Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Michael Stroud's memorial

Michael Stroud
April 29, 1967-March 5, 2024
Palo Alto/Santa Clara, California

Michael Stroud, aka Majinga the Magician (as well as World Famous Magic Mike, Quazar, and Lian Qi Bian) was a 12-time award-winning magician, consultant, inventor, author and lecturer in the art of magic. He accomplished more in 56 years than most of us will in a lifetime. A rarity in this world, he knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up and magician was the only profession he ever knew. He performed his first paid gig for a small library in Iowa at 11 years old when the librarian noticed that he had checked out every magic book in the library in his thirst to learn magic. As a teenager, he moved to Palo Alto to live with his grandmother and she fostered his love of magic. After graduating from Palo Alto High School, he started college, but quickly realized he knew exactly what he wanted to do and quit to pursue his career. Within 5 years he became the most famous and loved magician in Palo Alto.

In his teenage years, he was mentored by Wayne Raeke and borrowed $300 from his grandmother to purchase a sound system so he could do larger shows and this started a lifetime of investing in his art. He collected and performed 1,000’s of effects, 100’s of cabaret-sized magic and over 15 grand illusions. He celebrated 45 years in magic in 2023. He received International Brotherhood of Magicians' Order of Merlin for 25 consecutive membership years, was the youngest president of his chapter of the Society of American Magicians (SAM 94), and was a repeat guest artist for the Oakland Magic Circle. As an author, his best-selling "Book of Magic" through Klutz Press (1990) has sold over 2 million copies and inspired many young magicians to professional careers of their own. He has been published multiple times and has contributed to 9 titles with Klutz Press.

A consummate professional, he was just as comfortable at a private party as he was on stage. His performances ranged from strolling close-up sleight-of-hand to grand stage illusions with a live band and cast of circus performers. A creative genius, he invented and built many of his own effects and illusions. Along with musician and singer, Fontain Riddle, he created The Magique Bazaar - the longest-running illusion show in the West (celebrating 25 years in 2023). He created music and story line for Magic Mike’s Funhouse, an audio adventure through an imaginary amusement park, that was also the soundtrack of a full-length stage show of the same name. He studied 4 years to become the first caucasian to master the ancient Chinese art of mask changing (Bian Lian), creating new techniques and seamlessly combining magical elements for a performance that even pillars of the Chinese community admired. Not to be stopped by a world-wide pandemic, he created Magic Vision, an evening-length Zoom show (which can be seen on YouTube @MichaelStroudMagic). Together with Magic Genii and a handful of talented friends, he turned his house into a recording studio and created the most interesting magic product of its time.

Always striving to improve his performances, he learned juggling, ventriloquism, improvisation, psychology, sewing, woodworking, video editing, business/marketing skills, and played over a dozen different instruments, including the Australian didgeridoo which he mastered circular breathing for. Undaunted by critics who said he must only do magic or he wouldn’t be taken seriously, he built a successful business where he was able to stop advertising all together and stayed busy through strong relationships with the entertainment community and his long standing clients, some of which he performed for for over 20 years. In the end when his physical abilities declined due to ALS, he was still better than most magicians in the area and was the most popular magician among agents.

He has appeared on radio and television across the US, Japan, Europe, and India. Most notably, Romper Room, KOFY TV20 Cartoon Classics, Magic Mike’s Funhouse television pilot on CTV30 TriValley, America’s Got Talent, SF Oddities, KQED Sparks, and a Bill Moyers PBS Special. He performed as headline entertainment in 12 different countries as well as Las Vegas and the Magic Castle.

More than an amazing performer, he was a kind and generous friend. Loving to all animals and compassionate to everyone he met. He was the most wonderful and caring person and will be missed by many. With his skill and knowledge of magic, his absence will be felt for many years in this magic community.

In his honor, his long-time assistant Magic Genii along with a handful of professional magicians in the area will perform a biopic theatrical production, highlighting his life and career. Pure Imagination: The Magic and Beauty of Michael Stroud will be held following a memorial open to the public on Friday, June 28 in San Jose, CA. Tickets and details on Condolences may be mailed to Magic Genii, PO Box 214, Santa Clara, CA 95052.

Tags: arts/media

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Memorial service Memorial Friday, June 28 at 3pm (performance of his life and career at 8p)
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