Magic Castle founder has star-studded virtual party
Milt Larsen, founder of The Magic Castle Inc. (The Academy of Magical Arts), celebrated his 90th birthday with some familiar faces earlier this month.
He was happy to see everyone, but he still longs for the nights of performances the Magic Castle in Hollywood hosted year-round. He told the News-Press he expects the interior of the castle to open to members May 25.
To accommodate celebrities living across the United States, he had a party via Zoom.
Wink Martindale emceed the virtual party and celebrities such as David Copperfield, Loni Anderson, Neil Patrick Harris, Stefanie Powers, Lance Burton and Michael Feinstein presented well wishes to the “Patriarch of Illusion.”
A small afterparty gathered outside the renowned Magic Castle, which serves food outdoors. The setup made Mr. Larsen feel like he was in a restaurant in Europe.
AMA board president Randy Sinnot Jr. unveiled a plaque naming the lower level of the Magic Castle “The Milt Larsen Inner Circle.”
Other rooms in the castle were named after Mr. Larsen’s magical family members and the land’s original owner, but he didn’t have a room to call his own before his birthday.
“I’m very, very flattered with it,” he said. “We had the wonderful people and the party in person, and some of them were on Zoom and said very nice things to me.”
Mr. Larsen is a prominent magician honored alongside his late brother, Bill Larsen Jr., with a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.
He has performed his annual show “It’s Magic” for more than 50 years, extending the love of magic he inherited to a community of magicians.
He founded the Magic Castle in Hollywood, a famous private club for magicians, alongside his brother and wife in 1963.
In 2000, Magic Magazine lauded him as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the history of magic.
He wrote Truth or Consequences, which starred Bob Barker, for 18 years, and has a cult following in his songwriting career.
Alongside Richard M. Sherman, he’s written musicals that garnered high marks.
In addition to his beloved Magic Castle, he owned and operated Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica and the Variety Arts Theater.
He produced specials for ABC, CBS and NBC, and he was the creator/consultant for the $50-million Caesars Magic Empire at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
His acting extends from yanking tablecloths in films and commercials to a weekly radio feature.
He is a resident of Hollywood and Santa Barbara, and said he’s glad to be in great health.
“Life begins at 90 for me,” he said.