Cover of Genii (1943)
|Born||Nell Odella Newton|
October 2, 1897
Lemonweir, Juneau, Wisconsin
|Died||February 5, 1962 (age 64) |
Santa Monica, California
|Resting place||Donated body to science|
Dell O'Dell (1897-1962), born Nell Odella Newton, was an American magician regarded in her profession as a pioneer who provided a role model for modern female performers and noted for being one of the first magicians to appear on television.
At the height of her career she was billed as "The World's Leading Lady Magician" and "The Queen of Magic."
Nell Newton's father worked in carnivals and she began learning magic from him when she was young. She developed a style that featured snappy patter and cute rhymes, which became something of a trademark. Dell was known to hire writers for her special rhyming patter, with some being printed in Genii magazine.
She married Charles Carrer, a famous juggler, who managed her show and constructed props for her. She and Charles established homes in New York, Florida and California.Early on O'Dell bought the rights to the comedy magic act of Frank Van Hoven (1886-1929) and was successful with her own version.
She became a pioneer of television magic when The Dell O'Dell Show began transmission on a local station in the Los Angeles area in California on 14 September 1951. She thus pre-dated several other noted pioneers of television magic, such as Mark Wilson, whose first television show began in 1955, and Richiardi Jr who made the first of his record run of appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.
O'Dell wrote extensively on the subject of magic. She contributed a column titled "Dell-lightfully" for the magicians' magazine The Linking Ring. Her Stamp Album presentation was published in volume 4 of the Tarbell Course in Magic.
Although she claimed to be born Oct. 20, 1902, in Kansas, research at DellODell.com and the Houdini Museum into the file of the Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926 for Newton found otherwise.
Nell Newton changed her name legally to Dell O'Dell and continued to perform until her death from multiple myoloma cancer at the age of 59 in Santa Monica, California. She donated her body to UCLA Medical School.
- Presenting Magical Moments (1939)
- Everybody's Fun (1943)
- A Book of Entertainment by Dell O'Dell World's Leading Lady Magician 77370-0-77370 There's Magic in these Numbers (1944)
- On Both Sides of the Footlights (1946)
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- All About Magicians/Dell O'Dell
- Cover Genii 1943 March
- Cover Genii 1962 March
- Cover Genii 1952 December
- Obit Genii, Vol. 26, No. 7, March 1962, Dell O'Dell by George L. Boston, page 260
- Obit The Linking Ring, Vol. 42, No. 3, March 1962, page 88
- M-U-M, Vol. 97, No. 3, August 2007, DELL O'DELL: A Dell-ightful Magician by Julie Sobanski, page 68