HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — An experienced magician died of an apparent suicide at the Magic Castle in Hollywood Friday night.
In a news release Saturday, the Academy of Magical Arts confirmed that an illusionist was found dead at the club, which is located at 7001 Franklin Ave. According to the Magic Castle, Los Angeles police ruled the death a suicide. The AMA identified the victim as Daryl Easton, 61. who was performing at the club this week.
Easton’s death prompted the closure of the club Friday night. However, it was reopen Saturday morning.
“In respect for the art, the show must go on,” Magic Castle wrote. “We will re-open on Saturday AM.”
In its news release, the AMA described Easton as having an “encyclopedic knowledge of magic.”
“Daryl was a World Champion, first-place FISM Gold medal winning, close-up magician with over 40 years of experience in both performing and selling the finest magic in the world,” the AMA wrote. “Daryl performed as a headline act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for seven years fine tuning his already encyclopedic knowledge of magic. Daryl has performed literally thousands of shows for audiences as diverse as the Witch Doctors on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu to the movers and shakers of the political world at the Presidential Ball in Washington, D.C.”
The Magic Castle, which is run by the non-profit Academy of Magical Arts, bills itself as a private club for magicians.
A spokesperson for the club said reports on TMZ and in the New York Daily News that Easton was found only in his underwear or in a closet were erroneous.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen on Saturday spoke to people who knew Easton well.
“He was very funny. He was warm. And friendly and funny. That’s why this is shocking,” said Steve Segal.
He said he’s stunned by the news.
Segal appreciated Easton’s brand of magic — he specialized in close-up tricks using cards, cups and balls.
“It’s much more personal,” Segal says, “Because it’s one-on-one, like you’re talking to me, instead of being on a stage.”
Segal said his son first introduced him to Easton at conventions and shows where Easton sold his magic.
Easton, who was from San Jose and who lived in Northern California, was formerly a headline act at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas for seven years before moving on in 2003.