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Cover of Sphinx (June 1917)
BornLeon Harry Levy
August 5, 1876
New York City
DiedMarch 14, 1951 (age 74)
North Hollywood, California

The Great Leon (1876-1951) became a leading performer in Vaudeville.[1]


Leon married Edythe Packard (of the Packard car company family) who became an integral part of his show. Early in his career he performed an Oriental act as Chunda Hula and later as Kadan Sami.[2]

Leon went to great lengths and was quite careful to register and patent his original illusions. In correspondence sent to Variety and the National Vaudeville Artists, Inc., Leon asks for and receives protective registration for all of the items he listed: Shrink and Shrunken, Fire and Water, The Miniature Haunted House, Ribbon Shot Through a Woman, Duck Tray, and The Doll House.

The Great Leon's shows were known for their fast pace. His signature illusion was "Fire and Water", in which an assistant was wrapped in paper and set on fire then reappeared in a water-filled tank on the opposite side of the stage.

By 1932, The Great Leon had given his last performance as a vaudeville headline and retired to California. Les Levante purchased Leon’s entire show.

His son Leon Leon, grandson Les Arnold and great grandson David Leon carried on the magic tradition.



  1. "The Lost Papers of The Great Leon" Magus Mirabilis, Vol. 1, Issue 2,
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 55, No. 4, April 1975, Memoirs Of A Magician's Ghost, The Autobiography of John Booth, page 53
  • Broken Wand, Linking Ring, April 1951