Friday, May 08, 2009

Exclusive: Alicia Jacobs speaks to Tabloid Baby about the life and death of her close friend Danny Gans

Alicia Jacobs, the beauty queen-turned-Las Vegas TV entertainment reporter who broke the news of the sudden death of her close friend Danny Gans, says she’ll be “shocked” if toxicological reports show that steroids or drug use were involved.

And while she acknowledged a close 13-year friendship with the Vegas headliner who died suddenly last week at 52, she denied that she and Gans were ever romantically involved.

We spoke to Alicia Jacobs this afternoon. We’d emailed her a few questions about the case and she asked us to call her because she was “confused” about what we’d been reporting about the Gans case. She said she wanted to talk to us, even though friends had warned of our “mean-spirited” coverage. Alicia Jacobs said she was more concerned that we’d portrayed her “wonderful” 13-year friendship with Gans as “inappropriate.”

“We had a wonderful friendship outside of professional circles,” she said. “Danny and I gave each other advice. He gave me advice on my career. He’d make a suggestion about my performance on air, and he was always right... Ten years ago, he helped me through a very difficult period when a close friend had died.”

When we asked if the relationship had ever been romantic, Alicia Jacobs sounded to be taken aback.

“No. Oh my gosh, no,” she said. “We were just very great friends.”

Jacobs acknowledged that the friendship caused her to become a central player in the Gans mystery when it was revealed that Gans’ manager informed her of the death around 4 a.m. on May 1st, minutes after paramedics had arrived at Gans’ home.

“Yes, I was the first to break the news,” she said. “I got the call around 4 a.m. I don’t know the exact time because I’d been in the ICU with my father (who was seriously ill). I don’t now if I was his best friend in the local media. He was a very good friend.”


She said she thought that local coverage of the death was adequate, and that she herself had reported in teh timeline of events leading to the tragedy. She said she was surprised to hear that other Las Vegas journalists had upbraided this news organization for asking questions about Gans’ death (one print journalist for a major daily told us we were “tasteless, shameless and/or crazy and just wrong in every way imaginable”), and said she did her best in reporting her own insider’s story.

“Tell me how I could have done my job better,” she said, and not in a confrontational way, for although dubbed The Queen of The Celebrity Scoop by Vegas Magazine, Alicia Jacobs exhibited no brashness, anger or attitude, speaking straightforwardly if guardedly.

The only time she bristled was when asked why she as an insider didn’t report in advance on Gans’ funeral on Tuesday.

“With all due respect, there’s a reason for that,” she said. “You can understand how his family feels. His wife is devastated. Julie is a very private woman and those were her wishes. It was his wishes that his funeral be very low key and private. How could you not respect their wishes? I understand that people want to know what happened, but there will be a more public memorial later this month. Danny was a public figure and a very well known person. His wife is not.”


Alicia Jacobs expressed surprise when told that that Vegas insiders we’ve spoken to mentioned the word “steroids” in connection with the case.

“It’s my opinion and it’s been my experience that whenever you see a man who’s in great shape with a good physique, you say he’s on steroids,” she said. “You’ve seen it. From Carrot Top on, they all get accused of that.

"I can’t imagine that he would have done anything that would be unhealthy because the Danny that I knew was a complete health fanatic. He lived on egg whites and spinach and apples—a much cleaner life than I could lead. He rarely drank a glass of wine, for all I know, he never smoked. I would be really shocked.”

And drugs? Danny Gans had undergone various sports-related surgeries in recent years.

“I would find it hard to believe that he would (be a drug abuser),” she said. “I can’t imagine how he would be taking pain killers or doing any drugs and function the way that he did. I can’t imagine that he would be able to do what he did. He really was an athlete when he was onstage.”


Alicia Jacobs spoke knowing that the toxicological report from the Clark County Coroner could reveal something that would tarnish Danny Gans’ image. But she said she doesn’t expect that it will.

“Danny was extremely religious and extremely spiritual and it meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to him because God was in his life and he tried to bring it into my life.... he was a very alive person and he was really there for me. And yeah, in a lot of ways he was a spiritual leader for a lot of people. Mainly his good friends.”

No comments: