Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

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Richard Kaufman
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Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 9th, 2006, 1:20 pm

I just had a phone call from John Derris in London with the lousy news that Alex Elmsley died of a heart attack yesterday, Sunday January 8.
No other details at this time.
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 1:31 pm

Sympathies to his friends and family.
Steve V

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 9th, 2006, 1:55 pm

So soon after Bob Read, yet another great loss.

We have a clever move of Alex's in "Magicana" in the February issue, mailed today or tomorrow.

When I was over in London in December (see the photo of Alex, Roberto, and I in the January "Genii Speaks"), Alex fooled the hell out of us with a form of the Pass that he'd never published before. It will appear in Genii shortly.
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Dustin Stinett » January 9th, 2006, 2:13 pm

This is very depressing news indeed. My condolences to his family and many friends.

Dustin

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Tabman » January 9th, 2006, 2:39 pm

I am so sorry to hear this news. My condolences to his close friends and family. He will remain one of my all time favorites, a giant.

-=tabman

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 2:57 pm

Certainly a sad day.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 3:05 pm

I'm very sad. My prayers are with his family.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Bob Farmer » January 9th, 2006, 3:07 pm

Terrible news. He had no equal before or during his life and it's doubtful anyone will match him now that he's gone.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Bill Palmer » January 9th, 2006, 3:39 pm

That is terrible. I met him about 7 years ago at a Magic Circle meeting in the old Victory Services club. It was the last meeting in that venue and almost everyone was there.

He was a brilliant creator, an excellent performer and a really nice man.
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 9th, 2006, 3:49 pm

Stunned. My condolences to his family and friends.

This news brings me to a quiet. Like a chill wind in a still room. Can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound selfish. Will take a bit to get settled with the knowlege that someone I wanted to meet oneday is gone. The four video set of his on the shelf looks different now.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 9th, 2006, 4:08 pm

Very shocked and very sad. I was with John Derris at the Circle only four hours ago (I had to leave early to catch train to Norwich where I now am) when we spoke of Alex, oblivious to his passsing, and that he would be writing one of the forewords to the book on the Notebooks of Jack Avis I am shortly sending to the printers. He has not been in good health for some years but I confirm Richard's reporting that he seemed quite good at International. We had a long talk there, partly about old times because we had known each other for many, many years. Too sad to pay tribute to his wonderful work but it has spoken for itself.
Anthony

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 4:38 pm

This is such sad news. I cherish the two Elmsley books on the shelf. I will read some tonight and say a prayer. Rest in peace Alex..we shall miss you.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Gary Freed » January 9th, 2006, 4:58 pm

I met him briefly at a FFFF several years back. He was a genius and a gentleman. He will be sorely missed.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 5:09 pm

I am very sad to hear this news. One of the biggest highlights of my time in magic was the time spent at the Elmsley video shoot for L & L. Another legend gone!

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby John LeBlanc » January 9th, 2006, 5:37 pm

Originally posted by G. Plants:
I am very sad to hear this news. One of the biggest highlights of my time in magic was the time spent at the Elmsley video shoot for L & L. Another legend gone!
Gary, when I think of Alex, that set of videos comes to my mind. I bought them when they came out and watched them back to back (and many tims since then.) That must have been a great experience to be there when they were shot.

John
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Joe M. Turner » January 9th, 2006, 6:28 pm

His books and videos are treasured gems in my library. I regret very much not having had the opportunity to meet him in person.

Much sympathy to the family and other close friends...

JMT

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby David Regal » January 9th, 2006, 6:50 pm

I never met Mr. Elmsley, and was almost afraid to watch his videos when they came out as I was such a fan, and didn't want to see someone less than the person I'd imagined (as often happens). Of course, he surpassed my expectations, yet at the same time was satisfyingly the man one hoped he'd be, from his appearance to his speaking voice to his gentle, bemused demeanor. My awe of him was renewed earlier, too, when he released "Mouse Magic". I'm sure those of us who procured it marveled at the mind that would conceive of such a thing.

We are all lucky to be living in a time when he was contributing to magic.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby John LeBlanc » January 9th, 2006, 6:58 pm

Originally posted by David Regal:
yet at the same time was satisfyingly the man one hoped he'd be, from his appearance to his speaking voice to his gentle, bemused demeanor.
That's as perfect a description of what I witnessed as I've ever seen, David.

John
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Evan Shuster » January 9th, 2006, 7:28 pm

Originally posted by David Regal:


We are all lucky to be living in a time when he was contributing to magic.
Sad news, indeed. My condolences to his family. Mr. Regal, your words quietly capture what I'm sure many of us are feeling. Well said.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Pete Biro » January 9th, 2006, 10:50 pm

So sad, but his name and accomplishments will live on through the history of magic.

Few have created as much excellent material as Elmsley.

I can still remember the stunned audience when he lectured for us at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco when he re-revealed all the chosen cards again at the finish.

I spent a lot of time with him as I was the "appointed driver" with he and Persi Diaconis when they were together then.

Alex, when he was finished with his visit asked me if I would mail something for him. I said no problem... and he handed me a HUGE package, saying, "This is the hand written manuscript for my book, and I don't have room to carry it, so will you mail it to my home for me."

I was so nervous with this and worried it would get lost I had a photocopy made of all the pages... just in case.

I mailed him the manuscript, it arrived ok, and to this day I never opened the copies.

He will be missed. :(
Stay tooned.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2006, 11:51 pm

"He had no equal before or during his life"

Well put Bob.

Elmley is my hero.
R.I.P.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby John Pezzullo » January 10th, 2006, 4:10 am

I've only ever watched the fourth volume of the L&L video set featuring Alex Elmsley and his keen sense of humour was clearly visible.

From his recollection of the gambler who paid him the 'compliment' of "you must have been gone once" to his gentle chiding of Gene Matsuura when Gene experienced some difficulty in reading the diary used in "Fate's Datebook".

An individual's sense of humour can often give others some insight into their state of 'internal equilibrium' - their ability to be at ease with others and at ease within. Alex Elmsley was obviously a man who was comfortable with himself and with others.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Matthew Field » January 10th, 2006, 4:56 am

John Derris called me this morning to give me the terrible news.

At the 1994 MacMillan convention, just after I moved to England, I saw Alex sitting alone, smoking a cigarette, and got up the gumption to say hello. He was gracious and warm.

I had the great pleasure of getting to know Alex over the course of the past year at monthly meetings at John's home. He was a quiet, gentle, brilliant man. He performed at the July Centenary Celebrations of The Magic Circle and he attended the Ron MacMillan International Convention this past November where it was my honor to introduce him to Roberto Giobbi.

I'll be devoting a good part of the March Magic Circular to this truly great card man and creative genius.

Matt Field

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Steve Bryant » January 10th, 2006, 4:56 am

Some of us oldtimers recall his 1975 Magic Castle lecture, sponsored as I recall by Albert Goshman, for the "high" fee in those days of $25. Well worth it, for Dazzle alone.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2006, 6:23 am

I was lucky enough to meet Alex at the International convention this year and spend a little time chatting to him. He was indeed a gentleman and he will be badly missed.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Geno Munari » January 10th, 2006, 7:09 am

I will miss him very much. My prayers are with him.

Geno

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2006, 7:58 am

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
I can still remember the stunned audience when he lectured for us at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco when he re-revealed all the chosen cards again at the finish.
When I was brand new into magic (c. 1991), my friend Doc Dougherty told me about this (he finished his lecture in DC the same way) and just the description sounded amazing to me. I can only imagine the impact it must have had for you seeing it live.

Regretfully, I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Elmsley, but from all accounts, he was a true gentleman and will be sorely missed.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Danny Archer » January 10th, 2006, 9:42 am

I never met him but like many others, I have been influenced by his creations and ideals ...

He loss will be felt far and wide by anyone interested in the art of magic ...
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » January 10th, 2006, 2:43 pm

More sad news...

I'm stunned...

When one of the mainstays and legends of magic physically pass from the scene, I immediately find consolation in the fact that their legacy will continue to nourish other creative souls...and in that sense, Alex will spectacularly live on.

I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with him (and John Derris), finding him incredibly modest with an intelligence sensitive to vibes few of us ever access.

Now I more fully appreciate the fact that Dai Vernon in his later years kept a paper in his pocket listing all of the magicians (that had touched his life)who had died. It not only reminded him of his mortality, but it served to trigger many fond memories and made him more mindful to "seize the day."

The list for me grows longer, but memories remain and some legacies (such as Elmsley's) will burn brightly and will continue to inspire and illuminate...

Onward...

Guest

Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2006, 5:18 pm

Very sad news. If the Elmsley count wasn't the first sleight I ever learned, it was in the first five for sure. Little did I know then how much he had contributed to the art form.

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Daniel » January 14th, 2006, 1:42 am

Alex Elmsley's funeral will be on Thursday 19th January at Putney Vale Cemetery, London at 1:40 pm, with a reception at Pembroke Lodge to follow.

See this week's www.magicweek.co.uk

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 19th, 2006, 2:22 pm

Just returned from Alex' funeral held this afternoon. An excellent eulogy from John Derris who also read a moving letter from Gordon Bruce who had hoped to appear but his employers, the Scottish National Orchestra, made it impossible.

About 50 attended, a dozen family and about three dozen magicians, some with wives. Names included, in no particular order and forgive omissions: Roger and Alison Crosthwaite, Michael and Angela Bailey, Alan Alan, Michael Lewis, Bobby Bernard, Colin Rose, Pat Page, David and Ruth Berglas, me (Anthony Brahams), John and Doris Derris, Alan Maskell (representing the Pentacle Club of Cambridge, the magic society that Alex joined when he was at the University), Matt Field-the only one to bring out cards (the only American there-significant?). It was when we were telling a cousin of Alex' about the Elmsley Count! Matt just did it, not explaining.
Anthony

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 19th, 2006, 3:58 pm

Magicweek in the UK is now reporting that Alex died of cancer rather than a heart attack: has anyone heard something definitive yet?
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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Anthony Brahams » January 20th, 2006, 12:58 am

I travelled back to Central London with the son of a cousin of Alex (second cousin?) who was quite definite in telling me that although Alex did have cancer he died of a heart attack.
Anthony

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Re: Sad News: Alex Elmsley Died Yesterday

Postby Matthew Field » January 20th, 2006, 8:19 am

Alex may have died from a heart attack, but John Derris told me he cancer was the real cause of death.

Yes, I did perform the Elmsley Count (at the reception following the funeral). The family really knew very little about Elmsley the Magician. They were quite amazed at the size of the turnout for this quiet man. One cousin asked why everyone was there and I explained. But trying to explain the Elmsley Count to a layman -- it was easier to just perform it.

Matt Field


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