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BornCount Edmond de Grisy
Languedoc, France
Lyons, France

Torrini (1768-1830) was a French nobleman who was first a physician, then a conjurer. He fled the French Revolution to Italy, and while there, as the result of a quarrel with Pinetti, exchanged medicine for magic.


He had an short successful career in Europe, but is best remembered as the traveling wagon showman who picked up young Robert-Houdin while he was wandering by the roadside in 1828, and gave him the start in magic.

His young son was killed accidentally by a spectator during a presentation of a Bullet Catch. A real bullet got mixed up with the false bullets and was loaded into the weapon. De Grisy was convicted of "homicide through imprudence," and sentenced to six months of imprisonment. On his release he assumed the name of Torrini, which was that of his brother-in-law and assistant.

He retired to the provinces of France, and died a broken-hearted man at Lyons.

Legend also has it that he presented the first Sawing a Woman in Half in front of Pope Pius VII in 1809.

Note: There was also an escape artist who performed during the time of Houdini under the name "Torrini".


  • Cover, Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 4, No. 12, Dezember 1898, de Grisy-Torrini, by Ed. W. Lufa, page 177
  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 5, No. 1, Januar 1899, de Grisy-Torrini (Fortsetzung), by Ed. W. Lufa, page 2
  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 5, No. 2, Februar 1899, de Grisy-Torrini (Fortsetzung), by Ed. W. Lufa, page 17
  • Die Zauberwelt, Vol. 5, No. 3, März 1899, de Grisy-Torrini (Schluss), by Ed. W. Lufa, page 33
  • The old and the new magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1906)
  • The Sphinx, Vol. 21, No. 4, June 1922, TORRINI, by Henry R. Evans, page 139
  • History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1928)
  • The Annals of Conjuring, by Sydney W. Clarke (1929, reprint 2001), 6. Continental Conjurers, The story of de Grisy, page 174
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 9, No. 12, February 1930, Bullet Catching Trick One, of Few Pitiful Tragedies in Magic History – Sigmar, page 1337
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 54, No. 602, February 1960, Torrini – According to Robert-Houdin, by S. H. Sharpe, page 85
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 54, No. 1, January 1974, SALUTATIONS TO ROBERT-HOUDIN, APPENDIX III, Robert-Hondin's Life of Torrini, by S. H. Sharpe, page 53
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Grisy, Edmond de, (Graf) = Torrini frz. Zauberkünstler (*1768; †1829 Lyon), page 138