'America's Got Talent' mentalist to run NYC Marathon, possibly launch his own show
In exclusive interview, Oz Pearlman opens up about this Sunday's race, his insane tour schedule and what he has up his sleeve next.
Mentalist and marathoner Oz Pearlman is a man on the run. Literally. Since he won third place on "America's Got Talent" this summer, he's been touring nonstop with his magic act and training for this Sunday's New York City Marathon. Oh, and doing interviews with From The Grapevine.
We've already done nine stories with the great and powerful Oz, all of which drew lots of fans to our site. But it turns out the increased readership may have been just another one of Pearlman's illusions. "It's my mother. She's single-handedly moving my numbers," the 33-year-old Pearlman joked when we reached him by phone.
We caught up with him in between meetings (secret ones, of course). He says his breakneck schedule has prevented him from training at his usual level. At last year's NYC Marathon, he clocked in at 2 hours and 26 minutes coming in 31st place out of 60,000 runners. "I won't break any records this year," says Pearlman, explaining that his summer was spent fine-tuning tricks for "America's Got Talent" which resulted in decreased time for running.
Regardless of when he crosses the finish line on Sunday, fans of Pearlman lining the route will be eager for his signature move: Ripping off his shirt mid-race. "I scare away all the women," he says laughing. "It's almost like a mental boost, like the Hulk ripping off his shirt. I normally don't start with it off. It usually comes off in the middle with me screaming, with a bolt of energy." Plus, he admits, "it makes it easier for my friends to recognize me."
Another way people recognize the Israeli-born Pearlman is by his magic. When he crossed the finish line at the Long Island Marathon earlier this year, he made a deck of cards appear out of nowhere. That wasn't the only feat he accomplished that day – he finished the race in first place, more than 20 minutes ahead of the next person. So what flourish will he do this Sunday? "Hmmm," he thinks, "I've got to figure out the trick du jour for this one. Maybe I'll bend a spoon with my mind. And if I'm going shirtless, people are gong to wonder where the spoon came from."
The New York City race is the world's largest marathon. It is one of many popular marathons around the world this fall, which are always full of inspiring people who run them. To help promote the event, billboards and advertisements are being splashed all over Manhattan. Which quite surprised Pearlman on a recent morning when he was taking the S Train from Times Square to Grand Central Station. When the doors closed, he saw a photo of himself.
"I didn't want to ask someone to take a picture with me standing next to it," he says. So he waited until the very last minute, snapped a photo, and then jumped off the train. "It was very funny."
What's up next? Pearlman says he plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in a few weeks. The organizers of that event have already placed him with the elite runners. "I'm in the front with all the Kenyan guys," he says. Last year, Pearlman came in 10th place in the Philadelphia race.
Meanwhile, since taping ended on the finale of "America's Got Talent," Pearlman has been keeping busy touring. Just this past weekend, he was in Puerto Rico opening for comedian Jim Gaffigan. He's been to Utah and California. And to Florida, a lot. "In the span of 16 days, I went to Florida six different times."
He's completely booked until the end of December, but Pearlman promises his schedule will calm down next year.
"Stay tuned," he exclusively told From The Grapevine, perhaps revealing what the topic was of that secret meeting. "In 2016, you will be able to see me." He teased a residency in Manhattan where he will do regular shows at a hotel or a theater so his fans from across America can see his act in person.
When pried for more information, Pearlman just demurred. After all, magicians never tell.
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