Ay­a­tol­lah now that’s magic for the Daniels

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Karen Rock­ett

HARD­LINE Ira­nian re­li­gious leader Ay­a­tol­lah Khome­ini un­wit­tingly played cu­pid to leg­endary ma­gi­cian Paul Daniels and Deb­bie Mcgee.

Dancer Deb­bie was work­ing in Iran but had to flee in 1979 when Khome­ini came to power.

A plane ticket to es­cape Tehran and the Islamic revo­lu­tion cost Deb­bie all her sav­ings so she ur­gently needed work in the UK.

She said: “I had to pay ten times what a plane ticket should cost to get home.

“They were clos­ing the air­port that day. They threw me in an of­fice and said I couldn’t get on the plane.

“Af­ter about an hour this guy stamped my pass­port and said ‘Run!’”

She au­di­tioned to be as­sis­tant to Paul, famed for his catch­phrase: “You’ll like this… but not a lot.”

She said: “We had an in­stant chem­istry. He made me laugh.”

The cou­ple had an on/off re­la­tion­ship at first but mar­ried in 1988.

Paul died two years ago of a brain tu­mour aged 77. Ex-strictly con­tes­tant Deb­bie, 60, said he is the love of her life.

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