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Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Our regular Friday Lunch table at the Castle will never be the same... Smile
Steven True
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Bonney Lake,WA
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I met him about when he was at the SAM convention in Pasadena. I so wish I could have called him my friend like so many here are able to do. I rememeber that he had nothing but kind words and time for the new magicians that came up to him and just wanted to meet him. It is sad another of our greats has passed. He will be missed. He is probably at the bar in heaven right now showing them the bird cage.

Ron Reid
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Phoenix, Arizona
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My memory of Billy McComb goes back to the late 80's when he was living in the Magic Hotel next door to the Magic Castle. I got to spend an afternoon in his apartment talking about Card Manipulation with him - he was very nice to me.

Brian Proctor
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The closest I ever got to meeting him was right here through the Café, and from what I knew of him, we lost a wonderful man. Please pray for the family and close friends of Billy.

Jacob Smith
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I also never had the chance to meet Billy,but he was one of the magicians I wanted to meet the most.i always would smile when the colum in Genii or Magic had a story by Mr.McComb.Billy will never be forgoten,nor will someone ever have his charm.

R.I.P Billy
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Profile of cardone
He was one of the greatest !!! He will be remembered ........Rest Billy ..... and smoke that Meerschaum in the sky.......
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Regina, Sask. Canada
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I attended my first IBM convention in Minneapolis a number of years ago. I was seated next to a chap I hardly noticed ...even if I had, I would have been only vaguely aware of his name......he made a very witty comment about an absolutely disastrous contestant...... I laughed and glanced at his nametag....'Billy McComb.' I will miss him along with the great Karrell Fox.I hope there are a number of videos of this great man....until we meet again....Slainte!!
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Profile of magicswan
I sat with him one night at the castle back in 2004..i still got the card he signed for me in my wallet..i never took it out until today so I could look at it..i'm really bummed out.
John Sturk
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Chicago, IL
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I'll share my Billy McComb story: I had decided on the spur of a moment to compete in the competition at Michigan Magic Day 2005 before a panel that included Whit Haydn, Billy McComb, Losander, and Johnny Thompson. My routine went well, but I didn't win.

Afterwards, Billy approached me, complimented my routine and my shoe shine, and told me "Don't worry, it's not your fault (you didn't win). It's the judges!"

He then sat me down, and proceeded to give me a private tutorial that included gems of his close-up repertoire, like the $2 Bill, Palming Smoke, a thing with Zodiac cards, and a quick card trick.

I had never heard of Billy McComb before that day, but ever since, I've snatched up everything I can afford with his name on it. I open my show now with the Half-Dyed Hank in his honor.

What a guy he was to sit a kid down and give him a private lesson! I'll remember that session forever, and I can only hope to have half the success in magic and life as he had.
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Rest in Peace Billy
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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The one time I was fortunate enough to be at the Castle (about three years ago), I had the honor and the oppportunity to have a brief and friendly chat with Billy. We were watching Greg Wilson at the time, in one of the halls, as he (Greg) proceeded to mesmorize visitors with his amazing close-up and audience-management skills.

In addition to being an incredible contributor to the field of magic and showmanship, and the careers of many a magician, Billy McComb was also certainly quite the "ladies' man". I witnessed this close-up and could sense his thrill and the magic as he cast his spell of charm on ladies that he fancied. And they (the ladies)certainly seemed smitten back.

Defintiely a huge loss to the magic community, and of course for his family --and especially for Billy, who seemed to love life and people with intense appreciation.

Our thoughts are with him and those that knew him so well during this time of deep sadness.


Max & Maxine Entertainment
Magicians with a touch of comedy!
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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Chris Reesman just posted this on the Scoundrels Forum. I thought it was worth reposting here as well:

No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Jacob Smith
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I bet Billy is in heaven now telling great magicians of the past his great stories and performing magic at its finest.
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Profile of KirkG


Monday, May 1, 2006

Billy McComb, celebrated Irish entertainer who served for decades as Vice
President of the Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. ("The Magic Castle") and was
the recipient of the "Masters Fellowship," the highest award offered by the
Academy, passed away Sunday, April 30th, 2006 in Los Angeles. He was 84.

"We have lost one of the living legends of magic," said Gay Blackstone,
widow of famed magician Harry Blackstone, Jr. and current President of the
Board of Directors of the Academy of Magical Arts. "Billy's incredible
career reached from the intimate music hall and nightclub stages of London
to the dynamic contemporary stages of Las Vegas. He was an incredible
living repository of magic's history and personalities. We will never again
see another like him."

Mark Wilson, who served on the Academy's Board of Trustees with McComb and
whose 1960s television series "The Magic Land of Allakazam" pioneered the
presentation of magic on network television, agreed. "Billy was a walking
encyclopedia of magic, equally at ease discussing the bill of a 1950s
variety show at the London Palladium or the history and development of any
magical effect or illusion. He served as a magical advisor on countless
films and television shows both here and in the U.K. He seemed to know
everything about the art of magic. He was a truly gifted entertainer who
was generous with both his talent and his creativity."

As a performer, Billy offered the perfect blend of whimsy and wizardry. He
also invented and refined dozens of effects and routines which have became
standards in the field of comedy magic, including the McCombical Deck, the
Half-Dyed Hank, and the Fire Wallet. "In addition to being a truly original
and very funny magician, Billy created hundreds of routines over his many
decades on stage and television around the world," added Dale Hindman,
former President of the Academy of Magical Arts and longtime producer and
director of magic and variety programs. "All you had to do was show him a
new effect and within minutes he would show you a dozen different variations
in presentation and patter. His creativity was legendary."

Milt Larsen, co-founder of The Magic Castle and producer of the renowned
magical revue "It's Magic!" that introduced Billy to American audiences in
1960, said: "Billy McComb billed himself, suitably, as 'Ireland's Largest
Leprechaun.' His comedy was mischievous; his magic was enchanting; his
delivery touched with the Blarney. He was a giant in our art, loved by
fellow magicians and beloved by audiences around the world. He will truly
be missed."

A broken wand ceremony will be held at The Magic Castle on May 21st, 2006 at
4:30 pm. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Irene Larsen, past President of the Academy and co-founder with her husband
Bill Larsen, Jr. and brother-in-law Milt, echoed that sentiment. "Billy was
part of our family and loved by everybody. He stayed with Bill and I when
he first came to visit California. As long as there is a Magic Castle,
Billy's warmth and humor will echo through its hallways."

A broken wand ceremony honoring Billy McComb will be held at The Magic
Castle on May 21, 2006 at 4:30 pm. Arrangements are currently being made
for donations to be accepted in Billy's name to benefit shelters for the
care of abandoned and rescued animals, a cause dear to his heart.

The time is 4:30 PM, and that is the start of the reception(food and drinks) and will go to 5:30 PM when the memorial service will start. This will allow those who are attending the John Born lecture in the Parlor that goes from 3PM - 5PM to not miss the memorial and also participate in the reception time as well.

For further information contact:

Mark Nelson
Secretary, AMA Trustees
(626) 437-7047

Brandy LaPlante
Assistant to the Manager
The Magic Castle
(323) 851-3313
Tony Noice
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I want to add one more McComb story to this thread. When I was a Cruise Director with Sitmar and had the pleasure of having Billy onboard for a season, I once found myself in a bind. I had staged a production show using the acting company, the revue company, and the guest artists for the big farewell night. The guests artists like Sir William did their solo spots while the singers and dancers changed costume. However, two of the guest artists took sick, or jumped overboard, or something, and the show could not go on. So I went to Billy, doing my best to look helpless but ingratiating, and asked him something you would never dare ask a performer. That is, to split his beautifully flowing act into three short spots so the others could get out of evening clothes into clown costumes or some such. I knew it was a great imposition and I think I stuttered and stammered for a couple of minutes before uttering, “ Can you do three spots instead of one?” Without any perceptible pause, Billy said “How many minutes each, dear boy?” All three were superb and the evening was saved. Thanks again to my good friend who is now among his people -- the
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