James Swingos, owner of former Cleveland hot spot Swingos Celebrity Inn, dies at age 73
By Cliff Pinckard, Northeast Ohio Media Group
on August 12, 2015 at 1:09 AM, updated August 12, 2015 at 1:14 AM
CLEVELAND, Ohio â€” James Swingos, the owner of Swingos Celebrity Inn, which was a favorite spot of musicians and sports stars in the 1960s and ’70s, has died at the age of 73.
Swingos rose to fame with his hotel on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 18th Street. Swingos and his grandfather, Nick Swingos, first opened the Keg & Quarter restaurant in the Downtowner Hotel at the location, then later purchased the hotel and renamed it Swingos Celebrity Inn.
It was featured briefly in the Cameron Crowe 2000 movie “Almost Famous” starring Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson, and Bette Midler mentions it in song. A documentary on the hotel currently is in production.
Sports stars such as Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain and Billy Martin also visited the hotel, which was open from 1967 to 1984. It now is a Comfort Inn.
In 2013, Swingos recalled giving Springsteen and his band a break on the cost of a room. He also said Led Zeppelin had a habit of “redecorating” their rooms.
“I loved Led Zeppelin, because they always traveled with their accountant,” Swingos said. “Whatever damage they did to their rooms, the accountant always took out his checkbook and paid for everything down to the penny. I didn’t mind because I always got new stuff for whatever rooms they stayed in after they left.”
Swingos is survived by his wife, Betty, and children Nicholas, Matthew and Daniel, and six grandchildren.
Calling hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Berry-McGreevy Funeral Home, 26691 Detroit Road, Westlake. Funeral service is 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 22909 Center Ridge Road, Rocky River.