Ted Lesley was an innovator in so many aspects of our magicial arts. He was an inventor and visionary. His obituary will be written and re-written on other sites and each will no doubt give a different perspective on this great mind and incredible performer.
Several message boards carried posts notifying the magic public of Mr. Lesley’s passing yesterday around noon in an extended care home in Berlin, Germany.
Mr. Lesley was born in Dueren, Germany August 1, 1937.
He fell in love with (or at least was smitten by) magic when a school teacher showed the young man an effect. He considered magic as a profession but his parents suggested he look a “real profession.”
Accounting was apparently real enough for his parents. He used his incredible mind to assist clients in their financial affairs and later as a tax accountant.
According to the Dragon Skull web site, “famous film director, Ottokar Runze, required Ted’s help for an audit. On the occasion of the discussion of the audit, Ted’s magic worked its wonders on the director so well, that on the spot, he offered him a major role in his film The Lord of Barmbeck.”
There was no looking back. Mr. Lesley left accounting to plunge deeply into of our craft in 1974.
Pages that chronicle his rise to fame seem to agree he had almost overnight success in the cabarets of Germany.
Following a successful run of headline predictions, he gained the attention of automaker BMW. They commissioned a very special magic act to promote their brand. The BMW Automagic Show was well received and brought Mr. Lesley attention and offers from other corporations.
Mr. Lesley received many awards from his peers including Mentalist of the Year (1992), Dunninger Award (1993), Magischer Zirkel von Deutschland (1994), Writer of the Year from the Magic Circle of Germany for Mental Mind-Ups (1994).
In 1998, the Zauberfreunde Berlin awarded him the Silver Medal of Honor and a year later he joined the true inner-sanctum as a member of Inner Magic Circle, Gold Star, by the Magic Circle of London.
His lifetime of outstanding innovation and contribution was noted by the Academy of Magical Arts in 2001 when he received the Creative Fellowship Award at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California.
Mr. Lesley was an outstanding author and inventor of so many of the “essential” effects in mentalism. His innovative method of marking cards alone is enough to gain our respect and gratitude.
Mr. Lesley was a kind man with an incredibly quick mind and seemed at ease with the beginner and professional mentalist. He was gracious to those who wrote about him and reviewed his products or books.
Magic has lost a genius in the truest sense of the word. Our prayers are with his friends and family.