Magicians' Biographies - Letter K

Read about the Dean of American Magicians, the Girl with the Radio Mind, the inventor of Houdini's Milk Can Escape trick, and more!

Please CLICK HERE before copying this information
(?-?) Magician who appeared on the 5/24/53 broadcast of the TV program Toast of the Town, the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show.
(1903-1963)(birthday January 23) German-born magician (real name Helmut Schreiber) seemed to suddenly come on the scene after World War II with an impressive and elaborate illusion show. Kalanag (Kaalaa Naag in Punjabi means "black cobra") had been a successful German film producer with connections high in the Nazi regime. Rumors flew that Kalanag had used political pressure to steal the illusion show from Alois Kassner, the "Thurston of Germany" who disappeared from magic for a number of years after WWII. While on tour in America in 1956, Kalanag was plagued by the distribution of leaflets calling for a boycott of his show because of his alleged Nazi background. However, he also helped release magician Jac Olten from a German POW camp in 1940, giving him magic props and bookings as well as his freedom. A very young Siegfried Fischbacher (of Siegfried and Roy) saw the Kalanag show in the early 1940's.
Magician and photography innovator
Read the biography of Kalma - see image!
Kaps, Fred
(1926-1980)(birthday June 8) Holland-born stage magician (real name Abraham Pieter Adrianus Bongers) who was the only magician to win magic's FISM International Grand Prix three times (in 1950, 1955 and 1961). Performed first as "Valdini", then as "Mystica", changing to "Fred Kaps" in 1950.
Karl, George
Nighclub mentalist with Harry King as "The Rajah Brothers"
(1907-1963) Dutch magician (real name Ludwig Trinka) who performed mainly in Berlin prior to WWII. According to information from the late magic collector Christian Fechner, Karlini was twice imprisoned by the Nazis, and may have served as an important member of the French Underground. He eventually retired to a country home in the Netherlands.
Spectacular vaudeville illusionist (aka "Victorina") who could swallow a gun barrel like a sword- by shooting it from his mouth!
Read the biography of Kar-Mi - see images!
Kater, James
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Kay, John F.
(?-?) English magician who travelled the small towns of Kentucky and Virginia during the late 1800s. Also advertised his talents as a "rainmaker".
Keating, Fred
(1897-1961)(birthday March 27) American magician who found success at the tail end of true vaudeville, and went on to success in nightclubs and in movies (with the sponsorship of Tallullah Bankhead, an amateur magician herself). Known for his version of the Vanishing Birdcage and his smooth, witty (and often imitated) stage persona. One of his imitators who later had a successful career of his own was Roy Benson. He once said "There are three kinds of magicians, those who do tricks, those who shoot at 'em and those who talk about 'em." His birdcage routine became so well-known and an audience favorite that Ziegfeld once had his entire Follies chorus line perform the trick simultaneously with Keating; the performance drew raves from the public, but harsh criticism from other magicians who berated Keating for revealing the secret of the trick to the girls. He had roles in 14 movies between 1934 and 1940. He died of a heart attack in New York City, the city of his birth.
(?-?) American magician who worked his own medicine show. Gave a start to Eddie Clever.
(?-?) American magician who starred on the Redpath Chautauqua circuit in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Started out with The Baldwins, then launched his own large stage show, performing until retiring in 1913 as "The Great Keene and Company".
Kellar, Harry
(1849-1922)(birthday July 11) American-born Heinrich Keller. Known as the Dean of American Magicians, Harry Kellar enjoyed both unqualified public recognition and financial success. His was by far the largest and most elaborate stage illusion show touring during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is best known for his stunning version of the Levitation, in which a girl mysteriously rises up from a couch, floats across the stage to the audience, then disappears into thin air. On May 16, 1908, Kellar retired and in a grand onstage ceremony, removed his cape and placed it on the shoulders of his chosen successor, Howard Thurston. First Dean of the Society of American Magicians, from 1910 to 1922.
Kennett, Bartt
(?-?) African American magician and theatrical agent who was one of the leading black magicians performing in the 1920's. He was also a charter member of the Colored Actors' Union and served as its Chief Deputy from 1921 to 1937. In 1924, he compiled the Colored Actors' Union Theatrical Guide
Khruse, Kia Khan
Successor to Ramo Samee who introduced the Needle Swallowing Trick
Read the biography of Kia Khan Khruse - see image!
King, Harry
Nighclub mentalist as "Harrison King", "The Rajah Brothers" and "Harry King and Zorita"
Read the biography of Harry King!
Kio, Emil
(1894-1965) Russian magician (real name Emil Feodorovich Hirschfeld-Renard). Successful circus illusionist performing mainly in the USSR.
Kio, Emil Jr.
(b. 1938) Russian magician and elder son of Emil Kio. Became his father's assistant in 1961. On his father's death, he took over the Kio circus magic act with his wife and partner, Eleonora Boleslavovna Prochnizkaya, who was a former premiere dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet.
Kio, Igor
(b. 1944) Russian magician and second son of Emil Kio. Became his father's assistant in 1959. Launched his own circus illusion act in 1966.
Kirsch, William
(1873-1945) American magician who performed as "Prof. William Kirsch". One of his signature effects was called "The Magician's Dream", a variation of T. Nelson Downs' "Miser's Dream" coin production. He frequently performed with his wife, who was billed as "Madame Kirsch".
Kolar, Betty Jane
(b. 1923) American female magician, most remarkable because she was a child. Her father was the magician and escape artist Joseph Kolar, and her grandfather was a vaudeville magician as well.
Kolar, Joseph
(1883-1949) Born December 16. American magician and escape artist who billed himself as "The Great Kolar" during his performing career. His catch phrase was, "Give my regards to the Chief of Police". His was a magical family: his father was a vaudeville magician who toured Europe, and his daughter was the magical child prodigy, Betty Jane Kolar. By 1927, he had retired from show business, and began to write the popular "Chats With Kolar" column in Sphinx magazine. He is credited with inventing several effects taht are still performed today including Clippo (his version was called "Kolar's Magic Shears") and the padlock mentalism effect later adapted by Ted Annemann as Seven Keys To Baldpate.
Koran, Al
(1914-1972) British mentalist (real name Edward Doe), author and magic inventor of Ring Flite. For more information, see Al Koran's Legacy (1973) by Hugh Miller and The Magic of Al Koran (1984) by Martin Breese.
Kovari, George
(b.?) Hungarian-born magician (real name Gyuri Kovari)
(b. 1935)(birthday June 26) American mentalist (birth name George Kresge) who has elevated the field of mindreading to an art form. His enthusiastic style has made him a most popular entertainer; he appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show more times than any other performer.
Krieger, Louis
(?-?) "Prof. Kreiger" was an American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits. Father-in-law of Al Flosso.
Kringsberg, Carold
(?-?) American mentalist and performer on the Redpath Chautauqua circuit in the 1920s with his wife, billed as "Miss Esmeralda Martin, the Girl With the Radio Mind". Their show was mainly an exposure of spirit mediums and their methods.
Kukol, Franz
(?-?) Assistant to Houdini. Invented the Milk Can Escape along with Houdini and James Vickery. Kukol was "The Man with the Axe", the assistant who would rush to save Houdini from the Milk Can, just before Houdini would emerge unharmed. Houdini left him a bequest of $500 in his will.
Kuroki, Prince
(?-?) French magician (real name Fred Brezin) who combined magic and escapes in his late 19th century shows. Dressed as a Japanese character, his unusual act consisted of performing his illusions while in thumb-cuffs.