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The International Brotherhood of Magicians

10 Sep

First Merlin Monday Spotlight is Lance Burton

Category: Merlin Mondays   Posted by: SIMONE MARRON




In 1980 LANCE BURTON became the very first Magician to be awarded the GOLD MEDAL from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Today LANCE BURTON is widely considered by his peers to be the greatest stage Magician of the past century. As magic historian Mike Caveney has stated; “Take every Magician in the world, line them up, and give them each twelve minutes…Lance Wins!”

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Lance Burton burst onto the national stage on October 28, 1981 by making his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. So impressed was Carson while watching the rehearsal, that he allowed Lance to do an unprecedented 12-minute routine, Through the course of Burton’s career, he was invited back for a total of ten appearances while Johnny Carson was host, and another ten appearances during Jay Leno’s tenure.

Over the years Lance Burton has performed on a wide range of TV shows. He racked up appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, The View, Craig Ferguson, The World’s Greatest Magic, Hollywood Squares, and even acted in guest starring roles on Knight Rider and Las Vegas.

In 1996 Lance Burton’s first TV special, LANCE BURTON MASTER MAGICIAN; THE LEGEND BEGINS, aired on NBC. This was quickly followed by a series of annual TV specials. These include: LANCE BURTON MASTER MAGICIAN; THE ENCOUNTER, and also TOP SECRET, ON THE ROAD, and YOUNG MAGICIAN’S SHOWCASE. He also hosted specials for The History Channel, Discovery, Animal Planet, The Family Channel, and many more.

While successful on TV, Lance Burton’s greatest accomplishments have been made in live performance. Working primarily in Las Vegas, he has performed an astounding FIFTEEN THOUSAND shows in his 30-year career. His first job in Vegas was as a featured act in “The Folies Bergere” at the Tropicana Hotel, a job he held for nine years. In 1991 he opened his own show, “Lance Burton World Champion Magician,” at the Hacienda Hotel, which ran for five years.

In 1996 “Lance Burton Master Magician” opened at the brand new Monte Carlo Hotel in the Lance Burton Theater. This was the first time any entertainer in the history of Las Vegas had a theater built and named for him. The contract at the Monte Carlo was for an unprecedented 13 years, the longest contract ever given to a live performer. Lance stayed at the Monte Carlo for a total of 14 years, performing over Five Thousand shows for over Five Million fans, and grossing over Two Hundred Million Dollars. His last performance was September 4, 2010.

Throughout his career Lance Burton has received numerous awards and accolades from his peers:

1980 – First Magician to be awarded the GOLD MEDAL from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

1982 – First American and youngest Magician to win the GRAND PRIX (World Championship) from the Federation Internationale Societes de Magiques.

The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) has honored Lance Burton with awards many times, including: Best Stage Magician, Magician of the Year (twice), and the Masters Fellowship, for which he was the youngest recipient ever.

In the Las Vegas Review Journal “Best of Las Vegas” reader poll, Lance was voted BEST MAGICIAN a dozen years in a row – a feat unequaled to this day.

Today Lance is happily retired and lives quietly in Las Vegas. He spends his time supporting a number of charities, including Nevada SPCA, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, Variety Children’s Charity, and the Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. He mentors young Magicians, and has taken up filmmaking as a hobby.

Lance Burton recently made his debut as a Feature Film Director. “Billy Topit Master Magician” was the closing night film at the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, where it won six awards including Best Family Film.

He is currently working on a number of documentary and narrative film projects. Recently Lance worked on “Oz the Great and Powerful” as Magic Advisor. He taught magic to James Franco, who he now considers his number one student.

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