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Harry Monti

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Harry Monti
BornHarry L. Monteith
August 17, 1935
St. Louis, Missouri

Known forClose-Up Magic, Stage Magic, Escapes
National President, Society of American Magicians 1999-2000

Harry Monti (b. 1935) is a past National President of the Society of American Magicians (1999-2000).


Harry Monti (born Harry Lee Monteith) is an American close-up magician, stage magician and escape artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. Monti, who has performed at venues around the world, served as National President of the Society of American Magicians in 1999-2000. He was co-founder of Rings-N-Things, a company devoted to producing high-quality metal magic props; owner of Monti’s Magic Shop; co-founder of the Magic for Special Education Program; and co-founder of the Harry and Trudy Monti College Scholarship Fund.

Monteith, first became interested in magic at the age of 9 after learning a magic trick from a comic book. About that time, his parents took him to the American Theater in St. Louis to see Harry Blackstone, Sr. perform. His interest in magic grew and, while he became adept at stand-up magic, his passion was with sleight-of-hand and close-up magic. As a teen, Monteith performed mainly stand-up magic for local organizations and charitable functions. In his twenties, Monteith also began perfecting his close-up magic, and won First Place in several regional close-up competitions. Monteith was also an avid gymnast, trapeze artist, and award-winning speed skater and skier. His acumen for athletics lead to an interest in Houdini-type escapes and he became known for performing both the upside-down strait jacket escape and the “Houdini” milk can escape. It was about this time that Monteith chose to use the name “Harry Monti” professionally. In the 1960s, Monti headed to California and the newly-established Magic Castle where he was invited to perform close-up magic on his very first visit. In the years that followed, Monti performed close-up magic, parlor magic and stage magic at this prestigious venue, and became the only performer to have performed for over 50 consecutive years at the Magic Castle.

In addition to a very extensive performing schedule that took him around the world, Monti found time to teach magic at the University City High School for over 10 years, and was one of the most successful Chairs of the Midwest Magic Jubilee, serving as General Chairman during the heyday of the Jubilee in the 1970s and 1980s.

Harry married Trudy (Thomas) Monti on November 20, 1971.

Awards and Honors

  • Member of the Inner Magic Circle, London
  • 50 Year Continuous Performer, Magic Castle
  • Magic Castle Nomination, Best Visiting Magician of the Year 1971-1972
  • Magic Castle Nomination, Best Close-Up Performer of the Year 1972-1973
  • S.A.M. National President 1999-2000
  • S.A.M. Life Member
  • S.A.M. Assembly 8 Gold Medal
  • S.A.M. Assembly 8 President 1970-1971
  • I.B.M. Order of Merlin
  • I.B.M. Ring One Harold Theper Award
  • First Place, Close-Up Magic, 1967 Midwest Magic Jubilee, St. Louis
  • First Place, Close-Up Magic, 1968 Midwest Magic Jubilee, Kansas City
  • St. Louis Magic Heritage Award, 1998
  • Honorary Member Los Angeles S.A.M. Assembly
  • Honorary Member Merlin and the Court Jesters
  • Honorary Kentucky Colonel


  • Harry always included this quote on his magic business cards: Good Magic with an Occasional Miracle
  • For 53 years, Harry ended every close-up performance at the Magic Castle with the following: People often ask: 'Harry, how do you do magic?' May I suggest you try a smile. You'd be amazed at the magic in a smile!

Television and Movies

  • 1973, Regis Philbin Show, (television) performing the Houdini Milk Can Escape and the Straitjacket Escape
  • 1993, King of the Hill, (movie) Magic Consultant
  • Magic Palace, (television - 3 episodes) performing close-up and stand-up magic


  • The History of S.A.M. Assembly No. 8 1921-1996 by Monti, Trudy; Monti, Harry, eds. (1996)


  • Harry Monti’s Block-Off-Rope (M-U-M, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 1999, pp. 24-25)
  • Monti’s Hopping Half – A Coin Quickie (M-U-M, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 1999, pp. 25-26)
  • Monti’s Copper-Silver Transposition (M-U-M, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 1999, p. 26)
  • Monti’s Move with the Okito Coin Box (M-U-M, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 1999, p. 27)


  • Tales from the Uncanny Scot, by Ron Wilson, pp. 4, 155 (middle photograph), Acknowledgements, and cover
  • Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday..., by Stephen L. Macknik, Susana Martinez-Conde, Sandra Blakeslee
  • Riverfront Times, July 22, 2015, A Controversial Religion Claiming Supernatural Powers? St. Louis Magicians Cry Fraud
  • West Newsmagazine, March 4, 2014, Mature Focus: Harry Monti, master of magic
  • MAGIC Magazine, January 2014, HARRY MONTI, Conjuring, Cups, and Castle (Randy Kalin and Alan Howard), pp. 50-55
  • Riverfront Times, October 8, 2008, Abracadabra: St. Louis has become a flourishing place for magicians
  • M-U-M, Vol. 89, No. 2, July 1999, Cover, Monti's Meanderings (Harry Monti, pp. 9-10); A Life in Magic (Peter Rexford, pp. 17-21); Bravo to Harry and Trudy Monti and to Tom Stone (Bob Steiner, p. 21); Seabrooke on Harry Monti (Terry Seabrooke, p. 27); Comment (David Goodsell, p. 26); Harry Monti: Pro-to-the Bone, Friend to All (Jon Racherbaumer, p. 28);
  • Genii, November, 1977, The Vernon Touch
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 28, 1993, Expert to Give Youngsters Glimpse of the Fun and Mystery of Magic, p. 92
  • Legerdemain, A Magazine of Magic, CD Vol. 1

References - Minor

  • M-U-M, February 2015, Vol. 104, No. 9., p. 12
  • M-U-M, June 2014, Vol. 104, No. 1, p. 12
  • M-U-M, May 2014, Vol. 103, No. 12, p. 12
  • M-U-M, March 2014, Vol. 103, No. 10, p. 12
  • M-U-M, December 2013, Vol. 103, No. 7, p. 12
  • M-U-M, June 2012, Vol. 102, No. 1, p. 12
  • M-U-M, January 2003, Vol. 92, No. 8, p. 60
  • Linking Ring, July 2016, Vol. 96, No. 7, p. 125
  • Linking Ring, December 2014, Vol. 94, No. 12, p. 119
  • Linking Ring, November 2014, Vol. 94, No. 11, p. 123
  • Linking Ring, January 2012, Vol. 92, No. 1, p. 115

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