Monday, May 04, 2009

Danny Gans texted special friend before death

"Gans sent numerous text messages...
He had been texting like never before in recent months..."

Monday morning and the Las Vegas news media have offered no new reportage about the mysterious death of 52-year-old Strip superstar Danny Gans beyond a few more remembrances from local celebrities. Despite the rumors, speculation and questions about what killed the musical impressionist in his sleep Friday morning-- not to mention the economic impact Gans' passing will have on the resort city, it's evident that the paid reporters and their editors are content to wait the weeks it may take for toxicology reports to make their way through the system so they can report those findings without questioning.

Oddly, the one new story this morning, from entertainment columnist Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, focuses on Alicia Jacobs, the local television personality who we revealed last night as apparently the first person that Gans' manager informed of Gans' death.

The former beauty queen's longtime friendship with Gans is painted in the same spiritual context that Gans used to package his own story, while at the same time revealed to be much closer than that of a reporter and subject:

"...Jacobs, at the time an entertainment reporter for KTNV-TV, Channel 13, met Gans during an interview the week he opened at the Stratosphere in May 1996.

"(Gans' manager) Chip Lightman insisted I see the show before I interview Danny." She sort of balked but agreed to watch the show. "He came out on stage in that dinky little theater and took my breath away."

During the interview, they discovered they lived a few streets apart at Spanish Trail. They hit it off and had been close friends since. "He was always giving me pointers."

A week before Gans died last Friday, they were having a telephone conversation about his new music video "What a Wonderful World" being produced by Hollywood director Brett Ratner. Jacobs said she wanted to interview him about it, that it would be "a fun story."

Gans then stunned her with a comment that came out of left field.

"He said, 'When I die and you do my obituary piece, it will be the most brilliant work of your career.'"

She shushed him. She didn't want to hear it.

Last Thursday, Jacobs was in tears, in the intensive care unit at St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Siena campus. She had just gotten the news: Her father, Ralph Berger, was on life support and suffering multiple organ failure.

Gans sent numerous text messages saying he was praying for her father. He had been texting like never before in recent months, she said. "I had this sense that he was on a mission of some sort. He seemed more motivated than usual. He had these brand new projects."

When her telephone rang at 4 a.m. Friday, and she heard Lightman's voice, she expected to hear bad news about her father.

Instead, Lightman delivered the news that Gans had "passed away in his sleep."

Devastated, Jacobs took a statement from Lightman and headed for KVBC to break the news.

"It was about 6:30, 7. My cell phone rang, and it was my mother (Brenda). She said, 'Oh my God, they just took your dad off life support.'"

When she went back to the hospital after filing her reports, her father had come back from the brink.

"He was sitting up and talking.

"I feel like Danny gave me my father back." "

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