Jean Irving not only performed magic, but he was a skilled sideshow performer as well, able to eat fire and swallow swords.
He loved oddball magic effects and demonstrations of bizarre talents. In fact, his magic program was presented as "Prestidigitatorial Peculiarities".
He got his show business start at age 16 with a trapeze act he performed with his brother, Nathan. It was performing in sideshows and carnivals that Jean learned fire-eating (called the "Human Salamander" act).
He tried out a number of professional names, including "Nemo", "Dantell" and Nostaro", finally settling on "Jean Irving". Gradually, he built his act into a full evening Lyceum show, eventually even playing Tony Pastor's.
He was elected president of the National Conjurors Association in 1918, serving for a year. The NCA was one of a number of magic fraternities popular in the early 1900's.
Eventually he settled into a comfortable routine as the house magician for Huber's Museum in New York City, where he performed until retiring in 1940.
Credit: This biography originated on MagicTricks.com. Please credit this source if you use this information.