Category Archives: Bill Zavis

Women In Magic

How many full time magicians in the world would you think  are women? According to Dennis Regling’s  article on Bella on line, the answer is about 50. I’m not sure when that article was written but it is a very small percentage.

The tricky word is full time. I know that some  male professional magicians sometimes have a day job as well. So I will define the female magicians as professional magicians as I don’t know if they have other occupations or not. We had a few women magicians at Magie Montreal, the Montreal Magic Convention run by Phil Matlin and Wim Vermeys for 19 years, and they were awesome. (the women as well as the conventions)! I am referring only to women that had their own act, close-up show or lecture.  Not that I am taking anything away from magicians’ assistants or magic teams, most of whom are excellent in their own right, but that will be in another blog. The dates below are approximate.

1981 Frances Marshall, then owner of Magic Inc.  lectured.

Shelley Carroll perform at Magic Montreal twice, in 1985 and  in 1991. Shelley Carroll and Derek Dingle were partners for 25 years. He performed close up and she had a stage act. Unfortunately Derek passed away in 2004. In the 70’s they founded The Magic Agency which is now being run by Shelley.

In 1986 Lucy Smalley performed on our stage. She was a professional manipulator taught by Neil Foster and was the first woman to win Abbott’s Magic Contest. I don’t think she is performing any more.

In 1988 June Horowitz, President of S.A.M.  (Society of American Magicians) who was being honored at Magic Montreal performed close-up.

In 1994 we had 2 women, Juliana Chen and Karla Baumgardner. Karla perfomed another year as well . Both are still performing as far as I know. Karla came into the Magic Shop not long ago. I am embarassed to say I cannot find the photos of Juliana Chen but click on the link. I had many and I can see them in my mind as she did her fabulous card production and card manipulation act and when I find them I will post them. They must be with the photo of Randi and Dr. Joe Schwarcz which is also missing.

In 1997 Lupe from Las Vegas performed close up.

There are others, however, who I know do this full time. They come into the shop, and have been coming in for years. Some of these ladies combine it with clowning and do face-painting. They are very professional and are busy. There are more young girls interested in magic as well, so guys, watch out. Times, they are a changing!


Filed under Bill Zavis, Juliana Chen, Magic, Magie Montreal, Phil Matlin, Wim Vermeys


Magic brings people together. This is a community that knows no bounds. Age, race, language, religion, profession, education are suspended here. They don’t exist.



William Zavis

I remember Bill Zavis, a sophisticated American diplomat who worked at the U.S. Consulate here in Montreal for several years, who not only was interested in Magic but won the 3rd prize at FISM for Micromagic in 1973 and was author of the magic book Divers Deceits. He came into our shop shortly after he moved to Montreal and another magician was there who he did not know and in no time they deep in an animated conversation. There was instant rapport, understanding and eagerness, despite the obvious differences in language, education and social standing.


Bill Zavis had a creative and intelligent approach to magic. To me he was an exceptional person. I’m easy to get along with. Ask Phil. I like people in general. I have all the patience in the world. But there was this one kid, and I love kids, who I couldn’t take. Maybe he was 13 years old. There was just something about him. I treated him with respect but was glad when he left.


Bill often came to the magic shop on his day off to help us behind the counter, just as a friend. We were friends with Bill and his wife and we had daughters the same age so it was great. When this kid came in Bill used to spend a great deal of time with him, talking to him and explaining things to him. One day I said to him, “Bill, how come you spend so much time with him. I hate to say this but I don’t see how you can stand him.” Obnoxious might be an appropriate word here. And Bill simply answered, “I know he isn’t pleasant, but the kid is lost and maybe his interest in magic is the one thing that will save him!” How did that make me feel? It gave me a different outlook on life and magic after that.


When looking up Bill’s link, (see above) I realized that we produced an effect he invented called Soft Center. He created other effects as well. He was brilliant and died much too young. We miss him.



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Filed under Bill Zavis, Books