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After near-death experience, woman heads to 'Let's Make a Deal'

October 30, 2012|By John M. Glionna
  • Jenny Fuss, dressed as a cockroach.
Jenny Fuss, dressed as a cockroach. (Fuss family )

At age 39, as Jenny Fuss lay perilously close to death in an Arizona hospital, suffering from a mysterious blood disease with her Marine husband deployed a half a world away in Afghanistan, she made a mini bucket list of the things she’d do if she survived. She gazed up at the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” playing on the TV and told herself she was going to appear on the show.

And win.

The mother of two recently got her wish. After recuperating this summer, she was selected out of dozens of would-be contestants to appear on the show this month and walked away with $4,800 in winnings. Her secret: She was infused with energy, imagining herself once near death in a hospital bed.

The Yuma woman had another trick up her sleeve to get the attention of show producers: She dressed as a mammoth brown cockroach.

Fuss scored two tickets for a taping of the show, which aired Oct. 25, and went with her sister-in-law, Jennifer Dudley, who was dressed as a chicken. The trick to getting selected to appear on-air is to act energetic. As in wild and crazy.

“They do these different camera angles, they play house music and you have to get up and dance because the producers are watching you to see what kind of energy you have,” Fuss told the Los Angeles Times. “The audience was told to dance during commercial breaks, so I did a dance called The Sprinkler. In the original dance, you hold one arm behind your back and move the other like a sprinkler. But I had six arms, so I called it the Sprinkler System. People were grabbing my antennae and singing into them like microphones. It was crazy.”

Fuss was inspired to go as a cockroach by her high school-aged daughter, who had dressed up as a cockroach years ago. “I convinced her the cockroach was crazy, really gross — that she’d get lots of attention, and she did.”

When she was called to appear onstage, Fuss told the Times, she “went into crazy mode. It was like my body was possessed by some lunatic person.” She played a game of chance against another audience member involving large purple dice. “Mommy needs a new pair of shoes,” she said as she tossed the dice.

She ended up winning $4,800, but then had to decide whether to trade the cash for something hidden behind curtain Number 3. She passed, and a good thing too. Behind the curtain was a man in a gorilla suit sitting on a motorized couch.

Fuss has other plans in her bucket list: like seeing her husband more often. Marine Corps Maj. Thomas Fuss will soon be stationed in Florida. But the couple want to keep their children in high school in Yuma.

“It’s going to be a long time apart,” Fuss said. “But we can use this money so that he can come home every month and take part in his children growing up.”

That was another item on the bucket list.

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john.glionna@latimes.com

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