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Jay Marshall

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Jay Marshall

Cover of Genii (1960)
BornJames Ward Marshall
August 29, 1919
Abington, Massachusetts
DiedMay 10, 2005 (age 85)
Resting placePlot 69, Woodlawn Cemetery & Chapel, 7750 West Cermak Road Forest Park, IL
CategoriesBooks by Jay Marshall

Jay Marshall (b.1919–d.2005) was a famous magician and ventriloquist born in Abington, Massachusetts.


Over a 60 year career he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show 14 times together with his hand puppet "Lefty". He also was the opening act for performers like Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and Liberace. In fact, he was the first act to open for Sinatra in Las Vegas. He was also the dean of the Society of American Magicians.

Jay Marshall & "Lefty"
- by Al Hirschfeld
Cover of Genii, July 2005

According to the Chicago Tribune, his interest in magic started when he was six. Marshall failed to graduate from Bluefield College in West Virginia and went on to be a professional magician instead.

During World War II, Marshall was "island hopping" in the Pacific to entertain military personnel in USO shows. He became tired of taking his elaborate ventriloquist's dummy called Henry with him, so he decided to use a white glove and some bunny ears to turn his left hand into his dummy, "Lefty".

In the 1950s, Marshall moved to Chicago and married fellow magician Frances Ireland. Together they opened a magic shop in 1963 called Magic, Inc. on Lincoln Avenue on Chicago's North Side. Marshall was also a historian of stage magic and wrote several books about it. However, his own acts focused more on card magic and sleight of hand which he often combined with ventriloquism. One of his creations was the Jaspernese Thumb Tie.

For five years in the 1950's, he edited New Phoenix.

He died at the Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago after a series of heart attacks.[1][2]

Awards and honors



  1. Cover Genii 1960 January & Genii 1982 April & Genii 1996 July & Genii 2005 July & Genii 2009 December
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