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Billy Bishop

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Billy Bishop
BornWilliam Lyle Bishop
December 26, 1921
Salem, Oregon
DiedDecember 26, 1999 (age 78)
South Salt Lake City, Utah

Billy "Bish the Magish" Bishop (1921-1999) was a professional magician for more than 50 years.


Bishop was known for originating the comedy rope tie escape.[1]

He was performing at age 12 in Portland, Oregon as "Billy Bishop the Great" with childhood friend Chandler Stevens in a show produced by his Uncle known as Bishop's Vodvil Varieties. They toured the Oregon and Washington schools.
Cover of Genii (1950)

In World War II while serving in the Air Force, he flew P-38 reconnaissance planes and gave numerous shows in the pacific.[2]

He married Elizabeth Ann Dawson in 1949 and they toured the country performing in theaters and nightclubs. Billboard complimented Billy's "Bob Benchley-type chatter" and Ann's "Betty Grable chassis". The New Yorker Magazine called out the "Gentle humor of Billy Bishop at Cafe Society". Variety said, "His shy attempts at legerdemain bring a good supply of laughs."

He was featured on the "Ed Sullivan Toast of the Town" TV show. For children, Billy created his "Billy Bounce & Wit" television show in Milwaukee and later as "Billy Bishop's Toy Room" show. He also has made numerous appearances on Chicago's "Bozo's Circus" television show.

Settling down from showbiz to raise his children, he owned two magic shops in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. He continued to teach and perform until he had a stroke in 1993. They sold the shops and retired in South Salt Lake City, Utah.[3]

Glenn Bishop carries on the magic tradition as a magician and stage hypnotist. [4]


  • 1942 - Beatrice Houidini bestowed the Houdini award for "showmanship in the traditions of Harry Houdini at the PCAM Oakland gathering.
  • 1948 - Fleming Memorial Award for "showmanship and general excellence" at the PCAM Reno convention.


  • Life and Magic of Billy Bishop By Billy Bishop (2000)


  1. Life and Magic of Billy Bishop By Billy Bishop (2000)
  2. Cover, Genii 1950 September
  3. Obit, Linking Ring, March 2000