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Tom Jack

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Tom Jack
BornKarl Breu
January 10, 1884
Dubňany Austria-Hungary (now Northern Bohemia of The Czech Republic)
DiedOctober 17, 1953 (age 69)
Beinstein, West Germany

Tom Jack (1884-1953), an albino escape artist also promoted as "The Ice King", was the stage name of Karl Breu.


Breu was born with severe albinism, manifesting as snow white skin, colorless hair and pink eyes. His parents died unexpectedly early in his childhood. As orphans, he and his sister were separated. He ended up in Lenory, Sweden and his sister in Vienna.

Known as something of an adventurer and class clown among his peers, it probably came to no surprise that he joined the circus wher he studied with the resident circus illusionist. Breu quickly became adept in performing magic.

Based on Houdini success at the time, Breu set to learning escapes, focusing on chains. He would adopt the American sounding pseudonym, Tom Jack and also used "Ice King" due to his appearance. He toured Europe and nearly died during one performance in London where he was tossed from the Tower Bridge into the Thames and failed to escape from the restraints.

Just before World War I, Breu retired and purchased a plot of land in Lenory. After World War I, Breu married a young girl, and fellow albino performer, Wally Paradise. Together they had a normal looking boy and girl.

After World War II, despite serving the Allied forces as an interpreter, Breu and his family were the victims of displacement and settled in Beinstein, Germany.[1][2]