IN APPRECIATION FOR THEIR LIFE IN MAGIC
by Dennis Schick • Editor, The I.B.M. Broken Wand
THE BROKEN WAND FOR SEPTEMBER 08
DAVID CHARLES BENTLEY
David C. Bentley, of Bolton, England, died recently. He held I.B.M. number 36623, had been a continuous member of the I.B.M. since 1981, was a member of the British Ring 25, and was a member of the Order of Merlin (over twenty-five years as a continuous member).
FRANK VICTOR BIEROVIC
Frank V. Bierovic, 90, of Palos Hills, Illinois, died July 22, 2008. He held I.B.M. number 27058 and was a continuous member of the I.B.M. since 1974. He was a member of the Jim Ryan Ring 247 and a member of the Order of Merlin (over twenty-five years as a continuous member).
Mr. Bierovic was the owner of Ace Hardware in Palos Hills, past president of the Magic Masters of Chicago, and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians and the Nairomi Clown Troupe. He was a certified hypnotist, a ham radio operator, and world traveler.
He is survived by three sons, Thomas (Laurel), Brian (Eileen), and Mark (Cindy); a sister; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary.
JOHN L. COOPER
John L. Cooper, 81, of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, died July 10, 2008. He performed as Louis Martelle and was better known by that name. He held I.B.M. number 18747, was a continuous member of the I.B.M. since 1962, was a member of the British Ring 25, and was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (over thirty-five years as a continuous member).
Mr. Cooper started in magic at the age of eleven when he saw magicians at the local vaudeville theater, and managed to borrow Hoffman's Modern Magic from the local library. He performed for local churches and private parties until he was fourteen, when he left school to join Murray, the Australian escapologist, as an assistant. He learned the basics of magic within six months and quit to go out on his own as "The French Canadian Humorist." After World War II, he went into lecturing, and that led to a career as a college lecturer and eventually as head of the Department of Business Studies at a college in Sheffield.
An avid supporter of the I.B.M. and the Northern Magic Circle, he attended many conventions with his wife, Joan.
He was past president of the British Ring and a winner of the British Ring Shield. Louis Martelle was featured on the cover of The Linking Ring in the January 2000 issue, when he was president of The British Ring.
KEN DE COURCY
Kenneth Wm. G. Tyler
Ken de Courcy, 86, of Great Britain, died July 24, 2008. He was a former president of the British Ring 25, was a prolific author of magic books, and an inventor of magic effects. Magic was a part of his life for eighty years, beginning when his parents gave him a conjuring set at age six in order to keep him busy. Little did they know the impact which magic would have on him and the impact he would have on magic. He wrote more than one hundred fifty books and booklets on magic, edited Supreme Magic's magazine, was editor of the British Ring’s The Budget, and produced his own Coffee-Break Chronicle, a monthly magazine limited to one hundred subscribers.
The late Billy McComb, longtime friend of Ken and Sue de Courcy, once described his friend as an encyclopedia of practical magic, which was so evident in the pages of the Coffee-Break Chronicle. Mr. de Courcy was a premier ambassador of magic, helping many magicians improve their acts, routines, and effects.
Leland Pennington, who became a friend of de Courcy's in the early 1990s when introduced by the late Ted Salter (who drew the caricatures for the Magic Castle's Wall of Fame), described Mr. de Courcy as a "magical seasoning" because his influences could be seen on so many magicians and effects.
Ian Adair, who worked with Ken de Courcy in the 1960s, wrote: “He always made visits to the Supreme Magic headquarters in Bideford when he was on holiday. Invariably he would bring his latest batch of creations, which usually became marketed items.
“In recent years Ken suffered ill-health. I had been writing to him, often two or three times a week, for the last two years. I always sent him a model of a new effect of mine for his comments, and he would reply by sending suggested comedy patter. My last letter was just two days before he was admitted to hospital. The news that he had passed away came as a profound shock. Ken's legacy to magic is vast, and he will always be remembered.”
Mr. de Courcy is survived by his wife, Sue.
Lou Lancaster, 71, of Brea, California, died July 5, 2008. He held I.B.M. number 65411.
Mr. Lancaster started life on an historic day, having been born on October 31, 1936 -- Halloween -- the date of the final Houdini séance. At age eight, he became interested in magic after seeing a neighbor do several simple magic tricks. He received a Peter Rabbit magic set for Christmas. He entered his first magic store when seventeen, Harry Baker's shop in Washington, D.C. By that time, though, he was already skilled in magic and impressed Baker with numerous card fan productions.
He quit school, joined the Navy, and continued to use magic to his advantage during his four years in the service. In the 1960s Mr. Lancaster performed at the Magic Castle eighteen times. He also toured for many years performing school shows for National School Assemblies.
In the 1970s, he was featured at Mostly Magic, the Magic Towne House, Club Ibis, and was the resident magician at Brown's Hotel in the Catskills. He also performed on six cruise ships during that time.
In the 1980s, he was the resident magician at Magic Island in Newport Beach, California, and also at the same club in Houston.
Mr. Lancaster also performed as "Chan Lu," an act in full Chinese make-up and costume. He wrote a book -- Tricks of the Trade: A Professional Looks at Commercial Close-up Magic -- which is still available. He was featured on the cover of The Linking Ring in August 2005. His performances can be seen on several of IMS Magic Academy volumes.
Derek McFaull, 74, of Wiltshire, England, died August 4, 2008. He held I.B.M. number 67099 and was a member of the British Ring 25. He was president of Ring 25, the largest Ring in the I.B.M., with over 1,700 members.
Mr. McFaull became interested in magic at the age of eleven when he received a magic set as a gift. He immersed himself in magic books at the local library, and joined the Boys Magic Service, a mail order business. Shortly he began performing magic shows, winning talent competitions, and even appearing on television shows. While serving in the Royal Air Force (National Service was compulsory at the time), he entertained both on base and off.
In 1951 he attended his first magic convention, the British Ring at Bournemouth, which led to his active involvement in the I.B.M. and the British Ring.
Following his military service, he joined the family business as marketing director. The position allowed him to travel widely, including five years in Japan. Magic took a back seat during those working years, but he retired early and returned to magic. He performed professionally for five years, but decided he was too old to compete with younger magicians, and moved into the ministry. He studied theology and was ordained as a Church of England minister. He became chaplain to various organizations, and Chief Welfare Officer of the British Ring.
Mr. McFaull was preceded in death by his wife (some fifteen years ago). Between them they have five sons, one of whom has shown an interest in magic. In the January 2008 cover story in The Linking Ring, Mr. McFaull said he hoped that one of his grandsons would take up magic and become a famous magician.
Cengiz Ozyurt, 54, of Istanbul, Turkey, died July 12, 2008. He held I.B.M. number 63214, was a member of the Bosphorus Ring 368, and had been a continuous member of the I.B.M. since 2002.
Mr. Ozyurt began acting in theaters after he finished his conservatory studies in 1975. He worked for many theaters before founding his own theater -- Karatahta (Blackboard), aimed toward children, his first love. He added magic in his theater in 1988 and focused on illusion theater for children. He added ventriloquism later.
He won many awards for his act, including the Champion in Comedy Magic Category of Balkans in 2002. He was a member of the Society of Theater Actors, Turkish Society of Magicians, and the International Society of Puppetry and Shadow Theater. He was one of the founders of the Bosphorus Ring and was its first president.
He lived and died as an artist. He had performed his act with his puppet, when he had a heart attack toward the end of the show and fainted. When he awoke, he finished the show and saluted, apologizing for the break in the show. He took his bow and fell down on the stage as he was taking his final bow. He died there on stage. The last sound he heard was that of the applause from an admiring audience.
He is survived by his wife, Serpil, who also was an actress. They had no children; he took all the children he performed for as his own.
THOMAS S. PINE
Thomas S. Pine, 69, of Perris, California, died recently. He held I.B.M. number 63154 and had been a continuous member of the I.B.M. since 2002.
HAROLD O. RUSSELL
Harold O. Russell, 86, of St. Louis, Missouri, died July 22, 2008 from complications from pneumonia. He held I.B.M. number 23199, had been an I.B.M. member since 1973, was a member of the Spirit of St. Louis Ring 1, and was a member of the Order of Merlin Shield (over thirty-five years as a continuous member).
Mr. Russell was believed to have been St. Louis' first African-American magician. He was widely known throughout the St. Louis area as both an entertaining performer, and also as an inspiration and mentor to many young people and magicians. He was awarded the rare Gold Medal in 2005 by the Society of American Magicians.
As a child he saw Howard Thurston at the Grand Theater in downtown St. Louis, and that planted the magic seed, which didn't bloom until the late 1950s. Then he saw a bartender use flash paper when he returned change to customers, always earning extra tips. Russell was directed to Will Lindhorst's Magic Shop, from which began buying tricks. He worked up an act, and performed at the Gold Palace, the St. Louis Playboy Club, every Magic Jubilee, and any charity show he could find.
Russell said his greatest accomplishment was winning the top mentalist act at the S.A.M. convention in 1971. It was the genesis of his Divine Mind act which he used for the next four decades. He always said the same thing when he appeared to perform: "My name is Harold D. Russell, and I am the star."
Mr. Russell was on the cover of The Linking Ring in November 2005.
ROBERT R. SIMPSON
Robert R. Simpson, 85, of Charleston, West Virginia, died February 17, 2008. He held I.B.M. number 51425, had been an I.B.M. member since 1994, and was a member of the Society of Lowcountry Magicians, Ring 349.