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Jono Blythe's Hocus Focus: Magician David Nixon

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Welcome to 'Hocus Focus' where I talk about some of the most talented magicians in history. Today, I'm putting the spotlight on the amazing David Nixon - a British magician and television personality who captured the hearts of audiences with his incredible magic tricks and charming personality.

David Nixon was a celebrated magician and television personality who hailed from Muswell Hill, London, born in 1919. As a young boy, he attended Westcliff High School for Boys in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, where he watched the shows of performers such as Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant. One of his major influences was Stanley Collins, whose debonair demeanour left a lasting impression on him.

David's fascination with magic began when he received an Ernest Sewell Magic Box as a Christmas present from his aunt. He quickly became a skilled magician, eventually becoming a member of The Magic Circle in 1938. In addition, he was also a talented double bass player, and he played with a local band.

During World War II, David joined ENSA, an organisation that provided entertainment for British troops. He was unable to serve on the front line due to a bout of pneumonia he had as a teenager, but he used his talents to boost morale among the troops. He later joined the Fol de Rols, a touring variety troupe based in Scarborough, where he acted as a compere and performed his conjuring act.

In 1954, David was invited to be a panelist on the British version of the television quiz show "What's My Line?". He appeared in 150 episodes between 1954 and 1963, establishing himself as a popular and well-liked personality on British television. David went on to present several series, including the British version of Candid Camera, Comedy Bandbox, and Basil Brush's first partner. He was also in high demand for private society parties, and he frequently performed at the soirées of Mayfair hostess Dorothy Hartman.

David's magic shows were exceptionally well-received, including Trix n Nixon, Tonight with David Nixon, David Nixon's Magic Box, and The David Nixon Show. He also hosted David Nixon's Christmas Magic, which featured a classic magic trick where Lynsey de Paul appeared to disappear from a glass casket while leaving behind her dress, to which Nixon would hold up and respond - 'Still warm!'

David was known for his engaging and entertaining performances, often involving audience members in his tricks, and always exuded a warm and friendly persona. In addition to his magic performances, David was also in demand as a compere and narrator, thanks in no small part to his rich and mellifluous speaking voice. He appeared in pantomimes, where he was a favourite as 'Buttons' in Cinderella, and he was also a narrator in the show Emil and the Detectives at the Mermaid Theatre, London.

Despite his success, David Nixon remained humble and down-to-earth, always generous with his time and happy to connect with fans both on and off the stage. He was truly passionate about sharing his love for magic with others, and he inspired countless people to love and appreciate the art of illusion.

Sadly, he passed away in 1978 at the age of 58 after a battle with lung cancer. He is survived by his wife Vivienne Nichols, daughter Mandy, and son Nicholas from his second marriage, as well as his daughter from his first marriage. David had married Margaret Burton in 1947, but they divorced in 1952. Later that same year, he married his second wife, Paula Marshall, who worked with him in his act, but she died in a car crash in 1956, the year after the birth of their son Nicholas.

David Nixon's talent and legacy as a magician and entertainer continue to inspire many today. He was a true master of his craft, and his warm and kind personality made him beloved by audiences worldwide. If you're looking to add some excitement and wonder to your next event, why not consider hiring a magician like David Nixon?

As a professional magician myself, I'm always happy to share my love of magic with others and to bring some amazement to any occasion. Whether you're planning a corporate event, a birthday party, or a wedding, I can create a customised performance that will leave your guests speechless. So don't hesitate to get in touch with me through my website or social media channels. Let's make some magic happen together!

David Nixon performing the classic magic trick where Lynsey de Paul appears to disappear from a glass casket, leaving behind a still warm dress.
'Still warm!'

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