April 16, 2014

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Local ‘phenomenon’ competes for title on reality TV show

An Avon Lake woman who has merged her passions for magic and medicine is among 10 contestants competing on NBC’s reality series “Phenomenon.”

Angela Funovits, a 2005 Avon Lake High School graduate and 2004 Miss Teen Cleveland, is the only woman among 10 people vying for the title of “next great mentalist” on the weekly program featuring illusionist Uri Geller and Criss Angel of cable TV’s “Mindfreak” series.

Funovits

The daughter of William and Fong Funovits of Avon Lake, the 19-year-old and her fellow illusionists perform before a panel of celebrity judges ala “American Idol.” A winner will be selected by a vote of the program’s viewers.

Funovits is pursuing medical studies at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

In her eighth year in the modeling and acting fields, she has appeared in TV commercials that have aired on NBC, TBS and MTV. Working as a professional magician, she has appeared on PAX and in the pages of Street Magic Magazine.

Funovits was first attracted to magic and illusions at the age of 10. Her fascination with magic intensified after she learned that a great-grandfather reportedly was a noted magician in China, according to a mini-profile of Funovits posted on www.nbc.com/Phenomenon.

A hint of Funovits’ determination and dedication to her study of medicine came at age 16, when she was among a group of Avon Lake High School students attending a three-day forensics workshop at Lorain County Community College. In the crime scene investigation seminar led by forensics experts from Purdue University, students were exposed to an unmistakably pungent, cloying odor emanating from the maggot-infested, decaying corpses of pigs.

While the smell bothered many, it didn’t seem to faze Funovits, then 16.

“I plan on going into the medical field, so this kind of branches into that,” she told The Chronicle-Telegram in a 2004 story about the forensics workshop. “The smell grosses a lot of people out, but not me.”

As an Avon Lake High senior, Funovits created a “Magic of Medicine” workshop to help cancer patients and their families cope with their diseases.  

Contact Steve Fogarty at 328-7139 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.