David Berglas dies aged 97
David Berglas MBE, one of the most influential magicians and mentalists of the 20th century and known as The International Man of Mystery, died last night (Friday) in London at the age of 97, The Magic Circle has announced.
Berglas began his career in the 1950s, becoming a household name with performances on radio and television. He was renowned for creating stunts, among them driving a car around London blindfold.
Berglas was the first magician to have his own series on British television, Meet David Berglas, in 1954 and in the 80s he had a series called The Mind of David Berglas where he entertained celebrities including Omar Sharif, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland.
Cited as an inspiration by the illusionist Derren Brown and the magician Dynamo, Berglas was renowned in magic circles for the Berglas Effect where he was able to find a spectator’s chosen at any number in a deck of cards, It is regarded as the ‘holy grail’ of magic effects and he takes its secret to his grave, as befits a former president of The Magic Circle (1989-1998).
Berglas was honoured with an MBE in 2018 for “Services to Magic and Psychology.” When he stepped forward to receive his award from Prince William, the Prince said: “David is that really you or just one of your illusions?”
While President of The Magic Circle Berglas revitalised the society and was integral in raising the £2.2milion to buy and rebuild its first permanent home in Euston, London. He named it The Centre for the Magic Arts. He was also the first President of the Young Magicians Club and encouraged The Magic Circle’s members to finally admit women, in 1991.
His son Marvin Berglas, elected President of The Magic Circle in September this year, the first son to follow his father in the role, said: “My father was a giant in the magic fraternity, known for his originality, creativity and showmanship. His mysteries have not only baffled audiences but also his peers. However to us, his family, he will always be best remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather.”