Following on from my previous posts about my favourite magicians, the magic community sadly lost one of the greats earlier this year. Eugene Burger passed away in August, aged 78. While he did not reach celebrity status, Eugene was a regular performer at high-society events in his hometown of Chicago, and was hugely respected amongst magicians. He regularly taught at The McBride Magic & Mystery School in Las Vegas. Derren Brown has cited Eugene as an early influence, and wrote a lovely article about him after his death
I first saw Eugene Burger on UK television back in 1988 on Paul Daniel’s special “Live at Halloween Show”. He returned to British TV the following year on The Best Of Magic (the full episode is here if you want to watch it. I loved this show as a teenager!)
I remember three things about the first time I saw Eugene perform. First, he actually looked and sounded like a real wizard, with his long white beard and deep baritone voice. Second, his magic was incredible and flawless. And finally, every “trick” had a story, and some deeper meaning. Here’s a clip of Eugene performing one of his signature pieces to give you an idea of what I mean.
As well as appearing in several UK TV specials, he appeared on TV in Canada, Belgium, Finland Japan, and at home in the US. He was also profile by CNN on two separate occasions.
Eugene wrote numerous articles and books for professional magicians and his theories will no doubt continue to influence magicians for years to come. I was lucky enough to see him lecture for magicians live on a couple of occasions. His teaching was at the same high standard as his performances.
Thanks for the memories and the important lessons Eugene, you’ll be missed by many.