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Obituaries

* Harold Davis; High-Wire Performer Known as 'The Great Alzana'

March 19, 2001

The Great Alzana, 82, high-wire circus performer touted as "The Most Dare-Devilish Human Ever to Skirt Eternity's Brink." Harold Davis, his actual name, broke his back twice and continually broke other bones, prompting the state of New York in 1953 to pass a law requiring a safety net for any aerial acts higher than 25 feet from the ground. Davis, who disdained the law passed nowhere else, worked at the 40- to 50-foot level and said he felt "like a fish" with a net below him. Born in Yorkshire, England, Davis was the son of an amateur acrobat and practiced wire acts from early childhood. By age 6 he performed at church fairs, and as a teenager worked for public fairs and small circuses. He retired in the 1970s but practiced the high wire until three years ago. On Feb. 16 in Sarasota, Fla., of heart disease.

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