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Sunday, 8 March 2009

TV Magician Ali Bongo Dies

TV Magician Ali Bongodownthetubes is sorry to report that TV Magician Ali Bongo -- described by friends as "the most influential and respected man in magic" -- has died following a stroke, after being taken ill in France last month during a lecture. He was 79.

Bongo, real name William Wallace, was born in India and acted as a consultant on The Paul Daniels Magic Show and was also an assistant to fellow magician David Nixon. He was awarded the 1993 Carlton Award for Comedy and was elected President of The Magic Circle last September.

Perhaps of most interest to readers of this website, however, were his appearances in The Tomorrow People (in the story The Revenge of Jedikiah by Roger Price) and his work advising on Jonathan Creek. Indeed, Creek's creator David Renwick once said that Bongo's work was the inspiration behind the main character. He also acted as the full-time magical advisor to 1970s cult TV show, Ace of Wands also building specialised props for the show, such as the snake in the story "The Power of Atep", the smoke bombs in "Now You See It, Now You Don't" and even played the mummy in "The Eye Of Ra".

Bongo also advised Doctor Who during the making of the Tom Baker story The Talons of Weng-Chiang. His input, alongside Larry Barnes, went uncredited but his involvement was appreciated by Tom Baker in his autobiography, Who on Earth is Tom Baker?

"This is especially distressing after reports of his progress had been so encouraging, and the whole world of magic will mourn his passing," a statement reads on the web site of The Magic Circle. "Ali devoted his life to magic, and The Magic Circle in particular, for whom he was our finest international ambassador. Our sympathies go out to his family and close friends at this sad time. The numerous tributes that continue to flood in are testament to his far reaching influence and popularity.

Ali Bongo (William Wallace), magician, born on December 8, 1929, died of pneumonia on March 8, 2009, aged 79

Daily Telegraph Obituary
The Times Obituary
Home Counties Magical Society

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