Magicians' Biographies - Letter O

Read about Houdini's pen name, the Stalag 13 P.O.W. magician, the first magician to perform bare-armed, and more!

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Oaks, John H.
(1889-1918) American magician and owner of Oaks Magical Company of Oshkosh, WI in the early 1900s.
O'Brien, R.J. "Obie"
(b.1932) Canadian magician, magic inventor, author and co-founder of the FFFF (Forks Finger Flinging Frolic), the closeup magic get-together held annually for many years at the Forks Hotel in Buffalo, NY.
O'Connor, Billy
(1895-1974) Stage name of Eugene Devot, Irish comedy stage magician specializing in cards.
O'Day, Buddy
(1915-1996) U.S. vaudeville magician from the early 1930s to the early 1970s. Real name William Franklin Tackett.
O'Dell, Dell
(1902-1962) One of the most successful female magicians of the 20th Century. American born, real name Nell Newton. Learned magic from her father, a carnival magician. Specialized in snappy and cute rhyming patter, and lots of promotional material. Husband Charles Carrer, a famous juggler, managed her show and constructed her trademark clever and special props. Her local television show (California) in the early 1950's was one of the first regularly broadcast magic programs.
Odin, Claudius
(1869-1929) Brilliant French closeup magician, inventor and author whose early career was marked with awards and recognition, but who was a recluse for the last 20 years of his life, dying in poverty and obscurity.
(?-1983) French comedy magician and marionette artist. Worked with wife Betty Berkel. Real name Pierre Saint-Denis.
(1867-1911) French magician who found success touring Asia and North Africa. Real name Joseph Charles Mathieu Juppier.
(1889-1975) Argentinian magician and mentalist whose greatest success came with a second sight act with wife and assistant Lizz, performed in the 1920s. Real name Juan Manuel Zolezzi.
Oehler, Andrew
(1781-?) German-born but American national magician who toured extensively through Central America and the new American Indian territories in the late 1700s. His specialty was the ghost show, apparently so realistic that he was jailed several times in Mexico by the superstitious authorities. He wrote the first known autobiography of an American magician, The Life, Adventures and Unparalleled Sufferings of Andrew Oehler, in 1811 when he retired to Trenton, New Jersey.
Oeser, Amanda
(1854-1932) Austrian female magician promoted by magic dealer Conradi-Horster and magic theater owner Kratky-Baschik. She performed between 1874 and 1909 using her own real name or the stage name "Amida".
(1892-1950) French magician and director of the Paris Cabinet Fantastique from 1933 until an illness forced retirement in 1947. Real name Etienne-Louis Pitou. Also known as "Professor Okati".
Oki, George
(1918-1982) German magician, used magic dealer, author- and Burmeister of his town of Rostock.
(1895-?) Japanese female magician, wife and stage partner to Tenkai. Incredibly talented sleight of hand with coins, watches and small objects. Teacher of Taki, another Japanese female magician. Retired in 1972, when Tenkai died. Real name- Iwa Kato.
(1852-1916) Female magician, (real name Julia Ferret), wife and stage partner to Charles De Vere. Performed as a Japanese character. Daughter Clementine De Vere.
See Theo Bamberg
(1917-?) Czechoslovakian cigarette manipulator. Real name Jaroslav Zdarsky.
Obrini, Carlo
(?-?) Italian illusionist who toured Europe in the first decade of the 20th Century.
Oldridge, Sidney
(1862-1940) English stage magician who began his career assisting James Matthews. Toured on his own and with the David Devant show as well.
(1901-1979) Hungarian magician, known as Professor Olgo, who made his reputation with an amazing memory and rapid calculation act.
Oliveira, Joaquim Gonçalves d'
(1854-1928) Dean of Portuguese stage magicians. Touring professional magician in the late 19th- early 20th Century. Author of numerous magic books.
(1771-1839) French stage magician, specializing in manipulation and sleight of hand. Credited with being the first stage magician to perform showing his arms bare.
(?-?) Son of the stage magician/manipulator Olivier, this Olivier focused on magic and ventriloquism as his specialty.
Olms, John
(1880-1955) German magician who frequently played U.S. vaudeville stages. His real name was Richard Lischke, though he also performed as "Bosco-Olms". Billed with his niece and assistant Peggy Lauder as "Johnnie & Nellie Olms".
Olson, Robert
(b.1938) American magician who recreates the performances of historical magicians such as Richard Potter.
Olson, Rev. Robert
(b.1927) American magician, collector and prolific author and illustrator. As a performer, specialized in gospel magic. Noted for his biographies of Howard Thurston, Carl Rosini and Edmund Spreer.
Olten, Jac
(1913-?) French-born stage magician, manipulator and professional gambler. At the start of WWII, he was interred as a Jew in the infamous Stalag 13 German POW camp. His release was secured in 1940 by German magician Kalanag, who also provided him with equipment and bookings. He ended his career working for an American hotel chain in the 1960's.
(?-?) Belgian magician who specialized in hypnotism and mindreading. Performed in Europe and America in the early 1900s. In a program presented for the New York Motor Racing Association in New York City on July 13, 1910, Onofroff's program consisted mainly of blindfolded stunts. In one routine, he had the spectators hammer a nail into the floor, then hide the hammer. Blindfolded, he located the hammer, then went to the spot where the nail was driven, and "hit the nail on the head" so to speak. He also was able to locate "when starting from the basement, an envelope placed in the port hole in the billiard room on the second floor". He also attempted to do a segment on hypnosis, but apparently could not get any of the subjects to cooperate.
Opel, John Henry "Harry"
(1883-1955) Early 20th Century magician and juggler. Editor and publisher of two magic publications, The Voice From the Attic (1929-1952) and Fax (1939). The unique thing about these publications was that each issue was a handwritten copy sent to a small circle of magic enthusiasts.
(?-1846) Holland-born magician who built illusions and automata for Pinetti, deGrisy and the Bambergs.
Orben, Robert
(b.1927) American magician and professional comedy writer. Prolific author of books on patter for magicians. Speech writer for President Nixon and President Ford.
Ormonde, Dr.
(1841-1902) English magician who toured Europe, Australia and India, with his show "The Grand Sunflower Coterie". Briefly worked as an assistant to Signor Blitz (the son) in 1878. Wrote several books on stage hypnotism and spirit expose. Real name Andrew Garrioch Ormond.
(1873-?) American magician, juggler (one half of the "Ornson Brothers" with John Zimmer) and spiritualist.
Orrin, James F.
(1897-1976) British magician, magic inventor and author.
Ortiz, Darwin
(b.1948) American magician specializing in card handling and gambling sleights. Expert on card cheats and scams. Respected lecturer and instructor.
(?-?) French female magician who specialized in lightning mental math calculations, speedy problem solving without the help of a calculator or adding machine. Performed in Paris during the 1920s. Billed as "The Most Amazing Number Juggler Of All Time".
Osborn, Norm
(1928-?) American magician and onetime magic manufacturer (O'Lantern Magic) making glass items for Sam Berland.
Osborne, Paul
(b.1948) American magician and illusion designer from the age of eight. Inventor of scores of illusions, especially designed for amusement park stages. Owner of Illusion Systems in Dallas, Texas.
Osborne, Tom
(1901-1963) American closeup magician who authored a number of books as well as penned columns for Jinx and The Phoenix.
Ose, Jay
(?-1967) American magician specializing in closeup work. Was the first Resident Magician at the Magic Castle in 1963.
Osey, N
Pen name used by Harry Houdini when he acted as Overseas Correspondent for the magazine Mahatma. N. Osey = Nosey. Get it?
(1926-?) French magician and mentalist. Real name Yves Chanot. Partnered with wife "Naga" (real name Huguette) to perform a two-person mentalism act.
Osmann, Alexander
(?-?) African magician who toured England and Europe in the 1870s, then became an assistant to Alexander Hermann.
Otto, Adolph
(?-?) German magic prop maker.
Otto, Harry
(1881-?) American comedy magician who actually got his start by running off to join the circus at age 13. Had a long career, retiring in the 1950s.
Ouellet, Gary
(1945-2002) Canadian magician and producer of a number of successful television magic specials, including The World's Greatest Magic series. He also served as instructions translator for the Tenyo Magic Company of Japan.
Oursler, Charles Fulton
(1893-1952) American magician and well-known mainstream writer. Performed as "Samri Frickell", "Anthony Abbot" and "Sandalwood the Magician". Onetime editor of Liberty magazine (from 1931 to 1942) and Reader's Digest (1944). His 1949 novel, The Greatest Story Ever Told, was a bestseller.
Overing, Merton
(?-?) American magician performing on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits who included in his act an odd art form he called "fabric painting" in which he speedily took scraps of cloth and applied them to a board, quickly creating an artwork which apparently closely resembled an oil painting.
Ovette, Joseph
(1885-1946)(birthday January 20) Italian-born stage magician who gained fame as vaudeville's "The Great Ovette" (real name Giuseppi Olivio). In later years, he performed in Oriental costume as "Lung Tchang Yuen", staying in character even after performances, in the style of Chung Ling Soo. Author of Tricks and Illusionettes (1935). During his lifetime, he put together an impressive collection of important magic books, which was sold to Lloyd E. Jones.
Owen, Carl
(1889-1975)(birthday August 22) American magic manufacturer and inventor. Started work as an illusion builder with Floyd Thayer, then co-founded his own Owen Brothers Magic Company with brother H. Emmett in 1933. Sold to Les Smith in 1963, the magic company, now Owen Magic Supreme in California, continues to produce the highest quality props and equipment for professional magicians. Credited with inventing Dr. Q Slates.
Owen, Henry Emmett
(1891-1955) Younger brother of Carl Owen, and co-founder of Owen Magic Company. Also began his illusion building career in 1919 at Floyd Thayer's company.