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Marvyn Roy, a magician and illusionist known as “Mr. Electric,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles of a cerebral hemorrhage, his publicist announced. He was 95.
Roy and his late wife, Carol, found fame over five decades with a magic act based around light bulbs that became known as Artistry in Light. They opened for the likes of Liberace and Dean Martin and once toured Russia with Ed Sullivan, appearing on his CBS program four times in one year.
They also performed on The Merv Griffin Show, The Hollywood Palace and The Tonight Show and played such showrooms as the Lido de Paris, The London Palladium and Radio City Music Hall as well as Las Vegas venues including the Stardust, the MGM Grand and the Desert Inn.
On stage, Roy somehow could get unplugged bulbs to illuminate at will, and for the act’s finale, dozens of tiny, lighted bulbs on a string many, many feet long would be pulled from his mouth. His wife was his assistant, and she pulled the string.
Marvin Levy was born in Los Angeles on April 1, 1925. Mentored by magician Ray Muse, he was named best magician under the age of 21 at a Pacific Coast Association of Magicians convention in San Francisco.
While in the U.S. Army, Roy was among the second wave of soldiers that landed on Normandy in 1944. After he was wounded and received the Purple Heart, he was attached to Special Services and performed in a variety show that entertained the troops.
Following the service, he studied theater at UCLA and began in earnest to develop the act that would propel him to stardom.
At The Conrad hotel in Chicago, he met Carol Williams, an ice skater and rope spinner, and they were married in 1956. They retired in 1997 to La Quinta, where she died in 2009.
He published his memoir, Mr. Electric Unplugged, in 2005.
Survivors include Dale Hindman, an extended family member and the executor of the estate; daughters Tiffany and Michele and their husbands; stepson Larry; granddaughters Mallory and Lindsey and their husbands; and great-granddaughter Blake.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the North Hollywood-based Dai Vernon Foundation, which supports magicians in need.
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