Magicians' Biographies - Letter D

Read about the travelling magician who vanished, the earliest known magician in history, the most famous radio mentalist, and more!

Please CLICK HERE before copying this information
American magician who taught card sleights and gambling moves to John Scarne
Read the biography of The Great Dagmar!
D'Aguilar, Condé
The most famous Portuguese magician of the mid-20th century (Count D'Aguilar)
Read the biography of Conde D'Aguilar - see image!
D'Aguilar, Julia
Wife and onstage assistant to Condé D'Aguilar
Read the biography of Julia D'Aguilar!
(1868-1944) French magician (real name Raymond D'Almoras) who learned his hypnotist and mentalist act in the late 1800s from Donato. Married Antoinette Dartenset in 1908, and they performed a two-person mindreading act with Antoinette playing the part of "Mariska the Medium".
(?-?) European actor who played the part of "Bosco" for a time in the LeRoy-Talma-Bosco act.
(?-?) Italian magician (real name Rocco Palmieri) who worked in America during the 1930s. Took frequent ads in Billboard in his efforts to get bookings, promoting himself at different times as a serious illusionist, a comedy magician, a trick acrobat and juggler, an animal trainer, and a mindreader.
Daniels, Paul
(1938-2016) Born in the north east of Yorkshire, England as Newton Edward Daniels, Paul started to read magic books at the age of 11. After 19 years as an amateur and then semi professional, he turned full time pro at the age of 30. According to a TV records book, he became the most successful television magician of the 20th century, with regular audiences of 15 million viewers in the UK and TV program sales to 43 countries. His live shows were also successful, including a 14 month run in the West End of London. His assistant (later wife), Debbie McGee, became as well known in the UK as Paul himself. A poll once showed him to be the second best known person in the UK, second only to Prince Charles. One of his three sons, Martin Daniels, is carrying on the tradition.
(1883-1955)(birthday October 3) Danish-born magician who became one of the most successful stage magicians in the world.
Dante the Great
(1869-1899) Also known as the "Mormon Magician", Oscar Eliason was a successful American magician, though his career was relatively short. At the age of 24 in 1893, he made several extensive tours of the southwest U.S., Cuba and Australia. He toured up until his untimely death in a hunting accident while on tour in Australia in 1899. See his biography by Kent Blackmore titled Oscar Eliason: The Original Dante the Great.
Dante the Great
(1875-?) When Oscar Eliason was killed, his younger brother Franklin took over the stage name and the show for the next ten years until his retirement from show business in 1910.
Dante, Madame
(?-?) Edmunda Hammer was working in her own Georgia Magnet type act when she met and married Oscar Eliason in 1892. For several years she worked with him as his assistant, billed as "Mlle. Edmunda". On his death in 1899, she toured Australia from 1900 to 1903, before returning to the U.S. and retiring from show business.
Darvin, Henry
(?-?) Polish magician who performed with his brother, Chevalier Ernest Thorn, as part of the Thorn and Darvin magic act in the later 1800s.
(?-?) Belgian female magician (real name Eliane de Bischop) who performed with her husband as "Prof. de Noran and Datura".
Davenport, Nella
(?-?) Imitator of the Davenport Brothers, she performed their spirit act in London during the late 1800s. She was not related to the Davenports, and her real name is not known.
Davenport, Nellie
(?-?) American magician (real name Lucy Mae Keaffer) and wife of Jim Willard, the original "Willard the Wizard". She performed the "Spirit Cabinet" in the Willard show. Mother of Robert Willard and Tommy Willard.
Davis, Blanche Louise
(?-?) Second wife of Philip Anderson, she also acted as his stage assistant. She was billed as "Blanche De La Cour" or "Mlle. Blanche".
Davis, F. Richard
(1875-1933) American magician, successful star on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits from 1915 until his retirement in 1932.
DeBarr, Jim
(?-?) American magician who got his start under Compars Herrmann during the 1860s, but soon tired of performing and sold his show to Robert Nickle.
(?-?) Traveling magician in America, circa 1880. Mentioned in a poster for magician Prof. H.B. Reynolds.
De Bischop, Philippe
(1880-1961) Belgian magician who performed mainly between 1905 and 1924 with his large stage illusion show, touring Europe and Northa Africa. Began his career with an Arabian Nights act, billed as "Bel-Kassem" or "Kedour". Gained his greatest success with his wife, Eliane, as "Prof. de Noran and Datura". By 1950, he was considered a legend- the Dean of Belgian magicians.
De Castiglione, Le Compte Patrizio
(?-?) European comedy magician who played the Robert-Houdin Theatre frequently during the period around 1875. Was given a glowing review for his May 21, 1875 show (see Les soirées parisiennes de [1874-] 1884, Volume 1 page 178).
Decremps, Henri
(1746-1826) French attorney and amateur magician who had a famous feud with the stage magician Pinetti. He first published an expose of Pinetti's methods, which only served to make Pinetti more famous. Later, he wrote a series of books exposing the methods of con artists and card sharps.
(?-?) Considered to be the earliest known named magician in history, this Egyptian conjurer's marvelous feats were related in the famous Westcar Papyrus, dating him to around 2600 B.C. Performing for such luminaries as the Pharoah Cheops, Dedi specialized in decapitation/restoration tricks, such as cutting the head off a goose and then restoring it, leaving the goose alive and well. There is no record of his trying the trick on a living person.
DeJen, Jean
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
De Kastrozza, Iris
(?-?) Latvian assistant and wife of San Martino de Kastrozza. Performed traditional illusions as "Mlle. Helene" and paper folding magic as "Arabella".
De Kastrozza, San Martino
(1877-1946) Latvian magician (real name Julius Skrastin) who was made court magician to Czar Nicholas II. After the Russian Revolution, he and his wife escaped to western Europe, where he performed mainly in Holland and Finland. Just before WWII, he retired to Austria, where he died shortly after the war ended.
DeKolta, Buatier
(1847-1903)(birthday November 18) French magician (born Joseph Bautier) who was not only a successful stage magician but also a prolific magic inventor. Nearly all of the tricks in his show were his own design, including the Vanishing Birdcage and the Multiplying Billiard Balls. A contemporary of Robert-Houdin, DeKolta is probably most remembered for his DeKolta Chair, or Vanishing Lady Illusion, still used today by a number of top performing illusionists.
DeLage, Al
(1914-?) American magician famous for his "World's Fastest Magician" act, in which he performed a maximum number of effects pared down to their fundamentals, without a lot of verbal chatter. He appeared on the 6/10/51 broadcast of the TV program Toast of the Town, the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show. His wives (Shirley from 1935 until 1955 and later Margaret) were also his assistants.
De Lahaye, Marianna
(?-?) French female magician who featured a trained bird act as well as traditional illusion. Performed in the mid-1890s in a shockingly brief costume that was inspired by both the circus acrobats of the time, and by the popularity of dancers like Little Egypt.
(?-?) Austrian-born traveling magician who toured Europe for four decades before performing in America. He suddenly disappeared, leaving his equipment, costumes and posters in a barn in Westerlo, New York, where they were discovered by Peter Monticup in the late 1980s. See his posters here.
Del Gardi, Rita
(1902-?) American magician, real name Margaret Bright. Performed elegant magic in a sleeveless evening gown. Her effects included the Vanishing Bird Cage, a violin that changed to a bouquet of flowers and Houdini's version of the Needle Trick.
Delawarr, Princess
(?-?) European female magician who combined animal training with her spirit act. Her colorful poster shows her blindfolded and seated in a cage surrounded by four lions. She performed with circuses, particularly the Bostock & Wombwellis show in late 1890s Great Britain.
(?-?) Professional magician who appeared on the 12/12/48 episode of the TV program Talk of the Town, the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show, with a unique black art act in which he made Ed Sullivan's head "float" as a finale.
DeLenz, Walter
(?-?) American Coney Island sideshow magician, considered by his "student", mentalist Eddie Fields, to be the greatest carnival magic pitchman who ever lived.
DeLinsky, Mme.
(?-?) European-born assistant to Opré in early 19th Century Belgium.
DeLille, Adrien
(?-?) Stage name of Adrean Goujon. Patriarch of a family of perfoming French magicians (mid to late 1800s), including son Victor deLille (Mons. Adrian), grandson Adrien and granddaughter Louise.
DeLille, Adrien
(1833-1915) French magician in the later 1800s. Son of Mons. Adrian, grandson of Adrean Goujon, brother of Louise DeLille. Sometimes billed as "Prof. A. DeLille".
DeLille, Louise
(?-?) French magician performing in the later 1800s. Daughter of Mons. Adrian, granddaughter of Adrean Goujon, sister of Adrien DeLille.
DeLille, Victor
(?-?) French magician performing as Mons. Adrian, ventriloquist and plate spinner, popular in the mid-1800s.
DeLion, Clement
(1875-1965) Credited with being the first professional magician to make a name performing an ungimmicked version of the Multiplying Billiard Balls. He was married to the magician/ventriloquist "Anonyma".
De Lord, Jacques
(b. 1928) French magician (real name Roger Lajunias) and television star, he has written a number of books on magic. He also wrote a ropes routine, entirely in verse.
(1881-1938) French magician (real name Jules Sirvaux) of small stature who was performing in Paris in the early 1900s. His show consisted mainly of thought transference, telepathy and spiritualism demonstration. Lack of work during the Great Depression may have led to his suicide in 1938.
DeMuth, Frederick
(1885-1961) American amateur magician, inventor of the locking device for the Penetration Frame. As an engineer at the Corning Glass Works, his skill with glass fabrication allowed him to invent a number of glass-related effects, including his versions of Milk Bottle, Utility Glass, Milk Tumbler and Mirror Glass.
de Noran, Prof.
see De Bischop, Philippe
De Rocroy
(1890-1962) French magician (real name Pierre Dessertine) who specialized in grand spectacles for casinos and theaters. Billed as "Le Mystérieux De Rocroy". Retired from magic by the end of 1929, the start of the Great Depression.
DeRovere, Jules
(?-?) French magician who coined the phrase "prestidigitation" in 1815.
Desiree, Aimee
(?-?) Wife of G.W. Hunter. Performed professionally as "Mystia" in the 1890s.
Detric, Charles
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Devant, David
(1868-1941) British magician (born David Wighton) and respected author. Began his career in 1885, becoming so well known that he was asked to join the Maskelyne and Cooke show, performing at the Egyptian Hall. In 1905, he became partners with John Nevil Maskelyne and with him, opened the famous St. George's Hall. Eventually debilitated by Parkinson's Disease, he was unable to perform onstage after 1920, but continued to write and teach magic. He invented a number of wonderful illusions, including the Artist's Dream, in which a painting comes to life. In the tradition of magic, he passed the mantle of magic to a successor on his retirement, choosing magician Claude Chandler.
De Vere, Charles
(1843-1931) English-born magician (Herbert Shakespeare Gardiner Williams). A London magic shop owner, he got the performing bug and made several successful tours of Europe before opening another shop in Paris, which he operated for 30 years. Both De Vere's wife and daughter were also stage magicians. Julia Ferret De Vere performed as Okita; she was the first occidental magician on record to perform in a Japanese style act. Clementine De Vere, their daughter, had a successful magical stage career as "Ionia, the Goddess of Mystery."
De Vere, Clementine
(?-?) Female magician, daughter of Julia and Charles De Vere. Performed as "Ionia, the Goddess of Mystery".
De Vere, Julia
(1852-1916) Female magician, wife and stage partner to Charles De Vere. Performed as "Okita", a Japanese character. Mother of Clementine De Vere.
Deville, The Great
Stage name of British magician Henry Barton Turner
Read the biography of Henry Barton Turner- see images!
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(1848-?) American magician who got his start as assistant to Dr. Lynn from 1873 to 1879. He then took his own show on the road, touring the United States, Europe, and Australia for a number of years. His act combined magic tricks and mindreading. During his 1887 tour of Australia, he shared the bill with magician Canaris. By the turn of the century, he had retired his own show and had changed his focus to promoting the shows of other travelling magicians and carnivals.
Diaconis, Dr. Persi
(b. 1945) Magician and professor of mathematics, he began as a protegé of Dai Vernon. A prodigy, he gained a reputation for his excellence with cards. He also devised the Linking Finger Rings effect, which was manufactured by Richard Himber.
Dick, Harris Brisbane
(1858-1916) Son of William B. Dick, he took over the Dick & Fitzgerald Publishing Company from his father in 1898. Like his father, he was an entusiastic amateur magician, and wrote several books on card games under the pen name "Trumps Jr.". After he died of a heart attack while riding the Boston subway, it was discovered that he had willed a bequest of $1 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, plus the Dick collection of rare books and antique magical apparatus. The collection is still housed at the Museum, cataloged as the "Dick & Fitzgerald Collection".
Dick, William Brisbane
(1827-1901) Enthusiastic American amateur magician most noted as an author and publisher of magic books and books about gaming as entertainment. Dick wrote under various pen names. As "Trumps" (a nod to the card-playing term), he wrote books about gambling and card-playing amusements, including The American Hoyle; or Gentleman's Hand-Book of Games (1864). As "Leger D. Mayne" (an obvious play on the word "legerdemain", he wrote a number of magic books, such as What Shall We Do Tonight? (1873), a compilation of party activities plus magic tricks from sources such as Stodare and Robert-Houdin. The activities include such bizarre games as "The Irishman's Wake", in which one person plays the corpse, and the other guests give speeches (good or bad) about him. Original and reprinted copies of this book are still available today. The books were published by the Dick & Fitzgerald Publishing Company, a New York City publisher which he founded and owned with partner Lawrence R. Fitzgerald. The company published books on all kinds of popular entertainment, including games, physical fitness, fishing, and minstrel songbooks. With a passion for magic as an art form, Dick amassed an impressive collection of magic books and antique magical apparatus (particularly some rare pieces from France). The collection was passed to his son, and when his son died unexpectedly, the collection was donated to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Dietric, Charles
(1886-1967) American magician, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, whose show was billed as "Dietric and Company". The show included both musical and magical entertainment.
Dingle, Derek
(1937-2004) English magician and legendary card expert who began his career in Canada, learning from Eddie Fechter and Ross Bertram. By the late 1960's, he was an important part of the New York City magic world. Though he taught other up and coming magicians the secrets of his incredible card effects, many of the moves were very difficult for others to duplicate. He was an absolute delight to watch, however, as he looked charmingly like Dudley Moore as "Arthur" performing card tricks.
Dockweiler, M.M.
(?-?) Austrian magician and Philadelphia magic manufacturer in the mid- to late-1800s. Probably introduced the Growth of Flowers trick to Harry Kellar.
Doebler, Ludwig
(1801-1864) Austrian magician whose most famous tricks were the lighting of 200 candles on the stage with one shot of a pistol, and the "Flora's Flower Bouquet Production", in which he produced a seemingly endless number of flowers out of an empty felt hat. The candle trick was actually performed using electricity, a rarely seen and mysterious commodity when he began performing this trick in 1840. He retired from magic in 1848.
(?-?) Swedish magician who performed in Paris in the late 1800s.
(1845-1900) Belgian magician (real name Alfred-Édouard d'Hont) who performed as a hypnotist and mentalist in late 1800s France. Taught his act to Dalmoras.
(1865-1945) French magician (real name Georges-Fran├žois Blanc) who began his career around 1892, and found great success touring the world with his illusion show. The show featured a spiritism segment, performed by his wife Helene as "Saltana Hakoum" the medium. The show also featured a rather gruesome illusion involving a Guillotine and an impalement.
Door-Leblanc, Mme.
(?-?) French magician (real name Helene Blanc) who performed as "Saltana Hakoum" the medium in the Door-Leblanc show.
Dornfield, Werner "Dorny"
(1892-1982) American-born magician and author of books on magic patter. Sixth Dean of the Society of American Magicians, from 1974 to 1982.
Downs, T. Nelson
(1867-1938)(birthday March 16) American magician known as the "King of Koins". His skill with sleight of hand was legendary; he invented numerous moves, including the Downs Palm, still very much in use today. Published two classic books on coin magic.
Dreilinger, Samuel L.
(?-1979) American magic collector. First president of the Magic Collector's Association (1950-51), his large book collection was purchased by John McManus, whose extensive collection can be seen at the Library of Congress.
Dubois, Dick
One of four actors to play the Bonomo Magic Clown on television
Read the biography of Dick Dubois!
Ducrot, Frank
(1877-1939)(birthday May 7) American magician, born Theodore Francis Fritz. Was a star performer in the Chatauqua and Lyceum circuits as well as vaudeville before purchasing the Martinka Magic Company in 1921. Very creative, he had already invented the 20th Century Silks (in 1900), Cigarette Dropper (in 1902) and Blendo (in 1909), so was well suited to become an important magic dealer and manufacturer. He continued to purchase other magic shops, including Sam Bailey, Clyde Powers and C. Milton Chase, combining them all under the Hornmann Magic Company name. (Hornmann Magic Co. was sold to Al Flosso in 1939). He also edited the famous Mahatma magazine from 1901 to 1906, and held Membership #15 in the Society of American Magicians.
CORRECTION: We have been contacted by a relative of Frank Ducrot who gives his birth year as 1877. Previously it was widely reported as 1872.
Duffy, John
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Dulaar, Prof.
(?-?) French magician who was performing in various museums and theatres in Paris the late 1890s. Operated his own theater, Theatre Mondain, from 1898-1900.
Dulay, Benson
(?-?) Inventor of the Multum in Parvo effect, in which a large glass of milk is poured into a small glass, without overflowing.
Dunn, Harvey
(1894-1968) American vaudeville magician who had a career as a B-movie actor, including minor roles in several films by legendary cult director Ed Wood.
Dunn, Ricki
(1929-1999) Well-known for his Las Vegas pickpocketing act, he appeared numerous times on television. Wrote a book about the electric chair gaff as used by magicians.
Dunninger, Joseph
(1892-1975)(birthday April 18) American magician and legendary mentalist. Started his professional career in 1908, concentrating on mindreadingby 1920. He quickly became an international radio star, a position he enjoyed through his successful move to television in the mid-1950s. A real showman, he did more to promote the art of mentalism than any other performer besides Alexander. He retired in 1975 due to Parkinson's Disease.
Dunworth, Frederick
(?-?) East Coast society magician, circa early 1900s, specializing in house party performances for the children of wealthy clients.
Durno, J. H.
(?-?) American magician from Rockford, Illinois who was a major star on the Lyceum circuit during the late 1800s and first part of the 1900s. Sometimes partnered with a musician/magician named Emmett in a double bill of magic and music.
Duval, Ade
(1898-1965)(birthday December 31) American magician, real name Adolph Amrein, who worked with Andrew Blaeser as part of the moderately successful "Duval Brothers" on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits in the early 1920s. When his partner retired in 1924, he became a star of vaudeville with his own act, featuring his signature "Rhapsody In Silk" routine and co-starring his wife, True. Retired in 1955 when True became ill.
Duval, True
(?-1956) American female musician (real name Gertrude Erickson) with an all-girl band, performing on the Lyceum circuit when she met and married Ade Duval. Became part of his famous "Rhapsody In Silk" act.