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Follow-Up Report – “The Coronation of ‘Princess Irene’ Larsen” Tuesday Mar 08, 2005

A:  A “Princess” Crowned, Dazzling Celebrities, A Wild Assortment of Zany Magicians & Drama With a Caption “D”

Q:  How would you summarize what happened at

“The Coronation of ‘Princess Irene’ Larsen” – The 37th Annual Academy of Magical Arts Awards Show & Banquet, produced in association with the Magic Castle® .

            Hollywood, CA – It was obvious from the get go that “The Coronation of ‘Princess Irene’ Larsen” – The 37th Annual Academy of Magical Arts Awards (AMA) Show & Banquet, produced in association with Hollywood’s historic Magic Castle® , was going to be nothing short of a spectacle from beginning to end, from the arrivals of celebrities in stretch limousines, to the presentation of awards and beguiling magical performances, to the unscheduled mishaps which added drama and color to the evening’s entire proceedings, held at the Music Box @ Fonda in Hollywood on Sunday, March 6, 2005.

            The Mums, renowned jugglers and magicians, bedecked in plaid Zoot Suits, arrived accompanied by the colorful Girls on Stilts, Madri Gras attired-women on six-foot stilts, with flower festooned hats and streamers in hands, as they made their dramatic entrance onto the red carpet emerging from a limosine, joined by a parade of dazzling celebrities and renowned magicians.  Among the stars in attendance were:

Teri Hatcher, Tony Shalhoub, Camryn Manheim and Yvette Freeman, who walked the red carpet laden with media, alongside the likes of renowned magicians like Ed Alonzo, Gay Blackstone, Losander, Magic Wave, Jason Latimer, James Dimmare and Magic Christian, prior to the much anticipated arrival of “Princess Irene” Larsen, one of the Magic Castle’sâ co-founders, being honored with the AMA’s Lifetime Achievement Fellowship Award.  Along with “Princess Irene” was Darren Romeo, “The Voice of Magic,” and Siegfried & Roy’s protégé, who was to receive the coveted 2004 Magician of the Year Award.

            The evening was packed with world-class performances provided by Karim (from Spain), Les Arnold and Dazzle (from the U.S.A.), Losander (from Germany), Magic Christian (from Australia) and Magic Wave (from The Netherlands).  But as fate would have it, in the business of show, it’s Murphy’s Law that if anything can go wrong, it will, and it did.  Unfortunately, previously announced celebrity presenters, Siegfried Fischbacher and Jason Alexander, were unable to attend the event due to illness, and Jorgos, a magician from Greece, who was scheduled to appear as one of the evening’s performers, was unable participate in the show, since his luggage, along with his magical props, had been lost somewhere at Los Angeles Airport.  As the show was running, eventually a limosine was sent back to the airport to retrieve the magician’s newfound luggage and props.

            Not to worry.  Things proceeded as planned, without a glitch.  The multi-facile emcee of the show, Jeff Hobson, charmed the black-tied and bejeweled audience, with his zany antics, appearing on stage throughout the night in a myriad of costumes, including one in drag, that would have made Cher envious.  The effervescent celebrity award-presenter, Camryn Manheim, greeted everyone she came in contact with on the stage with luscious kisses, while showing off her comedic chops.

            Awards were given to magic’s finest, interspersed with a wide-ranging spectrum of performances.  The Magic Wave’s act combined magic with surf, sex and sand, while the audience was mesmerized by the incredible illusions of Losander and the daffy hysterics of Les Arnold and his tap dancing assistant, Dazzle.  Director Bryan Singer, (“Superman Returns”), even took some time off on his set to send a videotaped message congratulating the 2004 Magician of the Year recipient, Darren Romeo, “The Voice of Magic.”  Gay Blackstone announced the establishment of The Blackstone Foundation.

            One of the special highlights of the evening was a tribute to longtime Magic Castleâ member, the late Johnny Carson, (a.k.a. The Great Carsoni and Carnac The Magnificent), who, during the course of his illustrious career on “The Tonight Show,” introduced some of the world’s greatest magicians on his historic television program.  A video montage, which was an homage to Johnny Carson, included mention of magicians that have become household names around the world because of their exposure on

“The Tonight Show,” including Lance Burton, David Copperfield and Doug Henning, among others.  The segment concluded with a humorous encounter between Johnny Carson and Bob Hope, as Carson performed The Linking Rings, with the assistance of Hope.

            The evening’s festivities were capped when the Magic Castle’s®  co-founder,Milt Larsen, took the stage to present The Lifetime Achievement Fellowship Award to his sister-in-law, “Princess Irene” Larsen, also a co-founder of the Magic Castle, along with her late husband, Bill Larsen.  As the curtain on the stage rose to reveal “Princess Irene,” the audience gave her a sustained standing ovation as she was crowned with a diamond tiara, provided by Gerson & Horowitz Diamonds, and received several bouquets of roses.  The tiara is 14 carat White Gold set with 10 Marquise shaped diamonds, 214 Round shaped diamonds and 110 Baguette shaped diamonds.  The total carat weight is 48 carats.  The tiara is valued at $100,000.  Irene Larsen first received her stage name, “Princess Irene,” from her first husband, magician John Daniel.  And as the magical gods would have it, Irene Larsen, was born in the same month and year as when her late father-in-law, William W. Larsen, Sr., founded “Genii Magazine,” the international conjurors’ magazine, a publication that Irene Larsen and her late husband, Bill Larsen, published for many years, before selling the magazine.  Upon receiving her Lifetime Achievement Fellowship Award, “Princess Irene” Larsen said she was overwhelmed, and in awe to be receiving an award that had previously been bestowed upon legendary personalities in the magic world.

            Recipients of the 2004 Academy of Magical Arts Awards included:  Whit Haydn (U.S.A.) - Close-Up Magician of the Year; Dana Daniels (U.S.A.) – Parlour Magician of the Year; Danny Cole (U.S.A.) – Stage Magician of the Year; Doc Eason (U.S.A.) –

Bar Magician of the Year; Michael Finney (U.S.A.) – Comedy Magician of the Year; Bob Sheets (U.S.A.) – Lecture of the Year; Tony Elias (U.S.A.) – Junior Magician Award and Mark Collier (U.S.A.) – Strolling Olympics Award.  This year was the first time a Bar Magician of the Year Award was given.  The award was presented by

Evertt Fields, grandson of W.C. Fields and Rick Gerber, Official Magician for Anheiser-Busch.  2004 Fellowship recipients included:  David Berglas (England) – Masters Fellowship; Kevin James (Las Vegas) – Creative Fellowship; Magic Christian (Austria) – Performing Fellowship; Bart Whaley (U.S.A.) – Literary Fellowship;

“Princess Irene” Larsen (U.S.A.) – Lifetime Achievement Fellowship and Mark Nelson (U.S.A.) – Special Fellowship.

The audience for the black-tie evening of Hollywood spectacle and glamour included:  Ed Alonzo, Chef Anton, David Berglas, Belamie Blackstone, Gay Blackstone, Edward Blau, Alan Bursky, Mike Caveney, Danny Cole, Bruce Cervon, Lorenzo Clark, Aldo Colombini, Dana Daniels, James Dimmare, Robert Dorian, Doc Eason, Mike Elkan, Jeff Ezell, Everett Fields, Michael Finney, Aaron Fisher, Yvette Freeman, Rick Gerber, Girls on Stilts, Goldfinger and Dove, Andrew Goldenhersch, Lennart Green, Handsome Jack, Terri Hatcher, Whit Haydn, Terry M. Hill, Cindy Hindman, Dale R. Hindman, Jeff Hobson, Lew Horwitz, Larry Horowitz, Jarvee Hutchinson, Kevin James, Jorgos, George Juarez, Karim, Richard Kaufman, Chris Korn, Arlene Larsen, Blaire Larsen, Dante Larsen, Erika Larsen, Irene Larsen, Libby Larsen, Milt Larsen, Jason Latimer, Losander, Terry Lunceford, Magic Christian, Magic Wave, Camryn Manheim, Billy McComb, Rick Merrill, Kristi Michaelson (Darren Romeo’s Leading Lady), The Mums, Earl Nelson, Mark Nelson, Shoot Ogawa, Danny Robinson, Darren Romeo, “The Voice of Magic,” (2004 Magician of the Year Award Recipient; Siegfried & Roy’s Protégé); Joyce Romeo, Sam Romeo,

David Sandy, Tony Shalhoub, Bob Sheets, Bryan Singer (Special Video Tribute to Darren Romeo), Sylvester the Jester, Brian Tolman, Alana Ulloa, Andy Ulloa,

Bart Whaley, Dana Williams, Dave Williams, Mark Wilson, Ron Wilson and

Diane Zimmerman.  Dinner for the evening was provided by BluePalms Hollywood Restaurant.

The Magic Castle®  is the private clubhouse for The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc., (AMA), an organization devoted to the advancement of the ancient art of magic.  The purpose of The Academy is to encourage and promote public interest in the art of magic, with particular emphasis on preserving its history as an art form.  Beginning with a charter membership of 150, the Academy has grown into a world-renowned fraternal organization with a membership of nearly 5,000.  Today it is known as the “Mecca of Magic” around the world.

            AMA was created in the pages of “Genii Magazine” by its former editor and publisher, William W. Larsen, Sr., in 1952.  William W. Larsen, Sr.’s sons, William W. Larsen, Jr. and Milt Larsen, along with William W. Larsen Jr.’s wife, Irene Larsen, created the private clubhouse/nightclub phenomenon, know as the Magic Castleâ.  The Castle opened its doors to the public on January 2, 1963, when the idea of an Annual Awards Show for Magicians began to take shape.  The First Academy of Magical Arts Awards Show was held at the Century Plaza Hotel on November 8, 1968.  Bob Barker was the Master of Ceremonies, and the Castle’s beloved “cranky old man of magic,” “Professor” Dai Vernon, received the Masters Fellowship Award, which has continued to be awarded annually to this day.

            Since that time, the Board of Directors and the members of AMA have annually honored the best and the brightest performers, writers and creators in the world of wizardry.  Magician of the Year Awards have been bestowed upon:  Mac Davis, Harry Anderson, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Lance Burton, David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Mark Kalin, Martin Lewis,

Penn & Teller and Siegfried & Roy. Special Awards have been bestowed upon:  Bill Bixby, Johnny Carson, Milt Larsen, William W. Larsen, Jr., Liberace and Ed Sullivan.

The Academy of Magical Arts Inc.’s illustrious celebrity members include: Jason Alexander, Tim Allen, Harry Anderson, Bob Barker, Drew Barrymore,

Ed Begley, Jr., Nicholas Cage, David Copperfield, Dom DeLuise, Ralph Edwards, Jenna Elfman, Merv Griffin, Teri Hatcher, Tippi Hedren, Dale Kristien, Lucy Liu, Rose Marie, Steve Martin, Jayne Meadows, Lee Meriwether, Penn & Teller, Richard and

Robert Sherman, Siegfried & Roy and Henry Winkler.  Deceased members include:

Steve Allen, Harry Blackstone, Jr., Johnny Carson, Cary Grant, Doug Henning, Liberace, Orsen Welles and Mae West.  To learn more about the Magic Castle® , please visit the Castle’s website at,

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Follow-Up Report – “The Coronation of ‘Princess Irene’ Larsen”

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