Great Lafayette

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Great Lafayette
BornSiegmund Ignatius Neuburger or Neuberger
February 25, 1871
Munich, Germany
DiedMay 9, 1911 (age 40)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Resting placePiershill Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland
NationalityAmerican
Flourished1890–1911

The Great Lafayette (1871-1911) was the highest paid magician of his time.

Contents

Biography

Born Sigmund Neuberger (Newburger) in Germany, his family moved to the United States early in his life. Neuberger began his career as an imitator of Ching Ling Foo, but went on to become the highest paid magician of his time. In 1900 he appeared in London changing his name from Sigmund to the Great Lafayette.

His act included a quick-change routine as well as dramatic illusions such as his own Lion's Bride (lady to lion).

The pampered object of The Great Lafayette's affection was Beauty, a perky terrier given to him as a pup by fellow conjurer Harry Houdini. Beauty had her own suite of brocaded rooms, ate five course meals, and wore a diamond studded collar.

Beauty died four days before the opening of a show at the Empire Theater in Edinburgh. After initial resistance from Edinburgh City Council, Neuberger had her buried in Piershill Cemetery. The Council would only give him a plot on the condition that Lafayette himself would be buried their upon his death. Four days later in a freak accident, Lafayette was performing his signature illusion, the Lion's Bride. An electrical fault in a lamp above the performer caused a fire. The elaborate set went up in flames in minutes. The audience, thinking that this was part of the illusion did not evacuate until the theater manager signaled the orchestra to play 'God Save the King'. Ten of the players of The Great Lafayette perished in the fire. The body of Lafayette was soon found and sent to Glasgow for cremation, however two days after the fire, workers were clearing the under stage area and found another body identically dressed as Lafayette. It turned out that the body in the crematorium was that of the illusionist's body double. Two days later the ashes of the Great Lafayette were taken through Edinburgh through a crowd estimated to number over 15,000 before being laid to rest in the paws of his beloved (and stuffed) Beauty.

100th anniversary

The 100th anniversary of the fire which The Great Lafayette and 10 other people is being marked by the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, which now stands on the site. They will also hold a seance.

Books

References

Wikipedia-logo.png This page incorporated content from Sigmund Neuberger,

a page hosted on Wikipedia. Please consult the history of the original page to see a list of its authors. Therefor, this article is also available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

  • The Magical World, Vol. 2, No. 3, May 1911, LAFAYETTE, page 35
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 10, No. 4, June 1911, THE GREAT LAFAYETTE, page 67
  • The Magic Wand, Vol. 13, No. 122, June-September 1924, Is Lafayette Alive? by Chris Charlton, page 104
  • The Annals of Conjuring, by Sydney W. Clarke (reprint 2001), Lafayette, page 361
  • The Magic Wand, Vol. 17, No. 137, March-May 1928, Conjurers of Yesterday and To-Day, by Sidney W. Clarke, page 38
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 51, No. 2, June 1952, Magical Menagerie, by Arthur Leroy, page 81
  • Hugard's Magical Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 5, October 1952, BACKSTAGE, Lafayette's family name, page 949
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 32, No. 6, August 1952, Of legierdemaine and diverse juggling knacks..., by John Braun, page 36
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 33, No. 7, September 1953, Inconsequentialities by Stanley Collins, Lafayette, page 32
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 35, No. 4, June 1955, Great Magicians I Have Seen, by John Hunniford, page 50
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 51, No. 575, July-August 1957, The End of Lafayette, by R. C. Bentley, page 167
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 52, No. 579, November 1957, Lafayette – Another Story, by Travis B. Wills, page 37
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 47, No. 2, February 1967, Studies in Conjuring Literature, by Edgar Heyl, page 28
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 67, No. 737, November 1972, Thoughts on the Great Lafayette, by Harry Carson, page 31
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 68, No. 755, September 1974, The Rambler, by C. Hans Ford Beere, THE TRAGEDY OF THE GREAT LAFAYETTE, page 174
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 80, No. 870, November 1986, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived (An investigation into the final days of Lafayette), by Brian Lead – Part 1, page 220
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 80, No. 871, December 1986, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead – Part 2, page 242
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 81, No. 873, February 1987, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead – Part 3, part 29
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 81, No. 879, September/October 1987, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead - Part 4, page 190
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 886, May/Jun 1988, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead, page 114 (Part 5)
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 887, July 1988, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead, p. 134 (Part 6)
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 889, September/October 1988, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead – Part VII, page 196
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 891, December 1988, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead – Part VIII, page 244
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 83, No. 893, February/March 1989, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead - Part X, page 40
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 83, No. 894, April 1989, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead – Part XI, page 63
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 83, No. 900, November 1989, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead - Part XII, part 212
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 83, No. 901, December 1989, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead - Part XIII, part 240
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 84, No. 902, January 1990, The Death of the Most Hated Magician That Ever Lived, by Brian Lead - Part XIV, part 9
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 84, No. 910, November 1990, A Rich Cabinet of Magical Curiosities, by Edwin A. Dawes, 168. The Magical Impersonators, page 214
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Neuberger, Siegmund = The Great Lafayette, eig. Siegmund Ignatius Neuburger[!], dt.-USA Verwandlungskünstler; Zauberkünstler (*24.02.1872 München; †09.05.1911 Edinburgh), page 246
  • Parting Glances: Beauty & The Great Lafayette
  • Lafayette (Sigmund Neuburger), and his dog, Beauty (picture)
  • http://www.timegun.org/lafayette.html
  • Funeral of the Great Lafayette at Edinburgh, May 14, 1911, BFI catalogue
  • http://iamrua.com/index.php/ruas-blog/the-great-lafayette/
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