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L'Homme Masque

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L'Homme Masque
BornJose Antenor de Gago y Zavala

L'Homme Masqué (1835-1913) was born Jose Antenor de Gago y Zavala in Peru. He performed mostly in France, always wearing a mask (thus the stage name which means "Man of the Mask"). He also has performed under the name Marquis d'O or Marquis d'Orighuela.

He married Agnes Martini from Silesia, Germany, who assisted him. She appeared under the name of "Zirka, the Queen of Cigarettes".

Some of his effects were published in Magic without Apparatus by Camille Gaultier translated by Jean Hugard in 1945. It is generally accepted that he created the Downs Palm and taught it to T. Nelson Downs.

He had an imitator "Willy le Masque" who styled himself "The King of Gifts" because we would distribute souvenirs among his audience.

About 1905, he bought a wine farm in Bordeaux.[1]


  1. Genii 2000 July Cover.