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Maury Leaf

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Maury Leaf
BornOctober 31, 1896
Lipcon, Russia
DiedJune 6, 1976 (age 79)

Maury Leaf (1896-1976) was a Hollywood magician who became one of the first and most frequent performers at the Magic Castle.


His family moved to the United States in the early 1900's. In the early twenties he moved to Hollywood with an assignment to do portraits of movie stars. Then he worked for Disney studios as a cartoon artist, designed for the Army Intelligence and was an artist for Douglas Aircraft. In his spare time he would do magic, play ukelele and the piano.

He opened his own magic shop in Santa Monica. In his last years he appeared often at the Magic Castle and at the Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica.

His portrait of the Castle host and performer Jay Ose that he painted in 1967, still hangs on the wall of the Close-up Gallery.

His signature piece was his Snake Basket which he performed in a Russian/Yiddish accent, calling the cloth serpent "The Snek," whose actions were sound activated by music.

Another Maury Leaf effect involved a mechanical bird that whistled chosen cards. [1]

He inspired and taught his nephew, Burton Sperber.[2]


  1. Obit, Genii 1976 July
  2. How to Cultivating a Collection, MUM, September, 2008