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education.[2]

Hammargren was Lieutenant Governor of Nevada from 1995–1999. He lost his election bid in the primaries for that office again in 2006.[6]

As of 2008, Hammargren was the honorary consul for Belize.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Hammargren built his house, Castillo del Sol, in 1969.[8] Since then it has become a museum to Vegas' past. The house is usually open for tours on Nevada Day. Among his latest acquisitions is the High Roller roller coaster from the Stratosphere. His home has been featured on the Travel Channel's show Vegas VIP Homes.[9]

Hammargren married his wife Sandy in 1989, an event which in part was filmed for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.[10]

On March 31, 2007, Hammargren held an "Awake Wake" for himself, in which he had a mock funeral service, a New Orleans style Jazz Funeral March back to his house, and buried himself in a sarcophagus in the Egyptian tomb in his garage. He emerged an hour later.[11] In 2008, he began building a replica Orion spacecraft to add to the collection.[7]

On December 18, 2016, Hammargren was featured on an episode of the A&E series Hoarders. In the episode, it was revealed Hammargren had spent an estimated $10 million on his collections and was $750,000 in debt. He sold some items at auction for a net gain of slightly over $4,000, which he planned to use to write his autobiography. The television episode was credited with finally enabling Hammargren to understand that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.


  1. ^ Ryan, Cy (July 29, 2009). "Ex-pol agrees to settle malpractice complaint". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  2. ^ a b c Ryan, Cy (August 6, 2009). "Ex-lieutenant governor has performed his last surgery, per settlement". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ Carp, Steve (September 26, 2008). "'It was a brutal fight'". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-21. Kim was carried out of the ring by stretcher and rushed to Desert Springs Hospital. He was quickly prepared for surgery, and neurosurgeon Dr. Lonnie Hammargren removed a blood clot that had lodged in his brain. 
  4. ^ "Doctors removed portion of Roy's skull". USA Today. 2003-10-16. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  5. ^ Lake, Richard (June 3, 2012). "2012 Primary Election - Board of Regents District 12". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  6. ^ "2006 Lt. Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election Results - Nevada". uselectionatlas.org. Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  7. ^ a b O'Reiley, Tim (September 21, 2008). "Working locally at trading globally". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas Business Press. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  8. ^ Green, Michael S.; Elan Penn (2006). Las Vegas: A Pictorial Celebration. Penn Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-4027-2385-7. 
  9. ^ "'Ripley's Believe It or Not' takes over Fremont Street Experience". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2002-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  10. ^ Taylor, F. Andrew (October 25, 2011). "Celebrate Nevada Day with a trip to Hammargren home". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2012-07-21. Renee returned to the tank and reprised her act sans dolphin for Lonnie and Sandy Hammargren's wedding 22 years ago, which was filmed for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. 
  11. ^ "The Awake Wake". Retrieved 2007-05-01. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sue Wagner
Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
January 2, 1995 – January 4, 1999
Succeeded by
Lorraine Hunt