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Jean Hugard

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Jean Hugard

Cover of Genii (1945)
BornJohn Gerard Rodney Boyce
December 04, 1871
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
DiedAugust 14, 1959 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York
CategoriesBooks by Jean Hugard

Jean Hugard (December 4, 1871 - August 14, 1959) was born John Gerard Rodney Boyce in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. He would insist throughout his life, though, that he was born in 1872.[1] Hugard used the stage names of Kelmann, Hugarde, Jean Hugard and Chin Sun Loo. He began his professional career in the 1890s. One of his full evening shows presented on tour in Australia and New Zealand was a silent Chinese act.


Jean (pronounced like the denim trousers, as per Milt Larsen) Hugard became interested in magic after seeing Louis Haselmayer perform and his first book on magic was Secrets of Conjuring and Magic, Professor Hoffmann's translation of Robert-Houdin's book.

In 1915, he moved to the United States and worked in vaudeville from 1916 until 1918. One of his feature attractions then was "Birth of the Sea Nymph."

He also was known for his bullet catch routine, which he called "The Great Rifle Feat." He was the first to present it with modern day guns at the time.

He owned and performed in a magic theater in Luna Park (at Coney Island) from 1919-1929. He also appeared in a Broadway Show in 1928 at the Forrest Theater called "The Squealer."

When he retired from performing, he moved to Brooklyn to write and edit magic publications. He wrote more than 30 books on magic. The death of John Northern Hilliard, who had written only the first chapter of Greater Magic, left a lot of manuscript to be completed. Carl Waring Jones, who had contracted for its publication, brought Jean Hugard on board in 1938 to complete and enlarge the text to over 1,000 pages.

He was editor of Hugard's Magic Monthly starting in 1943.

In 1951, Hugard was named the fourth ever SAM Dean of Magicians.

Near the end of his life, Hugard was blind, having lost the sight of both eyes following operations for the removal of cataracts. In spite of this handicap, he continued to work in the magic field at his home in Brooklyn, New York.[2][3][4]

Awards and honors

  • Elected into the SAM Hall of Fame
  • The Silver Wand, Magic Circle's highest award
  • "Milbourne Christopher Award," a plaque that Walt Rollins gave each year in the memory of his son Chipper, to the magician who has done most in the advancement of "brotherly love"
  • International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 136 (Brisbane, Australia) is named in his honor
  • International Brotherhood of Magicians honorary life member


With Braue

As ghostwriter

Books about

  • Jean Hugard (Book) By James B. Alfredson ISBN 0916638847 (1997) - Looks at the life and career of an accomplished magician who worked during the 1930s and 1940s, and his influence on the performance of magic during his day. Published by David Meyer Magic Books.


  1. Jean Hugard by James B. Alfredson (1997)
  2. Cover Genii 1945 April
  3. Cover, Genii Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 7, March 1955, Jean Hugard, Our Cover, by Milbourne Christopher, page 233
  4. Genii Magazine, Vol. 24, No. 1, September 1959, Obituaries, Jean Hugard, by Milbourne Christopher, page 6
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