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Man says he’s exposing David Copperfield illusion in slip-and-fall lawsuit

A London chef who once cooked for the queen of England is exposing a big David Copperfield illusion, while suing the MGM Grand and its star.

Copperfield has a vanishing-crowd routine called “Lucky #13,” according to legal papers obtained by the RJ. The illusion goes like this.

Thirteen audience volunteers are invited to sit in a cage onstage, they’re given lights to hold, covered by a curtain, the curtain drops to reveal they’re not there anymore, then they reappear in the back of the theater.

How do they do that?

Gavin Cox, who has been suing Copperfield for years over a slip-and-fall, is now claiming to reveal the answer this week, the same week Copperfield is getting press as a co-producer of “Now You See Me 2,” which opens Friday. (Chris Lawrence writes about Copperfield’s role in making the movie in his column on Page 1D.)

In 2013, tourist Cox, 55, and a dozen others voluntarily walked onstage to be part of the trick. The following is what Cox told London’s Daily Mail.

■ After he signed up, Cox was asked by an assistant if he could run, if he was a magician, and if he was a member of the press.

■ Once the curtain obscured the cage of volunteers, different illusion lights began shining out from the box to pretend the volunteers were still there with their lights.

■ However, once the cage was covered by that curtain, stage assistants rushed the volunteers through dark, secret passageways and around the side of the theater, then entered the back of the theater, standing there with torches, to the crowd’s applause.

Ta-dah? That’s the big to-do?

Cox says while he was hustling through dark and dusty construction passageways, there were hands on his back, he slipped and fell at a ramp, he got up and finished the trick so as not to disappoint Copperfield, and Copperfield asked him and the others not to reveal the secrets of running and stuff.

But Cox was taken by ambulance to a hospital with a dislocated shoulder.

When Cox and wife Mihn returned to Britain, he had chronic pain, headaches and confusion, and a scan showed a lesion on his brain, his lawsuit contends.

The couple moved to Vegas in 2014 to see doctors here under a medical lien, as Cox, thus jobless and already down $400,000 in medical care, underwent operations on his neck and back, while battling permanent brain damage, they say.

Meanwhile, the couple’s 25-year-old son remains in the UK caring for their 11-year-old son.

Copperfield and the MGM Grand “vehemently deny the claims,” and “deny all allegations,” blaming Cox’s medical problems on “pre-existing and/or unrelated medical conditions,” the Daily Mail reported.

I left messages for attorneys for Cox, Copperfield and the MGM Grand on Wednesday. No replies by deadline.


Speaking of “magic,” Rio headliners Penn &Teller “proudly do tricks,” not magic, Penn Jillette wrote in a Parade magazine interview he just did in May with Jesse Eisenberg, who stars in “Now You See Me 2.”

Penn &Teller are presenting their own wacky movie, “Director’s Cut,” at the end of Thursday night’s Las Vegas Film Festival in the Palms hotel.

The festival runs through Sunday, as you probably know from reading Chris Lawrence in the RJ.

Jillette will present Thursday’s screening of Penn &Teller’s crowd-funded comedy-horror film. It stars Jillette as a stalker who buys a crowd-funded horror movie, edits himself into the film, and may kidnap someone. How’s that for a meta movie?


Blue Man Group is bringing back last year’s special show for autistic children and their families this Sunday afternoon.

The Luxor stage show will cut back on its light and sound levels (and makes earplugs available) to provide a calmer environment in the theater and in the lobby.

Last year, 858 people took in the autistic-friendly show.

Tickets cost $36, and the net income will go to the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation.

There will be “quiet zones” in the lobby, with bean bags, and crayon pages.

Doug Elfman can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

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