Nancy Henning Interview: Part Four

Hasn’t this been great? Before we start the last part of our interview I just wanted to once again thank Nancy Henning for taking the time to talk to me. I think we can all agree that her insights and observations only serve to make us appreciate Doug’s artistry even more.

How do you think Doug evolved as a performer over his career?

I know he’s a – he is not as extroverted a person as he looks. So, it isn’t as easy to perform as you may think when you’re not an extroverted person…He went through a natural progression from doing kids’ birthday parties, and bars, and to Broadway shows, and Vegas, and the NBC specials, and all the talk shows. You know, the Muppets, Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show, and all sorts of things like that. He did start to get more confident, I think, but he and I are mirror images…We’re very much alike, very much the same level of hyperness and the same level of introversion/extroversion personality… One-time (Doug’s Wife) Debby looked at me and said, “You’re exactly the same as Doug” … And it was kind of interesting…But, I know for myself that it is energizing when you do something like that. So, although it may not seem second nature, it is energizing… But I think the meditation that he did helped to relax him.

Doug eventually returned to Broadway with “Merlin.” What are your thoughts of that production?

I know that it wasn’t as successful, and I know that it was a struggle (for him) …I lived in Eastern Canada then, so it’s not as far away as it would have been now. So, yes, I did see it and I didn’t see it – I think I only saw it once, so I don’t remember it as well as I remember the other ones. It’s funny, because I would have seen it more recently than The Magic Show, and yet, I only have vague memories of what it was like.

Towards the end of his life, Doug seemed to rediscover his love of magic. Many people suspect he may have returned to performing at some point. Do you believe that was a possibility?

It’s hard to say. I think he might have. He just might have…It was his love.

How would you like your brother to be remembered?

I think he made a large contribution to the world of magic, and I would like it to be remembered as such. I’ll never forget going to the Magic Castle after that first magic special…and thinking, “This is my brother.” I’ve never been so proud.

Nancy Henning, thank you very, very much.

This interview was conducted on October 15, 2017.


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