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Monsieur Brunard

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Monsieur Brunard
BornRichard J. Bruno
circa 1901
DiedMay 18, 1986 (age 84)
St. Petersburg, Florida

Monsieur Brunard (1901-1971) was Richard "Dick" Bruno, a well-known ventriloquist working with his vent figure, Joe Flip.[1][2]


His father and grandfather had been harpists with symphony orchestras. Bruno took up the alto saxophone and led a small dance band. As a boy of twelve he purchased his first trick from Prof. Otto Hornmann of the Hornmann Magic Company. Years later his interest was renewed when he met Will Parks, one time assistant to Adelaide Hermann. In 1931 he became friends with Frank Ducrot.

In 1936, he played with vaudeville ventriloquist John W. Cooper and decided to change his career to ventriloquism. He starting studying while continuing to work with music, some magic, and frequently serving as emcee on variety show bookings. On one occasion he met The Great Lester who agreed to teach him his methods.

Bruno purchased his ventriloquist figure from Max Holden's New York City magic shop on December 4, 1941.[3]

During WWII, Bruno travelled with USO shows to entertain American troops around the world. Sam Margules was the magician with the same unit. One weekend they went into New York and met Dai Vernon. They purchased a book on foreign dialects and when Bruno read the section on French dialects the idea came to him to change his own personality. He transformed his entire character from that of a New Yorker to that of a native Frenchman, but having his vent figure Joe Flip answer back with a New York accent.

Following the war, Bruno toured the world again on cruise ships.

He retired from the stage and took a position with the Harmony Club in New York City and produced its annual children's circus party.

Bruno authored a number of articles for "Oracle", the official magazine of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. One of his pupils was Miss Shari Lewis.

One of his last appearances was at the T.A.O.M. Convention in 1980 in Dallas, Texas.[4]


  1. New Tops, February,1962 (cover)
  4. Linking Ring, August, 1986