Magicians' Biographies - Letter C

Read about the most famous victim of the "Bullet Catch", the real-life magic adventurer, the Strong Man magician, and more!

Please CLICK HERE before copying this information
Calvert, John
(1911-2013) (birthday August 5) American magician and actor, born Elburn Calvert. A performer for nearly 85 years, he was noted for his classic and debonair approach. Many times he transported his elaborate full evening show in his own plane; one New Year's Eve he crashed the plane in Tennessee, and his cast went onstage on crutches. For many years he traveled on his own yacht, The Magic Castle. His cigarette manipulations and his sharpshooting routine are classics, performed with his wife/assistant Tammy. He also starred in a number of Hollywood films, most notably portraying The Falcon.
Campbell, C.B.
(?-?) American magician (performing as "Camella") and owner of The Quan Company magic shop in New York City, which opened in 1909.
Campbell, Loring
(1905-1979) (birthday March 19) Real name Alexander Loring Campbell; American magician and author. Popular for his smooth and witty style, he had performed an estimated 15,000 shows before his 1955 retirement. Began his career in 1920 in a minstrel show as "Cambello the Clown Magician" and also performed a Chinese act before finding vaudeville success with his trademark suave stage persona as "The Great Alexander" and later, simply Loring Campbell.
(?-?) Greek born magician who toured the United States in 1885 (as "Count Canaris"), Australia in 1887 (as "Prof. Canaris") and South America in 1908 (as "Alexander Canaris"). His performance was a vaudeville blend of magic tricks and spiritism expose. During his 1887 tour of Australia, he shared the bill with magician Dexter.
Canasta, Chan
(?-?) Polish born magician and mentalist. Real name- Chananel Mifelew. His career was at its height in the 1950's, with his noted effects being card divination and book tests. He denied he used supernatural powers to perform his feats of mentalism, saying that he had developed methods of psychological manipulation. Retiring relatively early in his career, he became a successful painter.
(1896-1949) Mexican illusionist (born Abraham J. Cantu) who created the first commercially successful dove act. Briefly billing himself as "Professor Tucan", he had a long career performing in U.S. theaters and clubs. He performed in an elaborate Mexican cowboy costume, with specially gaffed serapes to hold his dove loads. He was killed in an automobile accident in Atlanta, Georgia.
(?-?) Nineteenth century Italian street magician known for his sleight-of hand skills as well as for his trained housecats.
Capper, Alfred
(?-1921) English magician who specialized in muscle-reading, a form of mentalism. Author of A Rambler's Recollections and Reflections.
(1895-1973) (birthday March 1) Welsh magician and manipulator extraordinaire; real name Richard Pitchford. His famous cigarette, card and billiard ball manipulation act has been often imitated, but never equaled. Dressed in formal attire, he appeared to be slightly inebriated and totally astounded at the items that appeared and disappeared at his fingertips. This act is considered to be the best and most flawless manipulation act ever performed. At one time a magic demonstrator for Gamage's in London, he arrived in America in 1926, where he tried a number of stage personas (including "Valentine", "Val Raymond", and "Professor Thomas") before settling on the pantomime character that made him famous. He was also an exceptionally skilled craftsman; his reels are highly prized collectibles today.
Cardini, Swan
Swan (1903-?) Famous for her bellhop uniform, she was the wife and stage assistant to Cardini. American born, Swan Walker met Cardini when he performed at a theater in Jackson, Michigan, and they were married a short time later.
Cardoza, Don Juan
(1889-1980) Strasbourg-born illusionist who toured extensively in the US and internationally with his "Tricks On Parade" show. Born Emile Brazeau, he later changed his legal name to Pierre LeBlanc. He performed as Ray Bol (as a Fire-Eater), Ray Danton, Don Juan Cardoza and Pierre LeBlanc. One of his best known tricks was the Vanishing Cabinet, in which he made audience volunteers appear and disappear, and he had a standing "$1000.00 challenge" for anyone who could figure out how he did it. After retiring from touring, he studied culinary arts, eventually becoming the executive chef at the Desert Inn hotel.
Carl, William
(1881-1942) African American magician. He was mentioned in Houdini's 1909 Conjurer's Monthly magazine article about black magicians, which also mentioned Theodore Jackson. His career started in 1890 as part of "The Creole Show", a popular minstrel show. During the last decade of the 19th century, he was in a number of other minstrel shows, including "Darkest Africa", "Senegambian Carnival" and "A Lucky Coon". As "Dante the Great", he co-owned and performed with the "Afro-American Minstrels Show", which was not successful. By the turn of the century, he was perfroming his own show, and billing himself as "Black Carl", "The Creole Mahatma" or "The Hoodoo Magician". He also sometimes billed himself as "Black Dante", a nod to the great Oscar "Dante" Eliason, as well as "Carl Dante" and "Danti". During the 1900 and 1901 seasons, he toured a show which included two black midget performers as his assistants, Midget Price and Little Chick. In 1908, he and partner George Archer, a fellow vaudevillian, opened the first black vaudeville theater in New York City, Palace Hall Theater at 51st Street and Seventh Avenue.
(1881-1942) Physical comedy magician whose stage personality was rather strange, with makeup that made him appear stick-thin with a high-pitched, comical voice.
Carlo, Dr.
(1909-1996) American born magician and magic dealer (real name Carlo Sommer) who invented the rubber dove as well as Balls of Fire (production of fire from a paper sack) and the Carlo Glass Production, marketing these effects through his Ohio magic shop.
Carpentier, Yves
(?-1952) French magician who was a popular act at many New York City clubs during the 1920s. His elegant character was so convincing that he was persuaded to become the head maitre d' at the Cobacabana, where he was a fixture for many years.
(1906-?) Real name Lyle Laughlin, he had a successful career performing his sophisticated brand of magic in U.S. theaters and clubs, retiring in 1955. He is credited with inventing Three-To-One Ropes, and authoring a number of effects published in magic magazines.
Carlyle, Francis
(1911-1975) One of the world's greatest performers of close-up magic, he spent his career performing at elite nightclubs. Real name Francis Finneran.
Carmelli, Prof.
(1850-1919) French-born magician, real name Auguste-Joseph Cohen. Started his career as a child acrobat in a circus, where he also learned magic tricks. Crippled in military service at age 20, he devised a clever way to perform as an illusionist while seated in a chair. He was hired in 1888 by Méliès at the Theatre Robert-Houdin, where he appeared frequently for many years. He also operated his own travelling magic theater for about ten years around 1900. Performed onstage until his death in 1919.
(1881-1944) Australian-born magician and juggler, real name Henry Cameron, he began his career as a strong man before moving to England and into the world of magic. His greatest success was with his own circus, called "The Great Carmo Circus and Menagerie" and managed by Henry Houston, where he presented spectacular illusions that accented the real focus of the show, the animal and circus acts. Unfortunately, the circus was destroyed by fire during a blizzard shortly before World War II. He also invented Carmo Beads, an effect in which beads cut loose from a necklace are magically restrung. He was the magician who inspired a young Val Andrews.
(1891-1987) French magician (real name Louis Carsalade) who performed a successful two-person mentalism act with his wife, as "Carolus & Magdola".
Carpenter, Carleton
(b. 1926) Magician and actor, sang "Aba Daba Honeymoon" duet with Debbie Reynolds in Two Weeks With Love.
Carrandi, Mario
(b. 1942) The world's foremost dealer in antique magic props, books and memorabilia.
Carrer, Charles
(?-1972) Considered one of the world's best jugglers, he was also an expert craftsman, building most of his wife Dell O'Dell's magic equipment.
(?-?) French magician who was most successful during the 1920s. Specialty was his version of the Sword Cabinet, where he pierced a cabinet containing his assistant with dozens of canes, without harming her.
(1895-1971) French magician (real name Joseph Buhot). His forty-year career was spent touring a large and successful illusion show mainly in France. Assisted by his first wife "Manola" (Louisette Guay), then his second wife "Manita" (Line Saban). Specialized in spirit magic and mindreading.
Carter, Charles
(1874-1936) (birthday June 14) Colorful and controversial illusionist, magic journalist and prominent lawyer. Once owned Martinka magic shop. Noted for his exceptional publicity material, especially his fine lithographed posters.
Carter, Corinne
(?-1963) Wife of Charles Carter. Performed as "The Psychic Marvel".
Carter, Herr
(?-?) German magician who was performing in Germany in the 1920's. Charles Carter mistakenly thought that the German Carter was stealing his stage name, and capitalizing on Carter the Great's fame. Herr Carter proved that he had been performing in Germany long before Carter the Great, and since Herr Carter's tours were confined only to his native Germany, Charles Carter did not pursue the matter further. Herr Carter was billed as "The International Attraction with 100,000 Cards".
Carter, Larry
(1895-1962) Son of Charles Carter. Worked with his father's show for many years. Performed briefly as Carter the Great when his father died in 1936. Became a car salesman.
Castro, Ernest
(1905-1971) British-born magician most noted for his popularity as a performer at private functions for the Royal Family.
Catulle, Charles
(?-?) American illusion builder. Perhaps most famous for creating the "Aphrodite, Birth of a Sea Nymph" illusion, which he briefly performed in his own show before selling the illusion to Jean Hugard. The illusion proved to be Hugard's reputation-maker. Catulle also created one version of the "Cremation" illusion. Catulle had his studio at 152 Austin St., Cambridge, Massachusetts. An envelope addressed from Catulle to Harry Houdini was found in Houdini's desk in the 1980s. In June 2019 the envelope was offered for sale at
Cazeneuve, Bernard Marius
(1839-1913) French magician and mentalist famous for his exploits during the Franco-Prussian War.
Chabert, Ivan Ivanitz
(1792-1859) French-born magician and fire-resister (born Julian Xavier Chabert) who later became a pharmacist in New York City, selling health concoctions of his own making.
Nightclub magician who performed a mentalism act as "Dr. Chanda" or "Chanda the Great" with Princess Zeella
Read the biography of Chanda!
Chandler, Claude
(?-1977) British magician and ventriloquist who was named by David Devant as his successor. Inventor of Card In Balloon.
(1889-1972) Chinese-Panamanian illusionist born Juan Pablo Jesorum, he was one of the true Oriental magicians (in other words, he really was Oriental, not just pretending to be). With his greatest success in South America, he was noted for his exceptionally elaborate full evening show.
Chanin, Jack
(1908-1997) American magician, inventor and magic dealer, he excelled in the art of sleeving, even writing a book on the subject (among numerous other books he authored). Jack ran Philadelphia's oldest magic studio until 1981, and marketed hundreds of effects of his own invention, including the Mesh Egg Bag. A favorite at magic conventions, he also performed an Oriental act as Cha-Nin. Notable protégées under him included: Dell O'Dell, James Kane, and Steve Dusheck.
Chapender, Martin
(1876-1905) British-born magician (real name Harold Jones) who specialized in sleight of hand with billiard balls, coins and cards. When he died at the early age of 30, the Magic Circle was formed in part as a memeorial to him.
(?-?) French amateur magician, a specialist in card magic who invented the Charlier Pass as well as a card-marking system using pin pricks. One of the more famous street magicians in the late 1800s.
Charles, Mr.
(?-?) British magician who was performing in London in 1829. His partner was Mr. Wilson. Mr. Charles also performed a ventriloquist act during the show. The variety magic act was billed as "Novel and astounding illusions, combinations, metamorphosees, thaumaturgics and philosphical recreations".
Charleton, Christopher H.
(1887-1963) British magician of renown, notable for the fact that he refused to use live animals in his performances. His famous periodicals collection is now the property of the Magic Circle.
Chater, R.D.
Chavez, Ben
(?-1962) Co-founder of the Chavez College of Magic, a professional magic school now under the direction of Dale Salwak, whose graduates include Norm Nielsen, Irv Weiner and Channing Pollock.
Chavez, Marian
(?-1978) Co-founder of the Chavez College of Magic; wife of Ben Chavez and an expert in dove handling.
(1885-1963) Italian-born stage magician (real name Ralfo Cefalo) credited with inventing the Chefalo Knot, a fake rope knot that, when pulled, vanishes. Also credited with inventing the Girl In the Drum illusion.
(b.1964) American born magician (real name Phil Chew) who toured extensively in the Upstate New York region with his modified version of "The Monticup is Magic" show. One of his best known tricks was "Hanging Round", the illusion of managing a McDonald's Restaurant while really not doing anything, "but it looked good". His current collection of magic includes various versions of Cubio, his favorite pocket trick. Current whereabouts are a mystery, but it is rumored that he and his wife (Jackie) of many years have retired to a five acre site in Central Ohio.
(?-?) Japanese magician who appeared on the 8/09/53 and 1/17/54 broadcasts of the TV program Toast of the Town, the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show.
Ching Ling Foo
(1854-1922) (birthday March 11) Chinese-born magician (real name Chee Ling Qua) who was the first true Oriental magician to achieve world fame. Credited with inventing the Foo Can. His most famous effect was producing a huge bowl of water from nowhere while standing in the middle of an empty stage, then producing a small boy from the water. He had a standing offer of $1,000 if anyone could figure out the secret to the trick; the obviously bogus offer inspired William Robinson to duplicate the routine and develop his Chung Ling Soo stage persona.
Chislett, Thomas H.
(1886-1979) British amateur magician who created a spectacular and intimate spook show, performed to private audiences in his home for many years.
Chop Chop
(?-?) Australian-born magician (real name Alvin H. Wheatley) who performed as an Oriental character. Appeared many times on American TV, including an appearance on Ed Sullivan Show. Invented the Chop Cup
Christ, Henry
(1903-1972) American magician who invented the Christ Force, Fabulous 4 Aces and Dead Man's Hand. Former engineer for the City of New York.
(b.1945) Generally billed as "Magic Christian of Vienna", this Austrian magician's real name is Christian Stelzel. Multiple awards, including FISM First Place (Manipulation) in 1973, 1976 and 1979 plus First Place for Closeup Invention in 1979 as well. Austria has honored him for his research work on the history of magic as well as his talents as a magical entertainer and Goodwill Ambassador. Many appearances on television. Associated with Piatnik, manufacturer of trick decks. Author. Invented Ketten-Zauber and Color Changing Lighter.
Christopher, Milbourne
(1914-1984) Major American magical entertainer, author, inventor and collector. Performed a popular full-evening show for many years. Produced and performed in the first network TV magic special, "The Festival of Magic", broadcast on May 27, 1957 on NBC-TV (a show which also featured Cardini's last television appearance). He wrote a long-running column in Hugard's Magic Monthly under the pen name "Frank Joglar", derrived from words meaning "candid magician". His incredible book and memborabilia collection was legendary. He wrote a number of classic books on magic history, including Panorama of Magic, The Illustrated History of Magic, and Houdini: The Untold Story.
Chung Ling Soo
(1861-1918) Successful "Oriental" magician who was secretly an American in disguise; famously killed onstage performing the Bullet Catch.
Cladwell, Willard
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Clark, J. Edward
(?-?) African-American magician who appeared on the Lyceum circuit as part of the Maryland Jubilee Co. players.
Clark, Keith
(1908-1979) French-born magician (real name Pierre Feyss Cartier). One of the greatest cigarette manipulators. Author of Encyclopedia of Cigarette Magic, which is still in print, though the effects have lost much of their political correctness.
Clark, Ren
(1904-?) American magician and founder of Texas Association of Magicians in 1948. Owned the Polynesian Village in Fort Worth, Texas, a famous tiki bar.
Clement, William
(1871-1953) French magician (real name Guillaume Clément) with many talents. He was an illusionist, a juggler, an acrobat, a mime, a comedian- and a tattoo artist. Performed as "William", "Williams" or "O'Williams", mainly with his wife "Miss Walter" and her family's famous travelling Théâtre Grandsart-Courtois.
Clever, Eddie
(1904-1975) American magician and mentalist who got his start working a medicine show with Keen the Magician from 1920-1924. Editor of the Linking Ring "Parade" column for many years.
Clive, Henry
(1881-1960) Australian-born magician (real name Clive O'Hara) on the American vaudeville circuit from 1903 to 1912. Billed as "Clive, The Debonair Magician". Claimed to have invented the Spirit Painting act, though Doc Nixon accused Clive of stealing it from him. Retired from performing to become a commercial artist.
Closson, George
Magic shop proprietor and founder of Brotherhood of Magicians
Read the biography of George Closson - see images!
(?-?) Traveling magician in America, circa 1880. Mentioned in a poster for magician Prof. H.B. Reynolds.
Cole, Judson
(?-?) American vaudeville comedy magician. Real name Milton Greishaber.
Collinet, Gaston-Louis
(1880-1960) French magician who specialized in grand illusion. His featured illusions included "Levitation", "The House of Swords" and "The Skeleton Woman". Opened his own theater, Théâtre Collinet, in Paris in 1902, where he featured both live performance and early motion pictures.
Collings, Herbert
(1883-1958) Amateur British magician who co-founded the Magic Circle with Neil Weaver and Ernest Henry Adams. Said to have performed more than 10,000 shows during his career. Sometimes performed as "Col Ling Soo".
Collins, Bunette "Bunnie"
(b. 1959) American female magician with great talent and humor. Assistant in father Ted's magic act and Mecca Magic Shop. First female magician invited to participate in the famous Fechter's finger Flinging Frolics at the Forks Hotel in Buffalo, NY. Creator of an amazing and hilarious convention magic act featuring Bunnie as the frantic assistant to a magician accidentally "killed" during the opening of the act.
Collins, James
(?-?) One of Harry Houdini's trusted stage assistants. Houdini left him $500 in his will.
Collins, Stanley
(1881-1966) British magician who followed the vogue of performing as an Oriental character, Loo Sing. He may have been the inventor of the Jumping Rubber Bands, and specialized in effects with mechanical props. Had a reputation as a conservative non-smoking teetotaler who did not enjoy performing.
Collins, F.A. "Ted"
(1919-1993) American magician and owner of Mecca Magic Shop in New Jersey. Credited with inventing the Panama Rope Trick. Ran the Mecca Magic Club from his shop for over 20 years, and encouraged scores of young magicians, including a young David Copperfield.
Colson, Odette
(?-?) French circus magician and daughter of Prof. Robertson.
(1788-1859) (June 22) Magician, impersonator and ventriloquist, performing in the early 1800s in Europe. One of the first magicians to perform the Rabbit from a Hat trick.
Conklin, Rex
American magic book dealer who organized and auctioned the impressive Lucille Barnett collection
Read the biography of Rex Conklin!
Mid-20th Century German female stage magician
Read the biography of Ursula Ackermann!
Cooke, George A.
(1825-1905) (birthday May 27) English magician, partner of John Nevil Maskelyne in the Maskelyne & Cooke magic act, which had a long run at the Egyptian Hall. For a while, the specialty was exposing spiritism.
Copperfield, David
(b. 1956) American superstar magician. Real name David Kotkin. One of the most successful stage magicians in modern history. Began at age 12 performing as "Davino". First real public success at age 19 in a stage musical. First TV magic special in 1977. Reputation makers were two TV specials in the 1980s in which he made a full size jet disappear, and made the Statue of Liberty vanish. Top money making professional illusionist, still touring successfully with stunning and innovative illusions and topnotch stage effects. A Las Vegas favorite. Purchased many important magic collections. Currently owns a private island retreat, available for rental to celebrities.
Core, Bueno
(?-?) Magician and fire eater performing in Civil War era America. Mentioned by Houdini in his book, Miracle Mongers and Their Methods.
Craig, Charles H.
(?-?) American Lyceum and Chautauqua magician, popular in the 1920's. Lived in Morrill, Nebraska. His show included magic, ventriloquism and rag pictures. Published the magic magazine Aladdin's Lamp in the mid-1920's.
Crandall, "Senator" Clark
(1906-1975) American comedy magician, magic dealer and well known magic personality. He developed several truly funny routines for the Card Duck and the Cups and Balls.
Crane, Larry
Vaudeville headlining magician known as "The Irish Wizard"
Read the biography of Larry Crane- see images!
Crane, Michael
Travelling magician known as "The Great Crane" and father of Larry Crane
Read the biography of Michael Crane!
Culpitt, Fred
(1877-1944) (birthday May 9) British magician (born Frederic Cullpitt) who enjoyed a successful stage career after getting his first break from Chung Ling Soo, who booked him in 1909 for a tour of Australia. From 1914 until 1918, his "Magical Comedian" act was a replacement for David Devant at London's St. George's Hall, during which time he invented the Doll's House Illusion, the Costume Trunk Illusion, and the Silk To Egg Trick, all still used today. In 1936, he became the first magician to appear on a regularly scheduled TV program in England.
Cumberland, Stuart
(1857-1922) English magician specializing in mindreading effects. Started as assistant to Washington Irving Bishop. Performed as "The Renowned Thought Reader" through the late 1800's, then changed his act to a combination of muscle-reading effects and spiritualism expose.
Cummings, Clare
(1912-1994) American magician known as the much-loved "Milky the Clown". Real name Clarence Cummings. Performed on Detroit TV from 1950 until 1967. Invented (with Bob Ellis) the effect Out To Lunch. Died on Halloween, the anniversary of Houdini's death.
Curry, Paul
(1917-1986) (birthday August 19) American amateur magician of renowned skill, invented Out of This World card effect and the Sliding Knot. Authored two books: Magician's Magic and Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond.