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Jason Scott was magical to end

Minutes into Friday’s memorial for mentalist Jason Scott on the deck at the Palms’ ghostbar, a shooting star blazed over the Strip.

For the 50 to 100 friends who had gathered, it was an eerie farewell for a rising star in show business.

Scott died of unknown causes on Tuesday at his home in Summerlin. He was 33.

Autopsy results were inconclusive and the coroner’s office could need another 12 weeks to determine the cause of death, said Scott’s manager, Clinton Billups Jr.

Scott, whose full name was Jason Scott Ogilvie, was remembered for his love of magic and psychic phenomena.

Billups, who had produced The Amazing Kreskin show for years before looking for another star, searched through more than 100 videotapes without success.

“Everybody seemed to be doing mind-reading acts from the 20th Century, not the 21st,” Billups said. “I was looking for the person who would do for mentalism what David Blaine had done for magic.”

About five years ago, Billups found Scott on the Internet, after doing a Google search under “mind readers.” Scott, who was making $100 a night performing magic at adult entertainment clubs when he arrived in Las Vegas in the mid-1990s, was commanding $10,000 a night for special engagements at the end, Billups said.

Scott left the House of Blues Foundation Room two years ago for a gig at The Playboy Club, where he was to appear Tuesday, the day he died.

Scott got his first magic kit at age 7 in Redding, Calif. Later, when asked how he got into magic, Scott often told interviewers or fans he really enjoyed freaking people out.

“I verified this with his mother,” Billups said. “Jason’s kindergarten teacher called his parents one day and said he was freaking out the kids, because he was making crayons move around on his desk. That was the first time his parents realized his interest in magic and psychic phenomena.”

Last summer after Scott was hired for filmmaker Steven Spielberg‘s birthday party at a secret site near Los Angeles, Billups asked how it went. For starters, a limo with blacked-out windows transported him from the airport to an airplane hangar, Scott told Billups.

Everything went OK, Scott said, except for “one little problem,” a guy who kept hovering around him while he was performing. “He was on top of me,” trying to figure out the magic tricks.

Scott finally said, “Sir, can you back off.”

The man who was dying of curiosity was Clint Eastwood.

“So Jason told ‘Dirty Harry’ to back off,” Billups said.

A year ago, Scott was cast as one of the original 10 contestants for NBC’s “Phenomena.” But he parted company less than 24 hours before the show aired live, because “the producers wanted something much more mainstream,” Billups said.

“His craft was too important for him to be something that he wasn’t. He remained true to himself.”

MEDIA UPDATE

KXNT-AM, 840 is adding syndicated financial talk-show host Dave Ramsey to its lineup. Ramsey, syndicated on more than 350 stations, moves into the 7-10 p.m. slot and will focus on “life, love and relationships, and how they happen to revolve around money.” He and KXNT program director Jack Landreth worked in Nashville together. …

Over at KDWN-AM, 720, “The Heidi Harris Show” is starting 90 minutes earlier. Harris’ new hours are 6-10 a.m.

SIGHTINGS

Shayne Lamas, winner of the latest “The Bachelor,” was in Las Vegas again this weekend after making headlines for her hookup two weeks ago with local magazine executive Justin Weniger. Her relationship with Weniger, who co-owns 944 Magazine publisher Wendoh Media, is raising questions about her relationship with “bachelor” Matt Grant. … Actress Michelle Pfeiffer, at Crazy Horse Paris (MGM Grand) on Friday with her husband, TV producer David E. Kelley, and sister, actress Dee Dee Pfeiffer. … NBA great Patrick Ewing, with his wife and son, Georgetown University star Patrick Ewing Jr., among the opening night diners Friday at Yellowtail Sushi (Bellagio). … Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni and Detroit Pistons assistant coach Darrell Walker, at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday. … Boxer Zab Judah and a friend, bowling at Lucky Strike (Rio) while Mike Tyson sat with them, but chose to read a book.

THE PUNCH LINE

“This (Batman) movie is expected to gross more money this weekend than even the Exxon up the block.” — Jimmy Kimmel

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

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