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Magic Castle opens doors for fundraiser

Hollywood Wrap with George Pennacchio
July 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The late actress Wendie Jo Sperber started the cancer support center, WeSpark, in 1999. After a long fight, Wendie Jo lost her battle with cancer in 2005. On Monday night in Hollywood, the Magic Castle opened its doors to help her legacy live on.It's one of L.A.'s most exclusive clubs, and it opened its doors to the public for a night of magic.

The Magic Castle is a private club, but for this event the public was welcome. The is the second year for "A Magical Night," a fundraiser featuring some of the top magicians around. It's all to help WeSpark create magic outside the castle by offering all sorts of free services at its Sherman Oaks Center, which is aimed at helping make life better for anyone dealing with cancer.

"And that's the way Wendie wanted it," said Nancy Allen from WeSpark. "Free programs for cancer patients, their families and friends."

Wendie Jo's dad, himself a magician, helped pull off some of this magic.

"We have 20 volunteer magicians from all over the United States," said Bruce Sperber. "I just asked, and they're here."

"And when I started asking my magician friends if they'd like to donate their time and talent tonight, and they lined up at the door," said magician Mike Caveney.

"It's very special to be here to support not only WeSpark, but Wendie, and to remember Wendie," said magician Jonathan Levit. "And she was a good friend of mine."

Magicians played the castle's big stages and did up-close and personal tricks -- some with shells, some with cards, and one with a cell phone somehow being stuffed inside a balloon.

All these tricks were to help WeSpark help others.

"A lot of people are in a very emotional situation, and WeSpark really works their own magic to try and make everyone a little more comfortable about what they're going through," said comedy magician Bruce Gold.

"It's going to help somebody, it's not going to harm anyone," said comedy magician Ivan Amodei. "If it saves one life, we did an amazing thing tonight."

That's music to the ears of "Irma," the Magic Castle's piano-playing ghost.

Monday event was sold-out. WeSpark is hoping to do it all again next year.

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