Gans has final word in life story


In another eerie twist, one of entertainer Danny Gans' final acts was the completion of his autobiography on Wednesday, the day of his last show and two days before he died.

Gans' manager, Chip Lightman, said the manuscript, in the works for about a year, tentatively has the working title "Voices in My Head."

Gans, a Las Vegas headliner since 1996, died early Friday at his home. He was 52. The cause of death is unknown.

Gans had been headlining at Steve Wynn's Encore hotel since early this year, after an 81/2-year run at The Mirage.

Lightman said the book will cover "how he got here," from growing up in Southern California, to dealing with a baseball career cut short by injury, years of honing his act on the corporate entertainment circuit, raising a family, and details about his headliner deals in Las Vegas.

The manuscript is being edited, Lightman said, and a meeting with a publisher is set for Monday.

When Gans ended his show on Wednesday, he departed from his regular ending by going with "The Curtain Falls," the song Bobby Darin closed his show with for years.

Darin, a Las Vegas headliner in the 1960s and 1970s, died of heart-related issues in 1973 at the age of 37.

Most nights, Gans finished with "Apollo," doing quick-hit songs of such legends as Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles, who performed at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater.

Gans had another project in the works: Wynn had arranged to have Hollywood director Brett Ratner shoot a music video of Gans performing "What a Wonderful World" in 10 voices, including Armstrong's. It will be a part of a CD that's being released in four weeks by Hi-Fi Records.

"It was his favorite song," said Lightman. "He loved it because it was about encouragement and optimism."

The book will feature a similar message, he said.

In another development, sources said Gans' wife, Julie, reached out to her late husband's inner circle by inviting the band, crew, ushers and others to the family home for lunch on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, she has requested that donations be made on Gans' behalf to Nevada Childhood Cancer, one of his charities. For more information, go to DannyGans.com and click on charities.

Incidentally, Lightman said the last song Gans' added to his show was "Human," by the Las Vegas band The Killers. Rolling Stone readers voted it the Best Song of 2008.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Ida Ljungqvist from Tanzania was named Playboy's Playmate of the Year on Saturday at the Palms. Ljungqvist, 27, is the first African-born playmate and the magazine's 50th Playmate of the Year. Ljundqvist, who came to the United States five years ago from Dar es Saluam, Tanzania, to study fashion, is featured in the June issue.

SIGHTINGS

At the Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville: Michael Jackson, with sheiks from Dubai, who had two horses in the race, and Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, with Miss California USA Carrie Prejean. On Thursday in Louisville, former UNLV basketball star Shawn Marion, spotted dining at Jack Fry's, a popular high-end restaurant. After leaving Jack Fry's, he was seen ordering takeout at a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and chowing down on the fast food in the back seat of a Rolls Royce sedan. ... On the Palms hotel casino marquee Saturday: "THANK YOU DANNY."

THE PUNCH LINE

"It's (swine flu) bad in Mexico. They're not allowing anyone to go to the soccer games. They're playing them, just no fans are in the stands. Just like soccer here in the United States." -- David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

 

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