A few years after the profile was published, I got curious about Ricky’s website, rickyjay.com. I discovered that not only was there nothing on the site, but the domain itself was unregistered. Concerned that some squatter might snap it up, I registered it myself.
Over the next few years, I made several attempts to track down Ricky so that I could give him the domain, to no avail. Then I had a stroke of luck: while attending a performance of Michael Moschen (whose remarkable “juggling” skills were featured in the movie Labyrinth) at UC Irvine, I happened to recognize Ricky standing in the lobby during intermission. I introduced myself and got the ball rolling on the domain transfer, which later resulted in the site you can still see today.
A few years later, Ricky himself was performing at UCI, and my father and I had the good fortune of joining him onstage for a demonstration of card control and three-card Monte. After the show, Ricky was kind enough to sign my copy of Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women, as well as give me the card he’d cut neatly in half with a pair of giant scissors.
A few years after that, I learned that a young woman I was acquainted with knew Ricky well. When I told her the story of rickyjay.com, she insisted on setting up a dinner with Ricky and his wife Chrisann. Ricky recognized me from the Michael Moschen performance, and we ended up having a lovely time talking about magic, history, and various other subjects.
The last time I saw Ricky, I distinctly recall thinking that he didn’t look particularly healthy, so when I saw his name trending on Twitter I feared the worst. Alas, it was the worst. And yet, what a joy Ricky Jay was to all who knew him and his work. RIP to one of the all-time greats.