Published Friday, May 1, 2009 | 8:03 a.m.
Updated Friday, May 1, 2009 | 6:37 p.m.
- Russ Fons, Las Vegas Broadcast Center Bureau Chief, interviews Danny Gans in 1996
- Gans talks about leaving the Mirage for Encore and working for Steve Wynn. (Jan. 2009)
- Gans talks about how the show's format allows for flexibility. (Jan. 2009)
- Danny Gans on how the economy is affecting the show. (Jan. 2009)
Danny Gans at Encore
- Danny Gans: Here, he’s Mr. Close Enough (2-23-2009)
- No Mirage: Gans makes Strip return at Encore (2-7-2009)
- Danny Gans reveals secrets of his new residency at Encore (2-6-2009)
- Gans shapes encore show for Wynn (with audio) (1-30-2009)
Beyond the Sun
Las Vegas Strip performer Danny Gans died Friday morning at age 52.
Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne said Gans died at his Henderson home off Horizon Ridge Parkway. She called the death sudden.
The Clark County Coroner's Office on Friday afternoon said the cause and manner of death are pending. Henderson Police Department detectives are conducting a death investigation, but preliminary results have not turned up any evidence of foul play, authorities said.
In a statement Friday morning, Steve Wynn said the death was unexpected and devastating.
"Elaine and I and all of us in the Company are devastated at the loss of our brilliant, talented and loving friend. One of the most unique human beings and entertainers in the world has been taken from us in an unexpected moment. A profoundly tragic event that leaves us all sad and speechless. The loss of Danny to his wife Julie, his children Amy, Andrew & Emily is at this moment impossible to comprehend. We will all try to go on with our lives without our dear friend. At this moment it seems almost impossible," Wynn said.
After stints at the Stratosphere and the Rio and eight years at the Mirage, where he reigned in his self-titled theater, Gans recently moved across the street and into the new Encore Theatre.
He was a quick-change artist, using his supple voice, elastic face and body English to jump from character to character.
In his 90-minute-plus program, Gans delivered a buffet of impressions: Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin — in self-duet with Jerry Lewis, and the inevitable Elvis and George Burns.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Las Vegas was made better with Gans as a performer.
“Danny Gans brought joy to the lives of the millions of Nevadans and tourists who came to Las Vegas to see his show. He was a talented performer who used his celebrity to give back to our community and those in need. Las Vegas is a better place because of Danny Gans. He will truly be missed," Reid said in a statement.
Sen. John Ensign echoed those sentiments: “Danny Gans was a talented entertainer and a valuable member of our community whose contributions to help those in need will be greatly missed. Darlene and I will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn such a sudden loss.”
Henderson dispatchers received a 911 call at 3:44 a.m. Friday that a man was having difficulty breathing at his home, said Todd Rasmussen, spokesman for the Henderson Police Department.
Police officers and paramedics were dispatched to his Henderson home two minutes later and arrived at 3:51 a.m. When paramedics arrived they pronounced Gans dead at the scene and he was not taken to a hospital, Rasmussen said.
Rose Marie Scelfo, who was visiting Las Vegas from New Jersey, said she saw Gans’ last show Wednesday night.
“We were shocked when we saw it on television today,” she said about the news of his death. “Your heart goes out to the family. They seem like such a nice family.”
Lyle Merrick, who was visiting from Delaware, learned about Gans’ death as she looked across the street at the Encore marquee on Friday.
She and her husband, Larry, also saw Gans’ final performance Wednesday. They had center seats in the theater and wanted to see him again after watching his performance last year at the Mirage.
“He just put everything he had into what he was trying to give to his audience,” Lyle Merrick said. “It was wonderful. He was the best I had even seen in an entertainer.”
Friends and fellow Strip performers remembered Gans as a man who loved his family and his work.
"Danny Gans will not only be remembered as a Las Vegas entertainer, but as a man who loved his family, loved God and loved the city of Las Vegas," Gans' manager, Chip Lightman, said in a statement. "Danny has been my partner and dear friend for over 18 years. I will truly miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife of 28 years, Julie, and his three children, Amy, Andrew and Emily."
Laura Herlovich, co owner of PR Plus, worked with Gans on and off over the years since his days at the Mirage.
"Danny is a major personality and an iconic Las Vegas entertainer and a really compassionate, caring and wonderful man," she said, adding he will be remembered for working with charities including the Make A Wish Foundation and children's golf charities.
Gans was mourned Friday at Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which is the owner of the Rio hotel-casino just off the Las Vegas Strip where Gans performed for years.
"The entire Harrah's Entertainment family is deeply saddened by the loss of Danny Gans," Harrah's Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman said. "He was not only an incredibly talented performer, but was also a devoted family man and an important contributor to our community. We are proud that he entertained thousands of guests at our Rio property over many years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, friends and fans. Danny will never be forgotten.''
Magician Lance Burton said: "The news of Danny Gans' passing is unbelievably shocking. Las Vegas has lost one of its best ambassadors. He was quite simply one of the greatest entertainers ever to step foot onto the stage. In my 27 years in Las Vegas, I have never seen anyone better."
Wayne Newton, a Las Vegas icon for five decades, commented on the death through a spokeswoman.
"I would like to extend my sympathy to Danny’s wife and family. Danny was an immense talent and a great friend," Newton said. "He brought so much to Las Vegas, both on and off the stage. He gave his time and talent to local charities, and can be credited with creating an era of impressionist entertainers on the Strip. I will miss him."
Encore is nearly a mirror image of the Wynn Las Vegas, from the brown glass exterior to the style and placement of the logo — and it's just as luxurious as the original. Some call Encore the younger, hipper sister of Wynn.
Located steps from Wynn Las Vegas, yet under the same roof, Encore's fanciful and intimate atmosphere is unlike anything anywhere, with an environment that is uniquely Wynn and distinctly Encore.
Steve Wynn spared no detail in his newest property when designing Encore. The casino floor is decorated in rich reds, browns and purples with mosaic butterflies embedded into the marble floors and fresh flowers greeting guests in the casino atrium.
Luxury doesn't end of the casino floor. Encore boasts 2,034 impeccable guest rooms and suites. The standard suites resort accommodations are 700 square feet with the larger suites measuring in at 5,800 square feet. Standard suites guest rooms feature plasma screen TVs, high-end bath products, spectacular views of the Strip, and also plush linens and mattresses, which can be purchased in the Encore store, in case you can't get enough.
Dining options include Chef Theo Schoenegger's fine Italian cuisine at Chef Theo Schoenegger's, Sinatra's and the pan-Asian café creations of Chef Jet Tila at Wazuzu.
Guests can also dine on steaks and chops at star Botero Steak. At Switch, Encore's French restaurant, the walls come to life mid-meal and your surroundings appear to change before your eyes. For decadent, hip Asian dining before or after a night at one of resort’s ultra-chic nightclubs, visit Andrea’s, the newest dining experience at Encore.
XS headlines Encore's nightlife and pool party scene while Danny Gans takes care of humor and entertainment. Encore also features two of the most celebrated nightlife experiences in Vegas, XS Nightclub and Surrender. Both feature main room dance floors that flow outside to pools, patio spaces and gaming areas.
When the temperature rises, don’t miss Encore Beach Club, the premier daylife destination that features three tiered pools and luxurious cabanas and bungalows with private infinity pools.
Encore Esplanade features 11 high-end retail stores, with brands like Hermes, Chanel, Loro Piana and Rock, and Republic Piaget luxury watches. The resort also has a Forbes Five-Star spa, a salon and an 18-hole, on-site golf course, which is adjacent to the Wynn.