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June Merlin

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June Merlin
BornJune Elizabeth Cochrane
circa 1920
DiedMarch 31, 2007 (age 86)

June Merlin (c.1920-2007), born June Elizabeth Cochrane in Ireland began her magic career with Billy McComb, whom she married.


June began her career in show business at the young age of three singing, dancing and entering talent competitions. During her teens, she began modeling, which led to major beauty pageants wins, including the prestigious Miss Ireland.

June met Billy McComb in 1942 while he was attending medical school at Queens University in Belfast. During this time, Billy was also gaining recognition as a strong magical act in London nightclubs and theatres and June began assisting him. Billy developed an act for her to perform that included rope, billiard balls and prop tricks popular at the time. They won a 1949 I.B.M. competition and got married that same year. June then began assisting Robert Harbin during the creation of the first Zig Zag Girl Illusion, which she to offered insight from an assistant's perspective about the ergonomics of the illusion.

The McCombs appeared in London with Bob Hope, where he used June as an assistant during one of his performances. Hope suggested June might have success with her own act, so she hired Robert Harbin and Al Koran to develop a solo stage act. She adopted the stage name "Merlin" and began performing magic as the "Bewitching Witch." She represented Ireland in the international cast on the 1957 television special Festival of Magic.

She and Billy traveled around the world together, making appearances on stage, television and radio. The two split in 1967 and separated in 1969. June retired to Spain and passed away at the age of 87.