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Chung Ling Soo

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Chung Ling Soo
BornWilliam Ellsworth Robinson
April 02, 1861
DiedMarch 24, 1918 (age 56)
Resting placeLondon, East Sheen Cemetery, Section B, grave number 219/220/221
CategoriesBooks by Chung Ling Soo

Chung Ling Soo (April 2, 1861 - March 24, 1918), born William Ellsworth Robinson, died on the stage of London's Wood Green Empire when his bullet catch routine went wrong.[1]


During his early career, William Ellsworth Robinson called himself Robinson, the Man of Mystery. He also did a Black Art act as Achmed Ben Ali and later as Nana Shahib. Worked as an assistant and stage manager to both Alexander Herrmann and Harry Kellar and later to Leon Herrmann.

To increase his allure with a touch of exoticism, he changed his name, originally, to Hop Sing Loo then to Chung Ling Soo and took his show to Europe. The latter name was a variation of a real Chinese stage magician - Ching Ling Foo - and Robinson performed many of the tricks that Foo had made famous.[2][3]

Chung Ling Soo maintained his role as a Chinese man scrupulously. He never spoke onstage and always used an interpreter when he spoke to journalists. Only his friends and other stage magicians knew the truth.[4]




  1. Cover Genii 2005 June
  2. The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" by Jim Steinmeyer (2005) ISBN 0-7867-1512-X.
  4. Brief Biography at The Magic Nook
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