Ali Bongo - R.I.P

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Paul Gordon » 03/08/09 06:03 AM

Dear All,

Just heard the very sad news that Ali Bongo passed away earlier today. A great loss to us all...

Rest in peace, Ali. Much love...

Paul Gordon AIMC
Secure Online Magic Shop:
Paul Gordon
Posts: 340
Joined: 05/01/08 01:45 PM
Location: UK

Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/08/09 06:07 AM

Very sad news indeed. My condolences to his family and many friends.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6330
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Timothy Hyde » 03/08/09 06:16 AM

RIP Bongo,
very sad indeed
The Secret Notebooks of Mr Hyde - Vol 1 & 2 -
User avatar
Timothy Hyde
Posts: 173
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Australasia

Postby Tim Ellis » 03/08/09 07:16 AM

Magic, for me, won't be the same with Ali.

Sue-Anne and I are very sad and our hearts go out to Alison, his niece and travelling companion.

I've posted some information, both professional and personal, about Ali on our blog HERE
User avatar
Tim Ellis
Posts: 899
Joined: 07/11/08 04:08 PM
Location: Victoria

Postby naquada » 03/08/09 07:35 AM

The Magic Family has lost their Grandfather, Father and the Child with a sparkle in its eye today.

Every time I met Ali was a pleasure.. he was the kindest and most talkative man in magic I've met...

He will be so missed...

Rest in Peace Ali..

We will never forget you, or what you have done for us all...
Member of The Magic Circle
Posts: 260
Joined: 03/04/08 01:00 PM
Location: Reading, UK

Postby Dick Christian » 03/08/09 09:06 AM

Another true great gone, but never forgotten.
Dick Christian
Dick Christian
Posts: 208
Joined: 08/18/08 11:03 AM
Location: Fairfax Station, VA (Metro DC)

Postby hugmagic » 03/08/09 09:59 AM

Rest in peace dear friend. The King of Pongolia is gone.

Ali always had such information and little twists that he would share in our all tobrief conversations. Every contact with him was always a joy.

My sympathies to his family and friends who have been caring so lovingly for him.

I just heard a quote in reference to the recently departed Paul Harvey. I think it is very appropriate for All.

"Another Great Tree has fallen". He truely was one of the great trees and the lumber on which the art of magic has been built for many years.

Richard Hughes
Posts: 257
Joined: 01/20/08 01:00 PM
Location: OHIO

Postby Matthew Field » 03/08/09 10:49 AM

I got to know Ali pretty well during the four years since I moved to the UK and became editor of The Magic Circular. It was a real pleasure to be in his company. His exuberance for magic was unmatched. He took special pleasure in working with the Young Magicians Club and was noted for the puzzles he would provide for dinners, shows and, indeed, for The Magic Circular.

I'm very pleased I got to feature him on the magazine's cover in January. He was proud of that -- but not as proud as I was.

As Richard K. knows, Ali was hoping to collect his "Under the Banyan Tree" columns from Genii into a book. Perhaps someone else will realize that dream of his.

Farewell, dear Ali.

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2618
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby naquada » 03/08/09 11:09 AM

i was so shocked when I read the news this morning when I woke up..

Our Magic Family has lost their Grandfather, Father and the Child with a sparkle in its eye today, we will ALL miss Ali, I hope he continues to look down on us, and inspire us, and watch us grow..

Best Salaams Ali, rest in peace.. I will raise a glass to you tomorrow in the clubroom..
Member of The Magic Circle
Posts: 260
Joined: 03/04/08 01:00 PM
Location: Reading, UK

Postby David Oliver » 03/08/09 11:15 AM

Like many here, I'm sure, I had seen Ali's act dozens of times over the years. I only had the chance to work with him on a couple of occasions at conventions. Although we did not spend much time together, I enjoyed the brief chances to learn anything I could from one of the greats.

Over twenty years ago, I competed in a stage competition for the first time at a national convention. Ali was one of the judges. During the judges critique following the competition, Ali's comment was simple, yet so telling of his years of experience. He told me to iron my silks. His reasoning, "no will will ever notice if you take the time to iron the wrinkles out of your silks. But they WILL notice if you don't." I don't remember any of the other comments from other judges, but that one always stuck with me. Thanks to Ali, for more than twenty years, no one has ever noticed the lack of wrinkles in my silks.

Ali, thanks for the many laughs, creative inspiration, brief conversations and fond memories. A sad day for magic, indeed.
[color:purple]- DO[/color]
David Oliver
Posts: 193
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Boston, MA

Postby Paul Critelli » 03/08/09 11:51 AM

I have said many times: Magicians never get old . . . they pass on of course . . . but they never get old . . .

There had been a slight warming trend where I live -- the winter had been so long and cold. Spring and summer will come, of course, but today is cold and gray and dreary . . . and the weather is the same.

Good-bye to our friend.

Paul Critelli
Paul Critelli
Posts: 58
Joined: 12/15/08 09:04 PM

Postby Pete Biro » 03/08/09 11:53 AM

SUCH A LOSS.... he will be missed by the worldwide magic communidty.... RIP "shriek of araby"
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Gord » 03/08/09 01:09 PM

Such a terrible loss. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Magic has lost one of the greats.

User avatar
Posts: 384
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Brampton, Ontario

Postby mai-ling » 03/08/09 02:33 PM

Another loss of a golden age of magic.

Will remember him by watching the show
we did with him in S. America on Chili TV
in 1979.
you will remember my name
world's youngest illusionista

User avatar
Posts: 740
Joined: 05/10/08 07:25 AM
Location: 60081

Postby Barefoot Boy » 03/08/09 02:50 PM

A sad day for us all. One of Magic's most knowledgeable fellows.
Outward sunshine; Inward joy,
Blessings on thee, Barefoot Boy.
User avatar
Barefoot Boy
Posts: 96
Joined: 03/31/08 01:59 PM
Location: Toronto, Canada

Postby Magic Randy » 03/08/09 02:58 PM

A great loss. My condolences to his family.
Magic Randy
Posts: 188
Joined: 07/06/08 05:24 PM
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Postby Joe M. Turner » 03/08/09 04:34 PM

Heard the news via Facebook this morning while departing the Winter Carnival convention in Tennessee. Needless to say, magician after magician reacted with sadness at the news followed by words of immense respect for his work and gratitude for having known him.

I shared his company on several occasions at conventions and was always entranced... not just starstruck, but genuinely drawn in by his overflowing love for magic and for life.

Here's a link to an interview from a few years back if you'd like to reminisce:

I offer my sincere sympathy to his family and loved ones...
Joe M. Turner
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Donal Chayce » 03/08/09 07:10 PM

I was hoping beyond hope that he'd recover from the stroke...this is such sad news.

I'm so glad that I got to (finally) meet him 1:1 last year.
The MacGician®
User avatar
Donal Chayce
Posts: 306
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Harry Entwistle » 03/08/09 10:05 PM

Thanks for the memories... My condolences to his loved ones.
Harry Entwistle
Posts: 21
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Walker, Minnesota

Postby Bill Wells » 03/08/09 10:43 PM

One of the greats of the last century and one of our greatest givers. He will be missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace Ali ...
Bill Wells
User avatar
Bill Wells
Posts: 299
Joined: 01/21/08 01:00 PM
Location: Lexington, VA

Postby Sal Perrotta » 03/08/09 11:29 PM

Ali Bongo...a great man....a great magician.....a great creative influence on contempoary magic....a one of kind that can never be replaced....a truely great loss!!
Sal Perrotta
Posts: 63
Joined: 01/23/08 01:00 PM
Location: New York

Postby Jegoldie » 03/09/09 04:38 AM

Rest in piece Ali
The world is a less magical place without you.
Posts: 7
Joined: 07/23/08 05:17 AM

Postby Brian Glicker » 03/09/09 11:22 AM

Ali Bongo was my hero. I have a picture of me with Ali in full regalia when I was 6, and an identical picture of me with Ali when I was 46 at the Magic Circle Centenary.
He was a great, gentle, well spoken genius. Apart from his many, many creations he was a wonderful person. I wish his family and friends a share of the joy he brought to my world.
Brian Glicker
Posts: 28
Joined: 03/14/08 07:51 PM

Postby Dale Shrimpton » 03/09/09 12:50 PM

Im just a little envious of you Brian.Though i met Ali many times,i dont posess a photograph of us together.
It was just one of those things you think about when it's too late.
Ali was my inspiration, and the reason i became interested in magic. His passing will leave a gaping hole in the world of magic for many years.

His name in this country, was known by everybody.
He was to comedy magic, what Houdini was to escapes.
And, i was quite happy to be called Ali by the rest of the cast of a variety show im ascociated with.Though my act, was so very different.

but then,. thinking about it, Ali was too. So very different, and so very wonderfull.

Rest well. A.B..... :)

Dale Shrimpton
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/20/08 07:21 AM

Postby Jason Fleming » 03/09/09 01:17 PM

I was so fortunate to have seen him perform a few years back. He was hilarious. Rest in peace.
Jason Fleming
Posts: 3
Joined: 11/14/08 08:34 AM

Postby Kevin Connolly » 03/09/09 01:59 PM

Here's a very nice obit.

Ali Bongo Obit <------
Please visit my website.
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.
User avatar
Kevin Connolly
Posts: 2408
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: New Jersey

Postby Darren Lawbuary » 03/09/09 06:58 PM

Just have to share this clip with forum members - I make no apologies if this has been seen by you all many times before.

Tell me if this doesn't make you smile.

RIP Ali.
Remember, laughter is the best medicine. Unless you're asthmatic, then it's Ventolin.
User avatar
Darren Lawbuary
Posts: 160
Joined: 02/29/08 01:00 PM
Location: Portsmouth, U.K

Postby 777 » 03/09/09 08:07 PM

Having met and seen Ali's act several times all wonderful
he will be missed by all at the Circle
RIP Ali.
Posts: 32
Joined: 08/25/08 02:16 PM

Postby BlueEyed Videot » 03/10/09 01:57 AM

The video is no longer available. I'm very sad.
User avatar
BlueEyed Videot
Posts: 203
Joined: 05/17/08 08:19 PM
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Postby BlueEyed Videot » 03/10/09 02:22 AM

Oh happy happy, joy joy. The video is back up! I will always remember Ali Bongo with child-like amazement, from the tips of his curled up shoes to the top of his forever bobbing tinseled turban. A true genius of his craft. I very much hope that his written works can be compiled and published for the appreciation of many more generations of magicians to come.

Good Bye Ali, thanks for stopping by in my life. I'll not forget you, Magician.

User avatar
BlueEyed Videot
Posts: 203
Joined: 05/17/08 08:19 PM
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Postby Dale Shrimpton » 03/10/09 04:35 AM

Ali, on the cover of the Gen magazine, june 1954.

showing an early incarnation of the shriek act.

Dale Shrimpton
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/20/08 07:21 AM

Postby Anthony Owen » 03/10/09 07:47 AM

As Ive travelled through life Ali Bongo was my hero, my mentor, my colleague and my employee. But mostly he was my friend.

As a boy his books Be a Magician and The Ali Bongo Book of Magic were an inspiration to me, introducing me to the wonderful wacky world of someone who actually invented magic tricks. Tricks which Id seen performed by Paul Daniels on his BBC TV show! Wow, I thought, maybe one day I might actually invent a trick too?

That boy could never have dreamed that one day, not only would he be inventing tricks, but that hed be working alongside Ali Bongo and Paul Daniels on those BBC shows. But that is what happened to me. And along the way, over several years, Ali became my friend.

When I started a magazine (The Dungeon) he was one of the first big names who agreed to do an interview. When a bunch of friends and I had a bash at being a magic dealer (Dynamic FX) Ali let us release one of his tricks. When I was elected to The Magic Circle Council he was one of those who supported my initiatives, like the Regional Events and Club Night Newsletter. When I took over as editor of The Magic Circular, he became a contributing editor and a columnist. When John Lenahan and I started Monday Night Magic in London, Ali agreed to perform.

After our time working together with Daniels, Ali and I worked together as consultants (along with Patrick Page) on The Quick Trick Show. On subsequent series of that show I became a producer, but made sure that I always found time to participate in those brainstorming sessions with Patrick and Ali. And that series won Ali, Pat, the Production team and I a BAFTA, the UK equivalent of an Emmy.

Ali worked for me in an official capacity on other UK television shows which Ive produced since then. But it was in an unofficial role that Ill always remember him. Ive lost track of the number of phone calls I made saying Were thinking of. Immediately he came back with a brilliant idea or source or thought. And often a beautifully handmade prop would follow a few days later.

Away from work Ali invited me to join him at the annual gathering of a small organisation of international magicians known as the Fruit dOr de Montaneuf. This unique group was started back in the late sixties by Claude Rix and Fred Kaps. Its members included many of Europes greatest magicians, including Richard Ross and Tommy Wonder. Today its members include Gaetan Bloom, Pavel, Norbert Ferre, Marc Paul and Dominique and Alexandre Duvivier.

The members gather annually in Monteneuf in the champagne region of France for a weekend of magic, food, champagne and good company. Membership is by invitation only and those approached to become members must participate in a number of bizarre initiations, including performing a unique audition. Ali loved his time with that group of his closest international friends. In recent years those gatherings have been tinged by sadness with the loss of Ross and Wonder. Therell be a lot of tears in Monteneuf this year.

Over the last few weeks, since the sad news of his collapse in France came through, Ive replayed scenes from all of these memories in my mind. And last week I went to see him hospital in London a couple of times in an attempt to do what I could to encourage him to fight on. By Friday the pneumonia was taking hold and he was not in a good way. The brilliant brain was frustrated by its struggle to communicate.

Ali wrote a song (of course he did!) and the lyrics sum up perfectly his attitude to magic and to life.

Just a little touch of magic,
helps to make the day seem bright.
Just a little touch of Hocus Pocus,
makes the darkness light.
A little prestidigitation,
puts a smile on every face.
When you dabble in deception,
Or extra sensory perception,
You can make the world a magic place.

RIP Ali Bongo, The President of The Magic Circle. You made the world a magic place.
Twitter @anthonyowenmagi
Anthony Owen
Posts: 29
Joined: 01/28/08 01:00 PM
Location: London

Postby Donal Chayce » 03/10/09 02:50 PM

Darren Lawbuary wrote:Just have to share this clip with forum members - I make no apologies if this has been seen by you all many times before.

Tell me if this doesn't make you smile.

RIP Ali.

That was wonderful to see again--thanks for posting the link.
The MacGician®
User avatar
Donal Chayce
Posts: 306
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Postby Frank Dudgeon » 03/10/09 04:05 PM

Darren: I also thank you so much for the clip. Ever since I heard the sad news I've been remembering bits and pieces of the act, which I saw several times at conventions. It was such a treat to see it all again.

I saw Ali Bongo lecture twice - once the late 60's (I believe) and once over 20 years later. I have both lecture notes and will treasure them, and the memory of the kind, gracious gentleman who autographed them.
Frank Dudgeon
Posts: 156
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon

Postby Tim Ellis » 03/11/09 08:38 AM

There's a great clip on Facebook featuring Ali singing the song Anthony referred to. This is the link, hope it works for you as it really captures Ali well. The "Peter Pan" of magic who never really grew up: ... 650&ref=nf

There's also a clip of Ali on a Japanese TV show in 1985 here:
User avatar
Tim Ellis
Posts: 899
Joined: 07/11/08 04:08 PM
Location: Victoria

Postby Dale Shrimpton » 03/11/09 09:24 AM

I came across the Tribute page this morning.
Its absolutly wonderfull.

Thanks for popping the Gen photo on there for me. It saved me a job :)

Dale Shrimpton
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/20/08 07:21 AM

Postby Tim Ellis » 03/11/09 09:09 PM

Unfortunately the wonderful clip of Ali singing has gone from Facebook
User avatar
Tim Ellis
Posts: 899
Joined: 07/11/08 04:08 PM
Location: Victoria

Postby naquada » 03/12/09 11:52 AM

you may also be interested in this:

I believe it's been set up by the family and Richard Pinner
Member of The Magic Circle
Posts: 260
Joined: 03/04/08 01:00 PM
Location: Reading, UK

Postby AJM » 03/12/09 03:43 PM

Obituary from today's Scotsman newspaper: - ...

User avatar
Posts: 878
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Scotland

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/13/09 10:52 AM

This from the Magic Circle on Ali's Funeral:

Ali's funeral will take place in the afternoon of Friday 27th March 2009 in Leatherhead. From the number of people who have already indicated that they would like to attend and the limited seating arrangements at the crematorium, it is clear that it will, sadly, not be possible to accommodate everyone at the service. Although this will undoubtedly disappoint a lot of people, it is very much hoped that everyone who wants to remember Ali and pay their respects will wish to join the family for a special reception and celebration later that day.

To help the family manage these arrangements, please let us know if you would like to be part of these events by registering via the link on BEFORE Tuesday 17th March 2009. Those who register before this date will receive an invitation to the service or the reception and details of how to attend so please pass this on to anyone you know who wishes to be part of this occasion.

Andrew Eborn
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 21940
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC


Return to Buzz