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De Yip Loo

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De Yip Loo
BornDecember 31, 1925
Canton, China
DiedMarch 6, 2013 (age 87)

De Yip Loo (1925-2013) was a Chinese magician who created the "Shang Po Magic Show," not too long after several seasons of touring the world with the Blackstone and, later, the Dante.[1]


He came to the United States in 1936, at the age of 11, to join his father who had settled in Minnesota. The rest of his family remained in China. He became known as "Louie" and was the first Asian American performer to appear on WGN-TV’s Bozo Circus.

De Yip went to Chicago at the age of 15 and got a job at the Nankin Restaurant as a bus boy. Blackstone stopped in the restaurant between shows at the nearby Oriental Theatre and struck up a conversation. He asked the young De Yip if he wanted a job in show business. The manager of the restaurant encouraged him to take it, because he was such a lousy bus boy. He worked for Blackstone as a personal valet to Harry and stage assistant for a year until Blackstone started touring for the U.S.O. and had to cut down on his troupe.

De Yip soon returned to show business as a stage man for Dante. He stayed with the Dante Show for three seasons.

Soon after becoming a U.S. citizen in 1945, he was drafted into the Army and joined the Quartermaster Corp in visiting Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Okinawa .

After the war, he experimented with all kinds of magic to see what would be right for him. He started getting experience as a club act, night clubs, burlesque and Harvester Shows. He refined his magic act as part of Red Skelton’s 1949 tour.

Loo’s big break came on September 11, 1961, when he performed on the debut of Bozo’s Circus. While donning a Chinese dragon robe, he did tricks involving vanishing chickens and pagoda illusions. In 1980, Loo performed on the Bozo show for the 20th, and last time.

In 1985, Loo launched the Shang Po Magic Show, a family including his wife and daughter, which traveled extensively across the country and even South America. He billed himself as the world's "No. 1 Chinese Magician." A typical program included classics such as the Egg Bag, Die Box, Confetti to Goldfish, Head Chopper, and the Serpent silk (taught to him by Jay Marshall).[2]

Over the course of his 60-year career, Loo has been credited with inventing, rebuilding, and improving illusions used by such magicians as Harry Blackstone, Jr. and Doug Henning.

De Yip Loo retired from show business after suffering a stroke in 1998.


  • "Made in Japan, imported by a Jewish firm and delivered by a Polish truck driver." ~ De Yip Loo