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McDonald Birch

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McDonald Birch


Cover of Genii (1940)
BornGeorge McDonald Birch
January 28, 1902
Columbus, Ohio
DiedApril 28, 1992 (age 90)
McConnelsville, Ohio

McDonald "Mac" Birch (1902-1992) was born George McDonald Birch and grew up in McConnelsville, Ohio. Known as Mac to his friends, he began performing on the Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits. He quickly gained a reputation for his work offering a full unassisted two-hour show.


Later, his wife Mabel Sperry, a xylophonist and also played the marimba , provided the musical interlude in his shows, as well as working as his chief assistant. Two of his featured acts were the Vanishing Pony and the Silk Mirage.

McDonald Birch was a contemporary of other master illusionists like Blackstone, Thurston and the great Harry Houdini. In 1924, Howard Thurston made plans to make Birch the successor to the Kellar-Thurston "magic mantle". Thurston, however, never got around to retiring.

After over 50 years as a headliner, Birch retired from performing in the 1960s.

The auditorium of the Opera House Theater in Morgan County, Ohio was dedicated "Birch Hall" as tribute.


  • Received the "Master Fellowship" award from the Academy of Magical Arts (1980)
  • Given a Presidential Citation by IBM in 1990.
  • Cincinnati Academy of Magic and Allied Sciences (C.A.M.A.S.) bestowed him the "Honored Wizard" in 1990.


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