It is with great sadness that I report that Sam Schwartz, beloved Dean of SAM #1 and a magic icon of the New York City magic scene, has passed away at the age of 97.
Foa all those who are able to attend, the funeral will be held on Tuesday Nov. 17 at 12:30pm at:
Ballard-Durand Funeral Home
2 Maple Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
Here is a bio that appeared in the 2006 Annual Salute to Magic program that honored Sam:
A Salute to Sam
The magic bug bit Sam Schwartz late and it bit hard.
He was a corporate lawyer and 41 years old when he decided to sign up for an introductory magic class in an adult education program. For most, such an activity would be a midlife diversion. But for Sam it was the beginning of a lifetime of marvels and innovation. His additions to the fields of close-up, parlor and mental magic would change how magicians saw their craft, and his service to the magic community would keep alive the traditions that anchor us all.
Within a year of learning his first magic trick, Sam was teaching his own group of students. He became a Saturday regular at Tannens Magic Shop, the midtown emporium where, as luck would have it, he befriended Ed Balducci, the inventor of the classic magicians wallet. At gatherings at Eds Brooklyn home, he started brainstorming with magic greats like Dai Vernon, Sam Horowitz, Slydini, Herb Zarrow, Ken Krenzel, Connie Bush, Al Goshman, Cardini, Henry Christ, Gene Elmo and Harry Lorayne.
Sam credits his acceptance in this inner circle to the fact that some of these legends were his age contemporaries they could relate on a personal level. They certainly must have warmed to Sams wit, smarts and passion for magic.
Sam Schwartz is one clever innovator, too. Whimsical and entertaining, his magic has fooled the cleverest minds in magic.
Three of his most successful commercial tricks made significant contributions to the advancement of magic: Incredi-Box applied new principals to the traditional coin box, Backflip increased the number of card changes that could be performed in a standard packet trick, and Astrology: The Hidden Force explored new ground in mentalism. More than 100 of his routines or effects have been published in magazines like Pallbearers Review (two complete issues!), Tops, M-U-M, Swami (India) and Linking Ring. His Copper/Silver coin effect won a Linking Ring award.
Sams: The Magic of Sam Schwartz (2003) is a compilation of Sams gems. It is still on magics best-seller lists and has introduced his work to a new generation of magicians. An earlier booklet, Play It Again, Sam (1977) is a treasure trove of material still appreciated by magicians today.
The other half of Sams legacy is his commitment to the magic community. In addition to serving on numerous committees, Sam was president of Ring No. 26, the New York City chapter of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and a national territorial vice president. He has also been a trustee and a chairman of the board of Parent Assembly No. 1 of the Society of American Magicians. He worked hard for both organizations in 1964, and took on duties as close-up chairman and board member for the combined S.A.M./I.B.M. convention that year.
Sam now serves with distinction as the dean of the Parent Assembly. Among his other honors is the I.B.M.s coveted Star of Magic award.
Sam also played a key role in other magical happenings. For more than 25 years, he was the close-up show chairman of the yearly Tannens Magic Jubilees. His law office was the official meeting place for various magic groups, including the original mentalist group that would become the Mystic 13.
Now retired, Sam and his wife of 65 years, Selma, divide their time between Florida and New York City. Sam is just as magically active in Florida, and the Boca Raton S.A.M. Assembly 274 has been named after him.
Of all his accomplishments, though, he is most proud of his family. This is a family of lawyers daughter Terry is a judge, son-in-law Jerry and granddaughter Jill are lawyers, and two-year-old grandson Tommy seems to be preparing to continue in the family tradition. But when they want good old-fashioned common-sense advice, they call the non-lawyer in the family: Selma. Selma has always supported Sams magic.
Let us end this brief introduction to Sam Schwartz with a quote from Pallbearers Review. Mr. Schwartz is possessed with a winning personality and charming manner that has made him countless friends around the worldin the end friendship counts, and those who can count Mr. Schwartz as a friend are indeed fortunate.
The Parent Assembly has been fortunate in having Sam with his vast knowledge and generosity as a longtime distinguished member, and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor and we wish him a happy 95th birthday on April 14.