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Dr. Sydney Ross

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Dr. Sydney Ross

Flourished1930s - 1950s

Dr. Sydney Ross (fl 1930s - 1950s), Ph.D., in psychology from London University, worked as a magician for 18 years at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York entertaining aristocrats, dazzling celebrities, and stumping politicians, including several US presidents.[1]


Billed as "The Mysterious Dr. Ross", his specialty was close-up card magic in which he entertained table side, by request only.

Ross came to the United States from England in 1928 during prohibition. He started entertaining in New York City’s speakeasies, including the 21 Club. Later then worked at Park Lane Hotel, the Club Trouville and the Waldorf. He worked for six years at the Rainbow Room in Radio City, Rockefeller Center, where he also performed Palmistry, but headed back to the Waldorf-Astoria in 1943.[2]

On April 6, 1937, Dr Ross, with his wife (and assistant) Zara, entertained Franklin D. Roosevelt and guests in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC.

He may have been one of the first magicians to use a form of the close-up pad while working in the late 1930s.[3]

According to Ross’ business card, he lived for a time at 800 Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

Later in his career, during the 1950s, Dr. Ross performed informally at the Cascades at the Hotel Biltmore. He also at that time appeared on Bill Stern's "Star Night at the Astor" network television show.


Note: Also referred to as "Sidney" Ross.


  1. Dr. Sydney Ross MAGICIAN—MENTALIST—HUMOURIST, Abra, October 18, 1952
  2. Forging Ahead in Magic by John Booth (1939), pg. 154
  3. Man Who Was Erdnase by Bart Whaley, Martin Gardner, Jeff Busby (1991)