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Tributes to Anthony Owen after Bafta-winning magician’s sudden death

Profits from Hampstead writer's book will fund magic scholarship

18 April, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Anthony Owen was a mentor to young magicians [Photo: Andi Gladwin]

THE world of magic was this week mourning the sudden death of a popular Hampstead writer and magician who had worked with some of the industry’s biggest names. Dynamo led tributes to Bafta Award-winning Anthony Owen, a 46-year-old father-of-three who died on Friday.

“Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of a true pioneer in magic and television,” tweeted Dynamo, the Magician Impossible star who also lives in Hampstead. “This is a sad day, his work inspired magicians all over the world including myself, he will be missed greatly. Sending love to his family at this time.”

A magic scholarship, aimed at getting young people in the UK into the industry, will be launched by his publisher in the wake of his death. The profits from his most recent book Anthony Owen: Secrets – his “life’s work” – will go towards its funding.

Andi Gladwin, co-founder of Vanishing Inc, was 14 when he first met Mr Owen, who was about a decade older than him, in the Young Magicians Club.

“He did such good things for us when we were kids,” said Mr Gladwin. “He was like a mentor to me, in magic everybody around us are like mentors but he was somebody I greatly admired and learnt a lot from. Later on in life I was very proud to call him a friend. We are in a position to give that support back.”

Remembering his friend, 35-year-old Mr Gladwin said: “He was somebody who left magic in a much better place than he found it in.”

Mr Owen has appeared in and was executive producer of children’s BBC programme Help! My Supply Teacher Is Magic, which has scenes shot at Fitzjohn’s Primary School, close to where he lived.  His friend, headteacher Rob Earrey, also performs in magic shows, and had been due to appear at school fundraiser this summer.

Comedian and magician John Archer starred in the programme produced by Mr Owen.

He said: “He was known by everybody in this business. He was lovely, and very encouraging. He always used to laugh at jokes, even if they were not very funny but to work with him was really good. He brought out the best in people.”

More widely, Mr Owen was known as an engaging performer who had devised material for other acts too, including Paul Daniels, David Copperfield and Geoffrey Durham.

He served as a consultant on several big-name shows, including some featuring the mentalist Derren Brown, and this year had been a judge on a young magicians’ competition. He served on the Magic Circle council, edited The Magic Circular magazine and volunteered for the Young Magicians Club.

Scott Penrose, president of the Magic Circle, said: “Anthony was respected throughout the magic and entertainment community for the creativity and support he offered so many. He will be missed by many, and our thoughts are with his children at this difficult time.”

In a message posted online, his company Fab Media said Mr Owen was a “creator of magic and friend and inspiration to magicians everywhere”. It added: “He was a great director and producer, multiple Bafta winner but also the kindest and most generous of men. He was a devoted father and our thoughts are with his family at this incredibly sad time.”

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