Show to work its magic on couple's wardrobes

Makeovers: A magician and his assistant will be transformed on the TV program "Fashion Emergency."

April 06, 2000|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

For once, Dean Turner and Marthe Wright are going to let others work a little magic on them.

The magician and his assistant will be treated to makeovers next week by the national television show "Fashion Emergency." With full-figured fashion model Emme as host on the cable network E! Entertainment Television, the program selects people from around the country who want to change their look.

And who better to select than a pair whose favorite accessories are a fluffy bunny named Zipper and a few birds that can appear out of thin air?

"I wrote them a letter and I told them what we do," Wright said as she and Turner rested in the living room of their Columbia townhouse surrounded by the animals they use in their act. "I told them that I was a ballet teacher who does magic with her boyfriend, and I wear leotards, tights and tuxedos."

The let- ter -- one of thousands received every month by the program -- intrigued the producers. Quicker than you can say "abracadabra," the duo was booked for the show, which will travel from Los Angeles to Howard County next week to film Turner and Wright's transformations April 14.

"We literally get flooded with requests, but we look for someone who is willing to make a big change," said Chris May, a producer with "Fashion Emergency."

`Perfect for the show'

"Dean and Marthe are perfect for the show because they are really outgoing and great on camera."

For fashion victims, the couple appear to be quite snazzy.

Dressed in a white shirt, satiny vest and black pants, 42-year-old Turner -- who performs under the name "Turner, the Dean of Magic" -- is abandoning his shaved-head look to give the stylists something to work with. Wright, 41, said she has sported just about every look over the years, including donning white clown makeup for a portrait with Turner that hangs in their living room.

`Circus people'

"My mom calls us circus people," said Wright, whose outfit of black pants, red shirt and black jacket complemented Turner's. "I just wrote to the show as a kick, and I was really surprised when they picked us."

The couple entertain thousands of children and their parents every year at benefits, shows and parties around the state. Also featured in their act are their pet rabbit Zipper and birds Pez, Snickers, Popcorn and Peanut.

While their magic career is relaxed and fun, Turner said he has to be careful about his appearance when in public.

"I can't just throw on a sweat shirt and a pair of jeans and go to Hechinger's," said Turner, who has been practicing magic for 25 years and performing professionally for the past five. "People will see you and go, `Hey, you are that magician guy.' They expect to see you looking the part."

Fashion guru Brenda will help the couple select new outfits and both will have their hair styled, with Wright receiving makeup advice. Turner said he is willing to do just about anything -- except make his trademark facial hair disappear.

"I don't want my barbs removed," Turner said, twirling his mustache. "Other than that, I say go for it."

The pair are looking forward to their beauty treatments and hope their appearance on the show brings them recognition as performers. Both are anxious to see what tips the show offers them and how they will be transformed.

"To go from local Columbia magicians to nationwide exposure, I would let them do just about anything," Turner said, laughing. "As long as it doesn't involve tattooing or piercing."

Pub Date: 4/06/00

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