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Jose Vilardell

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Jose Vilardell
BornAugust 10, 1905
Barcelona, Catalin, Spain
DiedDecember 9, 1983 (age 78)

Jose Vilardell (1905-1983), an amateur magician, helped develop the SAM Assembly 22 (Los Angeles, California) and was a major force in creating and forming the S.A.M. Hall of Fame and Magic Museum.[1]


His education also included horsemanship, classical Spanish dancing, and fencing. His ability as a painter earned him admittance to the Royal Academy in Madrid. His two hobbies were magic and photography.

Vilardell grew up in a conjuring atmosphere and performed as the "front man" in his father's Black Art act.

He went to Mexico as a painter, where he met and married is wife Irma. He moved to the United States, but upon arriving in El Paso he found that there was little demand for portrait artists. However, throughout the American Southwest, there were many theaters and vaudeville houses for Spanish-speaking audience and Vilardell won the job of a young male lead in a company.

Photography continued to interest him and seeing the future it had, he entered the motion picture business as an assistant camera man for M-G-M in silent days. Hhen, with the advent of sound, he joined Twentieth Century Fox's Move Tone News. He eventually would became an American citizen.

He opened a portrait studio in Fort Worth, but missing show business, he returned to Hollywood, opened his own commercial photography studio doing portraits of famous stars. He became acquainted with local magicians and joined S.A.M. in 1951 becoming active in the local Assembly even serving as its president in 1956.

In the early 1960's, Vilardell and John Zweers began to produce the first modern Assembly newspaper, The Los Angeles Wand, a series of six Assembly Yearbooks and a large number of special projects, such as Annual Show programs, fliers, and announcements.

Vilardell returned to performing magic, particularly enjoying close-up work. He also MC'd shows and put together three different Black Art acts.

When the S.A.M. Hall of Fame and Magic Museum became a reality, he was one of the first to volunteer and served it continuously until his death. Later he was elected to the Hall of Fame himself.


  1. JOSE VILARDELL An Appreciation by John Zweers, MUM, July 1984