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BornCount Edmond de Grisy
circa 1780
Diedcirca 1850 (age 69)

Torrini 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".


  • The old and the new magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1906)
  • History of Conjuring and Magic by Henry Ridgely Evans (1928)