His father called him Danny Baseball and their dream was that Danny Gans would become a major league baseball player and play third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After college, Danny signed a major league contract and was sent to the minor leagues to make this dream a reality. But one day, in one single moment, that dream came to a crashing halt as he severed an Achilles tendon during a game. While Danny, distraught and dejected, recovered from surgery in a hospital room, he received powerful words of advice from a fellow hospital patient who said, "I have a message for you and the message is this: You wouldn't have gotten hurt if God didn't have a bigger plan for you."
Yes, God had bigger plans for Danny Gans. Danny decided to use his powerful singing voice, ability to make people laugh and gift of delivering flawless impersonations to become an entertainer. After countless hours of practice and dedication honing his craft and 15 years on the corporate circuit entertaining big companies at their big conferences, Danny landed the opportunity of a lifetime—his own Broadway show.
The show was such a hit that Danny was offered a year contract that would make him a well-known superstar. The only problem was that Danny's wife and children lived in Los Angeles and he didn't want to uproot them and move them to New York.
Around this same time, his then 7-year-old daughter drew a picture of the Gans family. When Danny asked his daughter where he was in the picture she replied, "You're in the airplane flying above. See Daddy." Inspired by this picture and motivated to spend more time with his family, Danny made the unlikely decision to turn down Broadway. Unsure of his future, Danny returned to Los Angeles to put his family first and trusted that it would all work out.
Yes, God continued to have bigger plans for Danny Gans. Not long after Danny returned home, he received an offer to bring his show and talent to the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
Then he was hired by the Rio and before his recent sudden passing, had a very lucrative contract and his own Danny Gans Theatre that sold out every show at the Mirage. He spent his days being the family man he wanted to be and his nights bringing joy and laughter to thousands.
In reading this, you may look back at Danny's life and think, "Oh he was one of the lucky ones." But I don't see it that way and neither did Danny. His trust allowed the end of one dream to begin another and his decision to put his family first allowed a bigger plan for his life to unfold. Danny believed that from the moment he turned down Broadway and he and his wife prayed to put their family first, his career began to soar.
If you have never been to Las Vegas, it's likely that you have never heard of Danny Gans until now. While he was the most talented performer I had ever seen and his billboards were all over Las Vegas, he didn't pursue national television exposure. Yet after meeting him recently and talking to him before one of his shows, I discovered a wonderful teacher, role model and inspiration whose story everyone needs to know, especially now. Because whenever things aren't going the way I want and I'm experiencing challenges, struggles and set backs, I stop and think of Danny Gans and I know and trust that God has bigger plans for all of us.
Danny was truly one of a kind. I send my deepest regrets to his family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, Danny Gans's family asks that donations be sent in Danny's name to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation (www.nvccf.org):
To learn more, visit www.DannyGans.com.