|Birth Day:||July 11, 1849|
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At age ten, an experiment with chemicals at his work resulted in an explosion that ripped open the floor, causing him to beat a fast retreat.
In 1869, Kellar began working with "The Davenport Brothers and Fay", which was a group of stage spiritualists made up of Ira Erastus Davenport, William Henry Davenport and William Fay. Kellar spent several years working with them, until 1873, when he and Fay parted ways with the Davenports and embarked on a "world tour" through Central and South America.
In Mexico, they were able to make $10,000 ($226 thousand in today's figures). In 1875, the tour ended in Rio de Janeiro with an appearance before Emperor Dom Pedro II.
In 1878, Kellar returned to England and invested $12,000 into purchasing new equipment, including a version Maskelyne's whist-playing automaton "Psycho".
After another world tour in 1882, Kellar was performing again in Melbourne, Australia and met a fan, Eva Lydia Medley, who came backstage to get his autograph. Kellar promised to send postcards and letters from his travels. They exchanged letters for the next five years.
Kellar started his version of Egyptian Hall in December 1884, after renting out an old Masonic temple on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 264 performances, Kellar closed the theater on June 24, 1885. Shortly after Kellar left, the theater burned down.
While Kellar was performing in America, Medley arrived a few weeks before his appearance in Erie, Pennsylvania. She played the cornet in the show and started to learn about the magic business. Kellar and Medley were married on November 1, 1887 at a church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She played an important role in Kellar's shows in the coming years – not only did she play a part in many of his upcoming illusions, but she also provided music for the shows.
Kellar returned to Philadelphia in October 1891 and opened his second Egyptian Hall at Concert Hall, located also on Chestnut Street. On April 30, 1892, Kellar ended a successful seven-month run at his second Egyptian Hall. Kellar then returned to the road.
During the periods Kellar was abroad, another magician, Alexander Herrmann, had become famous and Kellar found himself with a rival on his return to the United States. Herrmann often criticized Kellar's lack of sleight of hand and claimed he preferred to use mechanical tricks instead. While he lacked sleight of hand, Kellar was so good in using misdirection, that he said a "...brass band playing at full blast can march openly across the stage behind me, followed by a herd of elephants, yet no one will realize that they went by." Herrmann died on December 17, 1896.
Kellar retired in 1908, and allowed Howard Thurston to be his successor. Kellar had met Thurston, who was doing card tricks, while on vacation in Paris, France. Kellar did his final show at Ford's Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. Kellar eventually moved to his house in Los Angeles, California. Kellar's wife died two years later.
Kellar was often visited by other magicians, notably including Harry Houdini. On November 11, 1917, Houdini put together a show for the Society of American Magicians to benefit the families of those who died in the sinking of the USS Antilles by a German U-boat (who have been considered the first American casualties of World War I). Houdini got Kellar to come out of retirement to perform one more show.
Kellar lived in retirement, until he died on March 3, 1922 from a pulmonary hemorrhage brought on by influenza. He was interred in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Harry met his future wife, Eva Lydia Medley, when she came backstage to request an autograph.
Currently, Harry Kellar is 172 years, 11 months and 17 days old. Harry Kellar will celebrate 173rd birthday on a Monday 11th of July 2022. Below we countdown to Harry Kellar upcoming birthday.