Remembering Ted Lesley - Magical Entertainer and Mentalist
Germany's number one magical entertainer and mentalist was born in Dueren in the Rheinland region of Germany on August 1st, 1937. One of his grade school teachers knew a few magic tricks which Ted so enjoyed that from then on, he pursued magic as a hobby - much to the chagrin of his parents who energetically suggested that he learn "something proper". And so, Ted Lesley became an accountant and later on, a tax consultant, in Berlin.
At the time, there was a night club in Berlin called the Red Rose. Ted visited it every night, especially if a conjurer was appearing. Here, he became acquainted with some famous artists in the field who gave him countless tips for what was then only a hobby. Among these famous names were Danny Ray and Mervyn Roy, who performed for years at the Lido in Paris.
On one particular day, famous film director Otto Runze asked for Ted's help with an accounting audit. While discussing the audit, Ted's magic so impressed the director that he was offered a major role in the film, The Lord of Barmbeck, on the spot. After the film wrapped, Ted gave up his pencil-pushing profession forever to "thread the boards which portray the world", And the rest, so they say, is history.
In 1974, Ted Lesley got his first professional stage engagement at the Messeshow in Hanover, one of Germany's leading trade shows. Following that was his first television performance which drew the attention of another club owner in Berlin. He immediately hired Ted to head up his nightly cabaret. His performances were so successful that he remained at the club for several months. Afterwards followed engagements in night clubs and theaters all across Europe, including the famous Olympia in Paris.
While working back at the Red Rose, Ted met the director of the former Berlin Hilton Hotel who hired him to perform at the Pavilion Bar. Lesley remained there at the bar until it closed down some eighteen months later.
In 1987, Ted's headline predictions in five major German cities caused a nationwide sensation in the press. People wondered if he actually had genuine psychic powers or if his presentations of clairvoyance were merely examples of trickery and deception. But Ted Lesley would simply smile. The audience would have to decide that for themselves.
Ted would continue to perform tirelessly over the next decade. During this time, he was awarded some of the most prestigious awards ever to be given out by the magic elite. In 1997, he was given the Leslie P. Guest Award from the Society of American Magicians. In 1999, he was elevated to Member of the Inner Circle, Gold Star, by the Magic Circle of London. And, in 2001, he received the Creative Fellowship Award by the Academy of Magical Arts. With that, Ted Lesley became the most internationally recognized German magician to grace the face of the earth.
Along the way, he invented and perfected many effects including The Working Performer's Marked Deck, The Working Performer's Hydrostatic Glass, Credit Card Card Trick, Delsey Miracle, Automatic Pegasus Page and the Teleport Envelope.
Among his many writings, in German, French and English are The Working Performer's Marked Card Manual, The Kismet Connection and Paramiracles. Also, he contributed numerous articles to countless magic periodicals worldwide.
Ted Lesley passed away in his sleep on Friday, October 28th of 2008 at his home in Berlin. A great loss which is still being felt by many, myself included.
I had the privilege of attending one of Ted's lectures several years ago. I learned more during that one hour with Ted Lesley than I had in ten years of reading magic books. During the break, he and I were the only two from the class who stepped outside for a smoke. I was so in awe of the man that I couldn't bring myself to approach him. I so wish now that I had...
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Friday, 24 July 2009
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