Old Statler Hotel Bellhop Disagrees With Our Tina Turner Facts

In the June issue of the “print product,” Brendan McNally wrote about the old Statler Hotel and its mysterious owner, Richard Chiu. In a sidebar to McNally’s story, we mentioned that Tina Turner walked out on Ike at the Statler in 1976, a fact confirmed by Tina’s biography, written with Kurt Loder. (Though, according to Steve Blow, Sam Childers wrote in the history journal Legacies that it happened in 1975.) A man named Mike Collins wrote in to say that we got our date wrong. Says Collins:

Your article caught my eye because I was a bellman that summer of 1976, which was my senior year of high school. Andre the Giant checked in. I brought a roll-away to put at the end of his bed. Took about five minutes and I got a $20 tip.

Ike and Tina checked in with their entourage. Took about three hours in the sweltering heat up and down the elevator. When I finished, they said I was great and wanted me to help them when they left, at which time I would receive a big tip. A few days later, another three or so hours on a scorching summer day filling up taxis and limos (not to mention having to help them pack). Open the door to the limo for Ike and Tina, and they stiff me for six hours of back-breaking work. Nothing! So I can certainly attest to Ike and Tina leaving together. Too bad they both didn’t beat the crap out of each other!

Something don’t jibe here. But I bet we’ll sort it out in the comments.


  • Sammy

    I thought it was the Dallas Plaza formerly Ramada where they split up, after they had left the Statler?

  • Rawlins Gilliland

    I had always heard that the show where Tina walked out was at the Forrest Theater on what is now MLK Blvd. I’m guessing ’75 since I lived in Alabama most of ’76 unless it was summer break. We caught that show & considering that venue, it’s a stretch that Ike & Tina were at the same era playing the Statler which was a major venue. But I suspect that one might find that the Turners stayed at the Statler but were not playing there. Just an educated guess considing I caugh ’em that show at the Forrest which was even them beyond the ‘vintage’ state of affairs, condition wise.

  • BenD

    @Sammy: I always heard that the Ramada is who took Tina in that night. She didn’t have enough money but talked the owner into letting her stay one night

  • bryce n

    I was employed at the Statler in summer of 1974 . The hotel was remodeling 5 floors that summer and we were on the moving and prep crew. Grunt work but a great job with good friends. I recall it was the Statler where Tina fled from the physically abusive Ike. I know Mike the bellman and while he seems positive Ike and Tina left together, I had no idea they had Internet access for patients of Rusk State Hospital for the criminally insane, his last known address.

  • Sam Childers

    Brendan and “D” editors I have it right. I did state in a paper presented at the Dallas Legacies History Conference in 2007 that Tina left Ike while staying at the Statler in 1975. I re-checked Tina Turner’s autobiography, I, Tina (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1986) pp. 187 — 191, and it confirms the Dallas incident occurred in 1976. I thought perhaps it had been a typographical error in the presentation’s subsequent publication in the spring 2007 issue of Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas. I referred back to the original manuscript on my hard drive and apparently my fat fingers typed 1975 which stuck and fell through the cracks in my final fact-check for the article. Mea Culpa!

  • Mike

    Do not listen to Bryce N. He is still upset that his wife left him to be with me. He has a little mans complex primarily due to his rediculously small appendage.

  • Seems like it wasn’t too long after that my parents took me to see her do a solo show at Granny’s Dinner Theater in North Dallas. As I recall, there were less than 50 people in the audience.

  • Sammy

    Got me BenD. I think that’s correct – the Ramada took her in.

  • Well Gawrsh y’all

    This is great Stuff! I’m just hoping we can find somebody who knows if Richard M Nixon was actually staying at the Statler Hilton the day JFK got assassinated. Word says Tricky Dee was attending a soft drink bottler’s convention as a guest of Joan Crawford and her hubby, the president of Pepsico


    author of GERMANIA a Novel or,
    Who Was Hitler’s Successor and why the heck should you care?

  • Sam Childers

    Nixon, whose New York law firm represented Pepsi, did spend the night in Dallas prior to Kennedy’s visit. He arrived Thursday November 21, attended Pepsi meetings (with PepsiCo member Joan Crawford in attendance) and departed Love Field Friday morning shortly before President and Mrs. Kennedy arrived. Nixon’s accommodations were at the long-gone Baker Hotel. The Dallas Morning News noted that while there was a guard posted outside of Joan Crawford’s Baker suite, there was no guard at the door to Nixon’s room.

  • Chopper

    I want to hear more from Mike and Bryce. Sounds like they really know their stuff.

  • Me too! GUYS?

    Your public awaits!

  • frank daniels

    I went to that grannys dinner theater show, and she was great!