Sunday, April 30, 2006

R.I.P. Billy McComb


It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Billy McComb. There is no other information at this time. From magicwebchannel.com:

Billy McComb was an Inventor, Comedian, Doctor of Medicine, Actor, Author, Magician, and perhaps the most renowned historian of the magical arts today. Billy has had enough experiences for five lifetimes and yet he still continues to perform and tour, delighting anyone lucky enough to cross his path. He was billed as "The World's Largest Leprechaun", having been born in Northern Ireland.

Billy was the son of Sir Charles Henry McComb, who was knighted by King George V for his valuable research in the field of X-rays. Billy himself earned his Doctor of Medicine to please his family but soon learned that he had to please himself so he gave up medicine and moved to London to pursue his dream as an entertainer.

He soon became a fixture in London's West End, doing anything he could to learn the trade. He did voice-overs, films, radio and he was becoming well known in the nightclub scene. He even opened for Bob Hope at the Prince of Wales Theater. Within a few years, Billy was headlining himself. with an original blend of comedy and magic. Then came the pinnacle of his career when he was asked to do a Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth at The London Palladium. The show was a great success and Billy decided it was time to take his act to America.

Americans loved his style as much as the Brits and Billy became such a huge hit he was booked on just about every television\variety show on air during that time. He has made over 300 personal appearances on TV and in movies. He has also starred in many of his own TV shows for the BBS. He has worked the best theaters, cruise ships, and clubs around the world and is now internationally renown in the world of magic for his innovative effects. Billy decided to concentrated his efforts solely on magic and has published many books on magic, which are still poured over by magic students today. He has enough magic awards to fill a warehouse

At the age of 76, Billy lived in Hollywood and was vice-president of the prestigious The Magic Castle and an Honorary Lifetime Member. He was recently asked to play the Main Room at The Sahara in Las Vegas, a dream that had always eluded him, and was held over an unprecedented five weeks by the casino. The reviews were stellar and people both young and old loved Billy's classic wit and timeless humor. His self deprecating remarks about his age played an integral part in his show, helping to enhance it even more.

Magicians from all corners of the world come to see and learn by watching The One and Only McComb work his magic. He was recently honored and roasted by his peers who included Harry Anderson, Penn & Teller, and all of the luminaries of magic who, at one time or another, were influenced by Billy.

Billy McComb was a true gentleman and people could sense that when they meet Billy without a word spoken. That's the most revered magic accomplishment of his entire career.

Most contemporary successful comedy magicians will gladly admit that they have been highly influenced by Billy McComb, some even crediting their careers to him. And no wonder: every detail of his act is worked out and refined, fueled by his enthusiasm for magic and hyperactive creativity.

Billy began his performance career in Britain where he had 9 shows of his own and appeared in over 40 films. The pinnacle of his British career was a Royal Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth at The London Palladium. In the States, he has appeared on such TV shows as The Tom Snyder Show, Matlock, Adam 12 and the Disney TV movie, The Young Harry Houdini. Billy has also appeared in the movie Lord of Illusions with Clive Barker. His awards include two from the Academy of Magical Arts, and an election to the S.A.M.'s Hall of Fame. He is Vice-President of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, and in 1999, Magic magazine selected him as one of the 100 most influential magicians in the 20th Century. And recently, Billy opened in Las Vegas for The Amazing Jonathan, and has appeared in The Lance Burton Show at the Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino.

MM

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