Magicians' Biographies - Letter R

Read about the first blindfolded plane flight, the famous magic mythbuster, the magic lantern magician, and more!

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Raboid, Rajah
(1896-1962) (birthday January 22) American magician born Maurice Kitchen. Began as a carnival illusionist billed as "Ray Boyd", but changed his stage name to the more exotic "Rajah Raboid" when he revamped his act from magic to mindreading, using many methods learned in his youth in New Orleans. He is credited with being the first blindfolded magician to pilot a plane. His was the show that featured half man Johnny Eck and his full sized twin in a truly inspired version of the Sawing in Half illusion. His mentalism skills, performed both on pirate radio out of Mexico, and for private clients, helped him amass quite a fortune.
Rae, Oswald
(?-?) British magician, author, inventor. Wrote Sub Rosa and invented Flexible Glass.
Rami Sami
See Sam Margules.
Randi, James
(1928-2020)(birthday August 7) Canadian-born magician, escape artist, lecturer and professional skeptic, specializing in the exposure of fraudulent mediums, psychics and faith healers. Birth name James Hamilton Randall Zwinge. Began his career working sideshows as "Prince Ibis" with a mentalism act. Gained international fame by the 1960s as a bold escape artist. Retired as an escape artist in 1989, naming Dean Gunnarson as his successor. Featured in a number of television shows, first as an escape artist/magician, later as a debunker. Long-running professional "feud" with psychic performer Uri Geller; Randi even wrote a book exposing Geller's methods. Operates the James Randi Educational Foundation, "an educational resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural", which offers a $1 million prize to any individual who can satisfactorily demonstrate supernatural abilities. Author of a number of excellent books exposing frauds.
Ranni, John
(c1780's-1810) Scottish magician and ventriloquist who is credited with introducing the trick Card On Ceiling. Also employed a young Richard Potter.
Ransom, Elmer
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
Ray, Del
(1925-2003) American magician born Delbert Raymond Petrosky. Met Harry Blackstone, Sr. when he joined the Army at age 17, and later toured with Blackstone as his assistant for two years. Following that, he had a successful career as a night club magician, especially with his innovative electronic magic effects. He appeared on the 6/24/51 broadcast of the TV program Toast of the Town, the early version of the Ed Sullivan Show.
Razoux, Paul H.
(?-?) American magician on the Redpath Chautauqua circuit around 1910. Performed as half of the Razoux-Berg Company magic act with partner Russell O. Berg.
(1892-1966) German magician (real name Reinhold Schafer) who began as assistant to Taft in 1913. By 1923, he had his own illusion show, performing as "Reini Schafer". By 1930, he had changed his stage name to "Recha", and performed mainly in European circuses as "The World's Greatest Russian Illusionist".
Redan, Ellinor
(1874-?) First female magician with a membership in the Society of American Magicians. She was on record as performing professionally in the Boston area from 1903-1908, with a very feminine act that centered around flags and silks.
Reeves, Washington
(?-?) Assistant to Black Herman, Washington Reeves shrewdly cashed in on Black Herman's legend by charging admission to view the magician's body after he collapsed and died onstage.
Reno, Ed
(1861-1949)(birthday August 23) American magician (born Edward Munn Burdick) famous for his long career as a Chatauqua magician. His first wife Emma worked with him as "Madame Reno, Empress of Magic". Well respected by his fellow performers, Ed Reno was also known to take time for impromptu performances on the street whenever he met his young fans. Two of their children, as well as a son-in-law, became a part of the "Reno Funmakers" act in the 1920s. His daughter Emily's husband Arthur Gilbert performed as "Argus", and their children Harry ("Prince Hari") and Auline Myra Burden ("Princess Noni") performed as well. Though both Emma and Auline Myra died in 1927, Ed Reno continued to perform professionally into his 80s.
Reno, Madame
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(?-?) Yugoslavian magician who performed a full evening show of grand illusion in the early 1900s. His show featured rapid-fire illusions, quick-change artistry, and an Oriental-themed routine, but was mainly centered around mindreading and spirit phenomena. Assisted by his wife, "Fatma".
Reynolds, Prof. H.B.
(?-?) American traveling magician performing on the East Coast of the United States circa 1880. His signature routine was called "Freaks", in which he produced living creatures from soil, water and otehr ingredients.
Reywils, Max
(1901-1960) French magician and escape artist who presented a grand full evening show. Featured a mindreading and spiritualist segment with "Miss Nelly".
Rich, Gus
(1833-1917) American traveling magician, billed as the "Wizard of the Blue Ridge". Subject of the modern play, The War Wizard, an account of Rich's experiences with a Confederate musical band during the Civil War.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(1894-1976) French comedy magician (real name Robert Rouet) who started his career in 1908 as "Professeur Wilsonn", "Abdouz-el-Ménir", and "Ten-Okio", then finally settling on "Robelly" in 1913. Also authored a number of French books on magic.
Robert-Houdin, Jean
(1805-1871)(birthday December 7) Father of the modern art of magical performance.
Roberts, Eddie
American comedy mentalist who did a second-sight act with his wife, Lucille
Read the biography of Eddie Roberts - see image!
Roberts, Lucille
Female comedy mentalist who did a second-sight act with her husband, Eddie
Read the biography of Lucille Roberts - see image!
Robertson, E.G.
(1763-1837) Belgian illusionist who created special effects with the magic lantern, known as "phantasmagoria". This was the precursor to the cinema arts developed in the decades after his death. Real name Etienne-Gaspard Robert.
Robertson, Lucille
(?-?) French magician, wife and partner of Prof. Robertson in a two-person mindreading act that toured with the Benevol show from 1913 until 1937. Lucille retired in 1946, and was replaced in the act by Lucy Sloves. The Robertsons' daughter, Odette Colson, became a circus magician.
Robertson, Prof
(1887-1968) French magician (real name Robert-Adrien Colson) who started as a society card magician, but found his success after 1910 performing a two-person mindreading act with his wife, Lucille. The act became a featured part of Benevol's show until 1937, when the Robertsons went out on their own. When Lucille retired in 1946, she was replaced in the act by Lucy Sloves. Robertson's daughter, Odette Colson, became a circus magician.
Robin, Henri
(1811-1874) (birthday July 12) French magician (real name Henri-Joseph Donckèle) and early film pioneer as well as the owner and star of his own "Salle Robin" magic theater in Paris. Starting his career in 1844, Robin's shows were mainly larger magic tricks, exhibits of automata, and spirit exposes. Perhaps the most popular effects, though, were his "Agioscope", the projection of film image on a blank canvas screen, and his version of Pepper's Ghost, the famous hologram illusion. After operating his successful theater from 1862 to 1869, Robin retired from show business and became the manager of an apartment house in Paris. His biography is Henri Robin: Expositor of Science and Magic by Edwin A. Dawes.
(?-?) American magician on the Redpath Chautauqua circuit from the late 1800s into at least 1926. Promoted himself as "Greatest Living Sleight of Hand Artist" and "the only man in the history of Magic to use regular Ivory Billiard Balls for Sleight-of-hand effects, featuring his Phanton [sic] Billiard Ball, Magic's Most Baffling Effect".
Robsen, Stuart
(?-?) New York City magic shop owner in the 1930's who employed a young Robert Orben.
Rodeheaver, Homer
American vaudeville and Chautauqua magician
Read the biography of Homer Rodeheaver!
(1872-1946) (birthday October 30) Czecholslovakian magician (real name Eduard Krause) who turned himself from a shoe salesman into The Great Roland. Starting his career in the early 1900s as a magician and quick-change artist, his show featured an illusion called "Mistery", which was a variation of Kellar's "Butterfly" illusion. For a time, one of Roland's assistants was a young Mme. Margo. In his 1950 book In My Mind's Eye, Frederick Marion recalled working with Roland in the mid-1920s, and being impressed by Roland's presentation of the famous Spirit Cabinet. Roland's act was pure magical illusion; he did not claim spirit or psychic powers, nor did he expose the illusion.
(?-?) American magician on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits.
(?-?) American magician and juggler who played the Lyceum and vaudeville circuits with his partner, E. A. Hendrickson, from the late 1800's into the early 1900s.
Rosini, Carl
(1885-1969) (Birthday January 14) Polish-born magician (real name Jakob Rosenzweig, changed his legal name to John Rose). Performed as "Carl Rosine", then "Carl Rosini". Started his career as assistant to The Great Anthony, a minor magician playing smaller houses in Great Britain. Anthony would "hypnotize" Rosini, supposedly giving him the ability to perform incredible feats of magic. On day, while Rosini was onstage performing, the near-destitute Anthony fled with Rosini's possessions. Houdini's manager Harry Day was able to get Rosini a booking at the Alhambra Theater, which was the start of a successful stage career. Rosini married dancer Peggy Barclay and they moved to America in 1911, where they enjoyed a long vaudeville career, retiring in 1948. Carl Rosini was the mentor to Paul Vucci, who subsequently performed as "Paul Rosini".
Rosini, Paul
(1902-1948) (Birthday September 29) Italian-born magician, real name Paul Vucci. Started when he was taught the Cups and Balls trick by Theo Bamberg in 1919. Bamberg introduced him to Julius Zanzig, who hired him to replace his wife in the Zanzigs' sensational mindreading act. Vucci performed as "Henry" for one year, before being drafted to serve in World War I. After returning from the war, he worked with several shows, including Carl Rosini's. Vucci was so impressed with Carl Rosini's success that he changed his own professional name to "Paul Rosini"- without Carl Rosini's permission. The confusion caused by the similar names was distressing to Carl Rosini, and he actually filed for an injunction against Paul Rosini, preventing him from working under the Rosini name in New York. Nevertheless, Paul Rosini built a strong career for himself, becoming one of the most popular nightclub magicians of the 1930's and 1940s. Unfortuantely, he died at the aerly age of 46.
Rouclere, Harry
(1866-1942)(birthday June 3) American magician and mentalist. Real name John Henry Terhune. Started his career at age nine as a dog trainer and circus juggler in the team of Nelsonia and Rouclere. Toured with his own magic show, performing illusions of his own invention. Married Mildred May and began a legendary two-person midreading act they called "Psychonotism", really a form of muscle reading. Later, they called it "Mildredism". After a successful career, he retired to his New Jersey home to operate the family hotel.
Rouclere Jr.
(?-?) American magician, daughter of Harry Rouclere. Real name Mildred Terhune Yull. Performed manily smaller shows for schools and civic organizations with her "Miniature Magic Show". She also had a regular local radio show on WPAT in Paterson, New Jersey in the early 1950s.
Rouclere, Mildred
(1869-1938) American magician and mentalist, wife and partner of Harry Rouclere. Real name Mildred May Searing. Had a successful career as the specialty dancer "Millie May" before marrying Harry Rouclere in 1889.
(1844-1920) English-born magician (real name Philip Prentice Anderson) who was the illegitimate son of John Henry Anderson. From 1858 until 1867, he toured with his father's illusion show. In 1867, he went out on his own, billed as "Signor Rubini" and touring Europe and the United States. Having little success, he abandoned his own show, working for about a year on Heller's show as one of his assistants. Just before his father's death, he took over the character of "Prof. Anderson, The Wizard of the North", mostly touring outside the United States. By 1900, he retired from show business and moved to Australia, where he became a dentist, then later moved to England where he died. His wives were also involved in his shows. His first wife was Louise Maude Anderson. His second wife, Blanche Louise Daniels, was billed as "Blanche De La Cour" or "Mlle. Blanche".
Rubini, Eugene de
(1891-1964) Austrian-born mentalist who started his career in Europe, but was performing in the United States by the early 1920s. His specialty was the ability to find a specific object hidden within a certain geographic area, with his greatest talent being the ability to "read" facial expressions, body language, and muscle movements. His convincing performances resulted in his being studied by a number of scientists in Vienna and in the United States. According to Rubini researcher Steve Smith, Rubini refused to be blindfolded during his act. He once agreed to be tested with blinders, so he could only see straight ahead, and he failed miserably. Frederick Marion's career was inspired by Rubini. Rubini is reported to have given lessons in muscle reading to Houdini.
Rucker, Benjamin
(1892-1934) See Black Herman.
Rush Ling Toy
(1886-1960) See George LaFollette.
(1880-1932) French magician (real name Georges Gay). Billed as "Satan's Barman", he created the "Magic Bar" or "Any Drink Called For" act in which he would instantly produce any beverage named by a spectator. This very popular routine was copied by many other performers, including Think-a-Drink Hoffmann, Joan Brandon, and DeRoze.