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Russell Swann

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Russell Swann
BornWilliam Russell Swann
October 31, 1901
Washington D. C.
DiedMarch 16, 1980 (age 78)
New York

Russell Swann (1901-1980) was a successful comedy magician that performed in every major nightclub in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s.[1]


He was born William Russell in Washington, D.C., the first of 10 brothers.

He studied under Thurston and became the first magician to play the Waldorf Astoria in New York. He became one of the highest paid nightclub performers of his day. He did command performances at the White House for both President Roosevelt and Truman. One of Russell's most famous routines was the Head Chopper.

He also appeared on TV and film, including two appearances on the Jackie Gleason Show.[2]



  2. Genii Magazine, Vol. 44, No. 6, June 1980, Obituaries, Russell Swann, page 409
  • Cover, The Sphinx, Vol. 34, No. 12, February 1936, Russell Swann, page 336, Who’s Who in Magic, page 349
  • Cover, The Sphinx, Vol. 38, No. 12, February 1940, Russell Swann, page 312
  • Cover, The Sphinx, Vol. 40, No. 8, October 1941, Cover Russell Swann, page 240
  • Cover, Goodliffe's Abracadabra, Vol. 59, No. 1528, May 1975, Magician of the Year – Russell Swann, page 355
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 86, No. 3, March 2006, CUTTING UP JACKPOTS by Bev Bergeron, Russell Swann (William) A man we owe so much to, page 59
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Swann, Russell „Max“ USA Zauberkünstler (30.10.1905 Washington DC, †1980), page 332