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Johnny Ace Palmer

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Johnny Ace Palmer

Cover of Genii (1988)
BornDennis Wayne John Palmer
August 2, 1960
Warren, Ohio

Johnny Ace Palmer (b. 1960) is an award-winning American close-up magician.


Palmer was born in Warren, Ohio, in the early 1960s and attended Kent State University in Ohio in the late 1970s and early '80s. He came to magic early in life, and as a teenager, performed a stage act with his sister. In college, he majored in both theater arts and psychology.

Throughout the 1980s, Palmer entered and competed in a large number of American magic competitions, culminating in his first-place wins at the annual convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the annual convention of the Society of American Magicians.

Then he set his sights on international goals, entering FISM, in 1988. He presented a 10-minute act that was one of the first competition acts to utilize stage techniques in a closeup setting. One routine for which he became known was a version of the Cups & Balls in which the final load is three live baby chicks.

Palmer's skills won him the title of world-champion magician. In so doing, he became the first close-up magician in history to receive the Grand Prix award, and only the second American to win (Lance Burton was the first in 1982).

Palmer was one of the original seven magicians who opened Caesar's Magical Empire in June, 1996.

The Magic Castle has awarded Palmer with the award for Best Close-Up Magician two years in a row (1987, 1988) as well as Lecturer of the Year (1996, 1999).

As of 2006, Palmer is the only magician to be awarded both the International Brotherhood of Magicians' Gold Cups Award of Excellence (which he received in 1983) and the Society of American Magicians' Gold Medal Award of Honor (which he received in 1986).

In 1994, the Library of Congress created an exhibit to be displayed at schools, libraries and malls across the country. Called Grand Illusion: The Art and Practice of Magic, the exhibit featured only five living magicians, one of which was Palmer.

Palmer was on an episode of the TV series "Masters of Illusion," which aired on March 9, 2009.[1]


  1. Cover Genii 1988 March
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  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 71, No. 11, November 1991, Memoirs Of A Magician's Ghost, The Autobiography of John Booth, Chapter 256, JOHNNY ACE PALMER: A WORLD CLOSE-UP CHAMPION, page 64
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 71, No. 12, December 1991, Memoirs Of A Magician's Ghost, The Autobiography of John Booth, Chapter 256 (continued), HOW TO WIN THE WORLD'S TOP CLOSE-UP MAGIC TROPHY, page 70
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 78, No. 4, April 1998, OUR COVER JOHNNY ACE PALMER - World Champion Close-up Magician (at our Los Angeles Convention), page 55
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