LAS VEGAS — Gloria Dea, touted as the first magician to perform on what would become the Las Vegas Strip in the early 1940s, has died. She was 100, AP reported.
Dea died Saturday at her Las Vegas residence, said LaNae Jenkins, the director of clinical services for Valley Hospice, who was one of Dea’s caretakers. A memorial is being planned.
Dea also appeared in several movies in the 1940s and ’50s, including “King of the Congo,” starring Buster Crabbe, in 1952.
Dea moved from California to Las Vegas in 1980. Famed magician David Copperfield befriended her in her later years, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Gloria was amazing. She was charming funny and engaging,” Copperfield told the newspaper. “And in Vegas, as a young magician, she started it all. It was an honor to know her.”
Dea was 19 when she performed at El Rancho Vegas on May 14, 1941.
Her show at the Roundup Room is the first recorded appearance by a magician in Las Vegas, the Review-Journal reported Sunday.
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