- Channing Pollock (magician)
Channing Pollock Born Channing Pollock
August 16, 1926
Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
Died March 18, 2006 (aged 79)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Cause of death Brain tumor Occupation Magician, Actor
As one of the most sophisticated and charismatic practitioners of his craft; strikingly handsome with an enigmatic stage presence, he was best known for an act in which he would elegantly produce doves out of thin air and he was often billed as "the most beautiful man in the world". He first became interested in magic at the age of 21. He trained at the Chavez School of Magic in Los Angeles, graduating in 1952. Pollock's early work as a magician was on the nightclub circuit, where his talents were enhanced by his good looks.
He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1954 and went on to make several appearances at the London Palladium. By the mid-1950s Pollock was unsurpassed in his field, and he had spawned a great many imitators. But his act was unique, and the excitement in his routine was so tied up with his own personality (he always made a point of never smiling until he was taking his final bow) that copyists were never as good.
He appeared at cabaret venues and in special shows all over the world, performing for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth II and at the wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. At the height of his career he was one of America's highest-paid entertainers.
In 1959 his act was seen in the film Europe by Night, and the following year he decided to give up his career as a magician to become an actor. He appeared in a number of thrillers and dramas, including Moschettieri del mare (1960), with Aldo Ray and Pier Angeli; Rocambole (1962); Sceicco rosso (1962); and Georges Franju's Judex (1963), in which he played the romantic lead. He also appeared on several American variety shows such as Bonanza, Daniel Boone, and The Beverly Hillbillies.
In 1969 he abandoned show business entirely, and he and his wife set up an organic farm at Moss Beach, California, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He continued, however, to act as a friend and mentor to many aspiring magicians. He gave his own act, including his birds, to his chauffeur, Frank Brooker, who went on performing for several years.
He was the son of Robert Burns Pollack and Marjorie Leppert. His first marriage, to Naomi Phelps, produced one son. His second marriage was to Jozy, a woman born in England.
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