6:00am PT by Chris Gardner
New Details Emerge in Magic Castle Suicide as Friend Speaks Out
Daryl Easton — the 61-year-old magician who took his own life at Hollywood's famed Magic Castle club Feb. 24 — was best known among friends and colleagues as "the Magician's Magician" thanks to an affable personality matched with a diverse set of skills across various disciplines. But one of the more macabre facts about Easton is that he was a skilled rope master who put together a three-volume DVD set showing off his rope tricks in the series Daryl's Expert Rope Magic Made Easy, says longtime friend and fellow magician Andrew Goldenhersh.
The anthology, which includes installments "Learning the Ropes," "Stringing You Along" and "The Great White Rope," are still on offer from his personal website at $29.95 each. (He also starred in similar DVDs offering insight into "cups & balls," sponge balls, card sleights and other magic training disciplines.) It was just one of the personal details that was revealed Sunday night from a stage inside Hollywood Improv during a fundraiser for the documentary Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story directed by Cathy Carlson.
The event served as a sort of tribute to Dick as a string of comedians and friends like Moby and Dr. Drew took turns at the mic telling their tales. But when Dick sat down in the spotlight to close out the show, he seemed more concerned that his pal Goldenhersh, a Magic Castle performer, was in the audience. Dick announced Goldenhersh's presence then asked him to stand up and identify himself. He promptly requested more information about the suicide in a casual, if not a bit dishy, way.
"Get up here! Come up here!" Dick shouted at Goldenhersh, who seemed reluctant as he made his way to the stage where he was interviewed about Easton's death. "Really? You think this is a good idea?" he asked out loud as he was walking to the stage.
That said, the impromptu moment continued with Goldenhersh revealing that he had known Easton for more than 20 years. "He was very successful in the '70s and '80s. He got into the world of doing magic for magicians, selling things and teaching them," he explained. "He was incredibly well-respected but it didn't make him happy. It shocked the hell out of people because he was one of the goofiest, most happy-go-lucky guys you would see, yet he was clearly hiding a lot of pain."
Dick then requested additional details about where Easton took his own life. Goldenhersh said that reports that Easton was found in a closet at the private Magic Castle club in the Hollywood Hills are incorrect. "It was the backstage area in the dressing room of the parlor," he explained. "He hung himself, and the great irony is that he was really good at rope magic."
As previously confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, Easton died from hanging and the death was intentional, according to Ed Winter, coroner's office spokesman.
The shock of Easton's death has not yet worn off, Goldenhersh concluded. "It hit me really hard.... The thing is, people had no idea what he was struggling with. People thought he was the happiest dude in the world."
"Welcome to my life," Dick quipped. The comment helped close out the random if not emotionally heavy moment — in a comedy club of all places.
As for Easton, a public memorial has yet to be announced, according to his website. The same new post says that the magician spent his final days performing at the Magic Castle, a destination "that meant so much to him over the years, not only as a place that brings the magical arts to so many members of the public night after night but also as the home and heart of a community of magicians who have dedicated their lives to the study and performance of illusion and wonder."
He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.