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Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day February 6 – Doug Henning

No Comments 07 February 2012

Wow folks,

The NOR has a gem of a DPD for you today. Doug Henning. Very interesting subject. Throughout the 1970s and early 80s he was the biggest magician in the world and enjoyed massive success…the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Harry Houdini. Among other things some highlights of his career include

  • 4 year run on Broadway with The Magic Show
  • Annual TV Specials on NBC that saw sky high ratings
  • He staged magic effects for rock bands, including the Jacksons
  • Appeared on the Tonight Show
  • Was a guest at the White House
  • Had his hands insured for $3 million, $300,000 per finger.

Now the story gets a bit more interesting. In 1986 he decided to give it all up and walk away. He sold all of his tricks to David Copperfield – some insist Copperfield would still be waiting tables if Henning never existed – and got really into Transcendental Meditation (TM). He started to devoutly follow some quack yogi and the downward spiral ended with Henning running for Parliament (in Canada) under the Natural Law Party (which he lost badly) and a failed attempt at building a $1.5 billion amusement park, dubbed Veda Land, that would promote enlightenment through TM and have a floating building. Wow, what a run eh?

Take it away NYT.

Doug Henning, a Superstar Of Illusion, Is Dead at 52

By JESSE McKINLEY
Published: February 09, 2000

Doug Henning, the ebullient, shaggy-headed magician who sparked a renewed interest in the craft and breathed new life into some of history’s most famous illusions, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 52 and lived in Los Angeles.

The cause was liver cancer, according to The Associated Press. He had been ailing for five months.

With a curly mane of hair and a near-constant grin, Mr. Henning was one of the most famous illusionists in the world during the 1970’s and early 80’s, appearing in three Broadway shows and a dozen television specials. In each case, he stunned audiences with a seemingly impossible array of disappearing assistants and levitating ladies. Doves became rabbits in Mr. Henning’s hands, and horses took wing. Continue 


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