Ed Alonzo, most famous for playing restaurateur/magician Max on Saved by the Bell, has some surprising connections to several famous people you might not have been aware of. Alonzo was appearing at the media day for the opening of the new Saved by the Max restaurant in Los Angeles and talked to us about how his magical skills connected him with some magical people.
Neil Patrick Harris
Alonzo and Neil Patrick Harris' friendship goes back to when Alonzo was a series regular on Saved by the Bell and Neil Patrick Harris had yet to achieve his own stardom. It started with a mutual love of magic.
"Strangely enough, the Saved by the Bell Max restaurant was themed after a restaurant called Ed Debevic's," Alonzo told Yahoo Entertainment. "I used to hang out at this restaurant a lot. Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) was there one day with Neil Patrick Harris. She saw I was at the other table, and she said to Neil, 'I know you like magic, I have a friend here who's on the show with me and he's a magician.'"
"So I come over and I meet this young guy and we became best friends. So every time he's on television or in a movie or whatever and he's doing magic, 99% of the time I've either helped him learn it, created it for him, or I'm right off camera rigging it up. He's come a long way as a magician as well and now he's able to do a lot of his own stuff. But he still calls me. We're still best friends."
"Britney's team contacted me in 2009 for her revival comeback tour, 'The Circus,'" Alonzo reminisced. "The director said, 'Maybe we should have a magician create an act where Britney could be the assistant...I spent a whole year with Britney and I got to do a number, just Britney and I, every night on stage. What a dream gig that was."
One of the more memorable credits to Alonzo's resume was his work helping on what was going to be Michael Jackson's final concert tour before he died in 2009. But before joining the team on that endeavor, Alonzo had already wowed Jackson with his illusions.
"Back in 1989, Michael had seen me on The Arsenio Hall Show and invited me out to Neverland Ranch and I did a show for him and a couple kids and their parents," Alonzo told us. "Seven people [watched my show] in a big full theater out at his house. A full, one-hour show with dancers and big illusions."
"I didn't know what to expect when he invited me out. The curtain opened up and I started my show. I was looking at all of the empty seats and I thought, 'Boy, this is going to suck.' But Michael was the best audience ever...he was the greatest cheerleader ever."