Hundreds of celebrities basked in the limelight of the "Party of the Decade'' at Atlantis on Thursday evening. But what about the unsung hero of the evening; the man behind the festivities and in particular the stunning illumination and fireworks display that lit up the Palm Jumeirah.

Jerry Inzerillo, President of Kerzner Entertainment Group, a division of Kerzner International Limited, had just watched the culmination of a year's work and the biggest show of his career to date; quite a feat when you consider he also arranged the entertainment at John Travolta's 50th birthday bash and the inauguration of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Jerry, who is of Italian-American descent, is responsible for heightening the visibility of Kerzner International, the developer of Atlantis, and its properties in the Bahamas, the US, the Indian Ocean, Morocco and Mexico. Despite all the hard work and excesses of the weekend, he still found the time to exclusively speak to tabloid! a few days after the party.
unforgetable party.

The 54-year-old said: "Our chairman, Sol Kerzner, likes to give big splashy openings that get a lot of worldwide attention. I'm responsible for keeping the profile of the company alive by coordinating, producing and implementing initiatives that keep us fun and dynamic. A considerable amount of effort went into the official opening of Atlantis; we had been preparing for about a year.''

Atlantis's fireworks display was even bigger than the one witnessed at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics earlier this year. But Jerry insists he never made a comparison between those two events; he was just determined to throw a party that nobody would ever forget.
"We planned a theatrical reception, a spectacular Arabian dinner and unprecedented entertainment; all in an intimate setting. Kylie Minogue put on a great show, as did Nawal Al Zoghbi but there was one link missing.

I wanted an emotional bridge between food, beverage and festivity and I really wanted to grab people emotionally; really grab them by the heart. That's why we put together a team of technicians to tell the story of Atlantis via illuminations. It was the birth of an icon.

"I always knew it was going to have to be my best work because of the scale and complexity of what we were dealing with. Furthermore, one of the key differences about this particular opening was that instead of having just one visionary, we had three visionaries and I wanted to do something that could equal the work done so far.

"We had Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and his vision for Dubai; we had Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World and Executive Chairman of Nakheel, and his dynamic vision for the Palm Jumeirah and of course there was the extraordinary 40-year track record of Sol Kerzner.''

Jerry admitted it was, without question, the most challenging and satisfying party he had ever thrown, while defending the event's huge price tag at a time when the world remains in the grip of a global economic downturn.

"This party was planned a long time ago. A lot of elements of the budget could not be reversed and a lot had been organised before this current economic climate was known. I've actually received loads of e-mails from people who said it was great to hear some good news for a change.''

Good News

It will be difficult for Jerry to better the Atlantis party but he plans to give it a go anyway at the company's next hotel opening in Cape Town next year, a particularly poignant occasion for Kerzner International as it marks Sol's return to his native South Africa.

Jerry, who has been married to former CNN anchor Prudence Solomon for 11 years, has only ever made one rare foray into popular culture himself and he cites the birth of his daughter, 2-year-old Helena Zakade Inzerillo, as the reason he accepted a cameo role in Casino Royale, most famous for Daniel Craig's debut as the British spy James Bond.

Jerry smiles as his wife and daughter make an appearance in the lobby at that exact moment, telling them to "have a cookie'' while the interview wraps up.

"I've been asked to do a lot of cameos over the years by my friends in the music and film businesses. Up until recently I'd always declined. But one night I was having dinner with Robert De Niro, one of my closest friends, and I told him the difference between our careers was that when he [De Niro] was long gone his children and grandchildren would have a visual history of his body of work whereas there is no visual history of my own work.

"So when my little one was born I got a little emotional and I agreed to make one appearance. I was asked to play myself in Casino Royale and I did it so my daughter could have a little visualisation of her father at that time and before he lost all his hair.''