Show producer Dick Feeney reports Dave Swan — who starred as King Arthur for 17 years in Excalibur’s “Tournament of Kings” — died Tuesday night at a local hospice facility after a long bout with cancer. He was 69.
“He was in no pain and on no medications. He was up joking and walking around the day before, but the cancer finally got him,” Feeney writes in an e-mail.
The affable Welshman still had his characteristic good humor last November, when reached about a benefit concert put together by fellow entertainers to help pay his medical bills. Swan said King Arthur wasn’t finally felled by ongoing chemotherapy or the removal of a good chunk of his lung because of cancer.
“I’ve got a little arthritis in the hip, just to make things perfect,” he noted, relating how he tried to convince show producer Patrick Jackson, “an old man like King Arthur would probably limp onstage.”
“Your breathing’s not too good either,” Jackson couldn’t help but notice.
The two finally concurred that Swan or someone else might get hurt by the swords and horses, so he bowed out of the show in early June 2007.
Swan (born John Henry David Jones) also was the original host of “Legends in Concert” at the Imperial Palace for the show's first six years in the 1980s, and he performed a musical comedy act in Feeney’s long-running afternoon show “Viva Las Vegas.”