May 1, 2009
LAS VEGAS -- Danny Gans, a singer, actor and impressionist who for nearly two decades was one of the most popular entertainers on the Las Vegas Strip, died suddenly in his sleep today. He was 52.
Officials at Wynn Resorts, where Gans had performed at the Encore Theater since February, and at The Mirage, where he performed for more than eight years before that, reported that Gans died suddenly in his sleep.
"All of us in The Mirage family are deeply saddened to learn of Danny's passing," Scott Sibella, president of The Mirage, said in a statement released through parent company MGM Mirage Inc. "We all knew of his devotion to his family and our hearts and prayers are with his wife and children."
Gans was found dead about 3 a.m. by his wife, Julie, at their home in Henderson, said Wynn Resorts spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne.
Henderson police did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment, and the Clark County coroner's office said no information about Gans was immediately available.
Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, called Gans' death "a profoundly tragic event that leaves us all sad and speechless."
"The loss of Danny to his wife Julie, his children Amy, Andrew and Emily is at this moment impossible to comprehend," Wynn said in a statement issued on behalf of his company, himself and his wife, Elaine Wynn.
"All of us ... are devastated at the loss of our brilliant, talented and loving friend," Wynn said.
Gans was a hard-working, eager-to-please nightclub entertainer who did rapid-fire imitations of personalities ranging from Tony Bennett to Al Pacino to Sarah Vaughan.He performed a one-man show, "Danny Gans on Broadway: The Man of Many Voices," in 1995 at the Neil Simon Theater in New York before returning to Las Vegas.
Gans was active in the Las Vegas community where he hosted charity events and was featured prominently on billboards in and around town.The electronic marquee in front of the Encore posted his picture and the message: "Our friend forever, Danny Gans. 1956-2009."
He opened Feb. 10 in the 1,500-seat Encore Theater in a concourse between the posh Encore and Wynn resorts on the Strip. Show nights were Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Dunne said Gans did not perform Thursday night.
Gans' manager, Chip Lightman, released a statement Friday saying Gans would be remembered as an entertainer and a man who loved his family, God and the city of Las Vegas.
"Danny has been my partner and dear friend for over 18 years. I will truly miss him," Lightman said.