RIP Jim Cellini

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Postby Frank Starsinic » 11/24/09 12:08 PM

Just got this in email today. RIP Jim.


Dear Frank
Jim Cellini, King of streetmagic died this night in switzerland.
a sad day for the world of magic.
A great Master Magician, Teacher and Friend given up his magic wand.

hrbi Kull
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Postby r paul wilson » 11/24/09 01:05 PM

Very, very sad news. Jim was a good friend and a genuine inspiration.

Years ago, Opus invited Jim to lecture at their convention in London and it was one of the most fascinating and moving talks I've ever seen. Ten or fifteen minutes into a traditional lecture, Jim took off his trademark leather pouch, thought for a moment, then began telling us about his life. It was a privilege to be there and something I have never forgotten.

That same weekend, Jim, Chris Power, JJ, Guy H, myself and a couple of other guys were with Jim in a London pub. It was the typical London Pub in summertime, with people spilling onto the streets, pint glasses in hand.

Jim asked if any of us would like a drink, took our orders, then put on his performing gear and approached the crowd outside. He performed an excellent short act, bottled the crowd (is that actually a verb?) then used the money to buy us all drinks.

Ever since, Jim has been a kind and honest friend. He's supported me in all my endeavors and encouraged me to be a better magician. I'm not alone there. Many magicians have benefited from Cellini's kindness and the art of magic is better for it.

Goodbye, Jim.
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Postby Richard Perrin » 11/24/09 06:41 PM

I am sad to see him go. He was here to give his lecture about 5 years ago or so. He was indeed a gentleman and gave his time for other who stop him at that moment to repeat the sleigh. Yep, he repeating it several times. Man, love this guy!
Farewell J. Cellini!
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Postby Frank Starsinic » 11/24/09 08:03 PM

I will never forget Jim closing his lecture in SF performing his 2-Ring routine to "Somewhere over the Rainbow". It was beautiful.

He knew how to entertain a crowd.
Even with something as simple as a silk and a TT, there was beauty, elegance and laughter.
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Postby heckmike » 11/24/09 09:11 PM

When I was stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota there was an Electronic Warfare Officer named Ted Barlock who taught me magic. When he was growing up in Denver his teacher was Celini. Celini lecture twice in Southeastern Virginia and I had the honor of introducing him both times. Celini was a great entertainer, magician and teacher. This is a sad day indeed for magic. May he rest in peace.
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/25/09 07:00 AM

I am very saddened by this. I saw Jim lecture several times, including once at the magic club in New Jersey where beforehand I talked with him and Rocco in the bar area -- Rocco was delighted to be with him. I met up with him at the MacMillan International Convention in London about 4 years ago where he was sitting in the hotel lobby, alone, unrecognized, looking dejected. We starting chatting, mostly about his teacher, Slydini, and he cheered up.

In later years he asked me to work on an editing project for him -- he wanted his books re-edited into a single volume. We were never able to finalize that project, unfortunately.

My deepest condolences to Marianne, his partner and constant companion and a very lovely person.

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Postby greg manwaring » 11/25/09 09:55 AM

I am saddened to learn of his passing. I had hoped to one day meet him.
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Postby Tom Frank » 11/25/09 02:12 PM

The loss of a friend


I took a long walk on the beach this afternoon. Needed to clear my head. Had the headphones on listening to the Dead, Stella Blue.

All the years combine, they melt into a dream,
A broken angel sings from a guitar.
In the end, there's just a song, comes cryin' up the night
Thru all the broken dreams and vanished years.
Stella blue

Received the sad news that a friend of mine had died. About the time that the surf hit my knees, I realized that I was not going to mourn his death, but rather celebrate his life. I felt the same way when my mom passed. People that are dealing with deteriorating health, pain and loss of quality of life; its almost a relief. I hope that doesnt sound harsh.

I prefer to think of Cellini as the guy I met when I was growing up. He was like out of a fairy tale and introduced me to the notion of personal adventure and showed me how a magician lived. It wasnt just tricks and showmanship, technique and practice it was a crash course in life. I met him when I was 16 in New Orleans, then again when I was 18 in New York CIty; then I spent 9 months studying closely with him on a daily basis in 1984 when I was 19. Thats when our friendship became cemented. He was my mentor, teacher, friend and father figure. He had a work ethic and style all his own. Be the first one out there in the morning, the last one to leave in the evening. . . . and never eat out. Thats what he used to say. He was a work horse, grinding out show after show in the melting humidity of a New Orleans summer day.

I loved him, and liked to think that he loved me. He taught me so many things, like how to draw a crowd, a few people at first, then bring them in to unify them into an audience. He taught me about crowd mentality and how to use this to my advantage. So many years ago. . . a quarter century.

He will be missed and the stories he leaves behind legend. Those who knew him and called him a friend will cherish the time that he lavished on us.

His magic, his gift of time and education that he gave me. I can hardly imagine what my life would have been, had I not hooked up with him.

An orphan from Philly, a door to door salesman, a Slydini student, lead singer in a rock band, street magician, teacher, world traveler, father, husband, friend. . . . he will be missed.

I feel lucky to have known such a man, to call him my friend and to call him on the phone when I wanted.

When all the cards are down, there's nothing left to see,
There's just the pavement left and broken dreams.

In the end there's still that song comes cryin' like the wind.
Down every lonely street that's ever been
Stella blue
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Postby Wzrduvahhs » 11/26/09 03:51 PM

"The streets are your teacher", Cellini used to say. "So many guys claim they've graduated from the streets and no longer perform there. They don't know what they're missing. Where else can you get a fresh audience every fifteen minutes if you like?" He had so much wisdom, and was so generous with his knowledge. Those who knew him are so fortunate. I will miss him very much.
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Postby Dan LeFay » 11/28/09 06:25 AM

I remember this incredible little man, performing on the seaside boulevard in Den Haag, Netherlands, 1988. He wore a vest with no shirt underneath and he made a wand appear and disappear and kept me and the rest of a huge crowd spellbound. Seeing him perform the cups and balls was my first spark to do seriously magical magic!

I visited our local magic dealer and I asked him if he sold a wand that would disappear at the fingertips. He held a wand and "Fl!pped" it behind his arm. "You mean this?"
I said no, I had seen a guy who had a wand that would dissolve into nothingness and I wanted to know what the gimmick was.
The sales man said it was probably just the flipstick. I found that rather silly...

Jim Cellini was for me the ultimate sleight of hand performer, a major influence for me as a beginning magician and rolemodel of how magic can be performed out in the streets.

I will miss him.
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Postby Noel Britten » 12/06/09 05:22 PM

A Book Of Condolence has been opened on http://www.internationalmagic.com/guestbook/gbook.php
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/06/09 05:49 PM

Anyone have some good hi-res photos of Cellini that they can e-mail me at moobooks@verizon.net?

Recent photos will be easier to come by, but am also hoping to find a photo of Jim from the mid 1980s when he was in New York City or New Orleans.
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Postby Matthew Field » 12/07/09 05:48 AM

Friends and family will be wishing him farewell in Baden, Switzerland today, Dec. 7 at 3 PM local time at Liebenfels Cemetary.

The following from his wife and son:

"Although saddened, we find strength in the knowledge that he continues to shine brightlky in our hearts during every day that passes."
Marianne Heller and Sam Sullivan
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/07/09 11:49 AM

Anyone know if his real name was James Sullivan or Richard Sullivan?
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Postby Dave V » 12/07/09 01:52 PM

Not sure, but I recall seeing what looked to be a driver's license photo (possibly in "Dreamer's Highway") that said Richard Sullivan. There's also a photo of a young Cellini performing as James Kodell, but he was singing not performing magic.
"I still play with a full deck, I just shuffle slower"
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Postby IrishMagicNews » 12/07/09 05:51 PM

According to John Bowden, a member here, having met Jim at a convention some years ago he mentioned he was born here in Ireland.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/07/09 08:02 PM

Can anyone tell me Mr. Cellini's age?

Thanks,
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Postby Dave V » 12/07/09 09:58 PM

I've heard 64, 65 and 69. The 69 age was from someone who knew him personally, but even he wasn't sure.
"I still play with a full deck, I just shuffle slower"
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/07/09 10:22 PM

Thanks Dave. I bet Cellini would like "69 is devine."

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Postby Matthew Field » 12/08/09 05:23 AM

Richard Timothy Sullivan (Jim Cellini) born September 6, 1940 in Nashua, New Hampshire, died November 23, 2009 in Baden, Switzerland.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/09/09 02:49 AM

You're a good man Matt Field; thank you!

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Postby cryldennis » 12/09/09 08:11 PM

I am editor of the Broken Wand in The Linking Ring, and am looking for an "official" obituary on James Cellini, from which I will write an entry for the January issue of The Linking Ring. If anyone can help us to pay tribute to him, I would appreciate it.

Thank you.
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