Mme. Zirka was an accomplished female magician, and the wife of Peruvian magician Jose Antenar de Gago ("L'Homme Masque").
Schooled in magic skills her husband, Mme. Zirka performed a marvlous manipulation act and was billed as the "Queen of Cigarettes". Her small hands allowed her to develop her own unique methods for manipulations, including the "tiptilt" method of vanishing unlit cigarettes, still popular today.
Unfortunately, at the peak of her career (they had just replaced Horace Goldin at the Casino de Paris), she began to suffer from severe mental illness. Though her husband retired with her in 1905 to a winery he purchased in Bordeaux, her illness worsened and she died in an asylum in Nice in 1910 at age 32.
In 1894, French psychologist Alfred Binet published an article on the psychology of conjuring, observing five magicians performing in his laboratory under controlled conditions. Mme. Zirka was one of the five.
Credit: This biography originated on MagicTricks.com. Please credit this source if you use this information.