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Lost Magic Decoded Premieres Tonight: Meet the Millionaires’ Magician Steve Cohen

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SK: As a magician, who would you say was your biggest influence other than your uncle?

SC: When I was a boy I was really fascinated by Doug Henning. He was a great magician from Canada magician, who was popular in the 1970s and early 1980s. He was kind of a hippie magician, he had really long hair, big mustache, rainbow suspenders, he would hop around stage talking about “the world of illusion” and he was wonderful. He influenced me a great deal when I was growing up.

Also David Copperfield was an influence. I would eagerly watch his television specials as a boy, and little did I know that years later he would come to watch my show in NYC. After the show was over he came up and spent an hour talking with me about how much he loved the show. So it’s come full circle.

There were other magicians along the way who influenced like Harry Lorayne, he is a master of card magic. I learned lot of card magic from spending time with him. Another magician who was very influential to me when I was growing up was a magician who moved out to California named Johnny “Ace” Palmer, I saw his card tricks and his sleight of hand magic, but he was always very polite and sophisticated to the audience, and he treated magic with respect, and therefore the audience treated magic with respect. Which is something you don’t often see: a magician being polite to the audience, generally they are a wisecracker, or a devilish guy, or a devious guy, but Johnny Palmer showed me that you can actually be gentile and playful with your audience, and therefore the audience will be on your side.

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By Steven Knight for PeterGreenberg.com

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