Published at 04:23h on March 18, 2023
Last update: March 18, 2023 at 04:23h.
Glorea dea, the first magician to perform at the Las Vegas Strip, passed away on Saturday, March 18th, 2010. Image: notreCinema)
“Gloria was amazing,” Copperfield told the
Las Vegas Review-Journal. “She was charming, funny, and engaging. She was a young magician in Vegas and it was an honor to know her. It was an honor to know her.”Youngest to Oldest
Dea was born Gloria Metzner on August 25, 1922 in Oakland. Dea was inspired by her father, Leo Metzner, an amateur magician who called him “The Great Leo”. She began performing magic tricks at age 4. Dea, then only 19, performed in the Roundup Room of the El Rancho Vegas on May 14, 1941. She was the first to perform on Highway 91. It wouldn’t be renamed Las Vegas Boulevard until 18 years later. (At that time, the road was paved by the El Rancho Vegas or Last Frontier. The Flamingo was still being built. Two shows were performed by Dea that night. At her August birthday bash, Dea shared that her father taught her the floating-card and billiard-ball tricks. “When someone likes what you do, it makes you feel good,” Dea said to the
R-J10 at her August birthday bash. Oh, yeah. It was a wonderful experience. It was a wonderful room. The audience was seated. On the back side, there was floor-to-ceiling windows. Finally, the swimming pool was on the opposite side. It was beautiful. It was a fun place.”
Between magic acts, Dea performed the rumba to big-band tunes performed by the El Rancho house band.
Later in the ’40s, Dea moved to LA, adopted her stage name, and became an actress. Columbia Pictures offered her a contract, and she continued to star in movies through the late ’50s. Dea was most famous for her role as Princess Pha, in the 1952 movie “King of the Congo,” opposite Buster Crabbe.Dea later sold insurance and cars for a Chevy dealership. In 1980, Dea moved to Las Vegas with her fourth husband Sam Anazlone. Sam was a fellow car salesperson. She died in January 20222.. AnnaRose Einarsen discovered the story and circulated it throughout the Las Vegas magic community. Copperfield became aware of the legend and began a friendship. In 2021, he invited Dea to his MGM show and introducing her from the stage.
Copperfield was set to induct Dea into the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame on Tuesday, March 25. Dea’s memory will be honored at the ceremony.