A few thoughts on my old friend Ron Wilson…….

This is the written tribute that I wrote about Ron Wilson for the recent tribute that was held in his honor at the Magic Castle.

It is with great sadness that I have witnessed the passing of Ron Wilson. He was gracious, helpful and a true gentleman in his actions from I first met him until the last time I spent time with him shortly before his death.

I tried to make a short video of expressing how I feel about Ron and his huge affect on me both as a sharing performer and a giving friend, however nothing seemed quite suitable or right. I can’t be there in person to express my feelings I decided instead to write a simple note saying how I feel.

I first met Ron when I was 21 years old and just starting to find my way around the Castle. I am half Scottish myself and found this as good a reason as any to introduce myself to him one evening. Ron was kind enough to forget the other half of me was English!

I had been performing on cruise ships for several years and it made a nice talking point with Ron, who was one of the top cruise ship magicians in America. He was warm and friendly and treated me like an equal and I really appreciated it. Our friendship continued over the years and my major regret about visiting the Castle so seldom in recent years is that I missed meeting with Ron.

Unlike many performers, Ron chose to retire from performing when he felt his performances were not quite up to his highly exacting standards. Ron was the ultimate perfectionist and while many of us would have tried to argue with his decision to quit performing and it was highly characteristic of this unique and special being to make it. The loss was to the magic world.

Attention to every detail was what made Ron’s act so special. Once I commented to him what an amazing match his gimmick was to the genuine egg in his sucker silk routine. He explained why. Every week he would buy two-dozen eggs and spray paint both the eggs and gimmick to be sure they were identical. When Ron wanted a gimmicked wallet that actually fitted in the pocket he went out and hired an industrial sewing machine, learned how to use it and made his own wallet. Now that is a perfectionist!

Ron’s dedication and love of magic continued on in many other ways after he decided to end the performing aspect of his career. Ron was always there for his beloved Magic Castle—sometimes “Tutt tutting” gently over what he considered a mis-step in it’s direction, but always willing to give the benefits of his wisdom, time and energy to preserve its purity.

As an agent specializing in booking magicians, Ron was also a beacon of integrity and quality. His clients at the cruise lines would not run the risk of loosing such a person from their day-to-day bookings and he continued as a highly regarded agent until the time of his death. The qualities that Ron brought to everything he touched were very special and make him impossible to replace.

What else can I say about the Uncanny One? He was modest, gentle, funny and helpful in his interactions with everyone he came into contact with. Ron had many celebrity friends as a result of his role in the magic world, he also had dealings with the less than famous and his actions and behavior were never altered or affected by the success of those he was rubbing shoulders with. I loved that quality in Ron. I am sad not to be at the Castle in person today and able to be part of the three-man team Ron had ‘Wish Listed’ to host this tribute. I will however, be drinking a glass of J & B (with a dash of milk) toasting him silently and remembering this outstanding magician, friend and gentleman. In keeping with his wishes I will not let my spirits sink, instead I will reflect on how lucky I was to have been his friend. He was the very best.


~ by Nick Lewin on April 11, 2011.

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