Thursday, March 20, 2008
born July 11, 1849, Erie, Pa., U.S.
died March 10, 1922, Los Angeles
The first great magician native to the United States. Called the “dean of magic” and “the most beloved magician in history,” he was the most popular magician from 1896 until 1908. From age 12 to 18 Kellar learned magic while travelling as an assistant to I.H. Hughes. Kellar opened his full evening show in the United States in 1884. Known as a perfectionist, he carefully planned every word and movement of his act. He soon rivalled the popularity of Alexander Herrmann, whose position as the leading magician in the United States he assumed when Herrmann died in 1896. In 1908 Kellar publicly turned his show over to his successor, Howard Thurston.