In Memory of Neil Foster



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Neil Foster's obituary, published March 13, 1988, in the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer

Services are pending at Schipper Funeral Home in Colon for E. Neil Foster, 67, of 6471 B Drive N., Battle Creek, formerly of Colon and one of the most honored members of the magicians' fraternity.

Foster died Friday night in Community Hospital, where he was taken after being stricken at his home in Battle Creek, to which he had recently moved his home and teaching studio.

The former Battle Creek Magic Club was renamed in 1981 in his honor, becoming the International Brotherhood of Magicians Neil Foster Ring 89.

Foster, a native of Aurora, Ill., was inspired to pursue magic as a profession when he saw the late Harry Blackstone Sr. perform in Aurora. Foster began performing magic as a high school senior. In 1947, he enrolled in Chavez College of Manual Dexterity and Prestidigitation in Los Angeles, Calif., eventually becoming the school's star pupil and later an instructor for three years.

He became known in magic circles as one of the most polished, skilled and personable magicians in the business. His manipulative ability became a standard in the profession, and he became known by his trademark illusion, the "Zombie" floating silver sphere.

In 1953, he performed at the Gala Coronation Convivialities in London when Elizabeth II was crowned. At that time, he was made a member of England's Inner Magic Circle.

He and his wife, the former Jeanne E. Hammond, later toured the United States on the school-assembly circuit. In 1959, he was employed briefly by Ireland Magic Co. in Chicago, joining Abbott Magic Co. in Colon later that year as its vice president.

In 1960, he revived "The Tops," a defunct Abbott trade journal, which as "The New Tops" achieved worldwide distribution among magicians under his editorship. He also edited several magic books distributed by Abbott, and invented many effects marketed by the firm.

Foster also was a frequent performer at the popular annual Magic Get-Togethers in Colon and a judge for its talent contests. Remaining active as a stage performer, he logged performances in 28 countries in Europe and North and South America.

In 1977, the Academy of Magical Arts presented him with a Performing Fellowship Award, honoring his creativity and contributions in teaching magic and in editing the Abbott publications.

In 1978, Foster acquired control of the eastern branch studio of the Chavez school, and in 1979 he retired from the Abbott firm to pursue full-time instruction of magic and showmanship from his home-based studio. His students came from throughout the United States and from as far as India.

His wife died in 1979.

In early 1987, on a visit to China, Foster performed at a gathering of Chinese magicians. In August, he was awarded an International Brotherhood of Magicians presidential citation at a gathering in his honor at the American Museum of Magic in Marshall.'s magic pages

OTHER PHOTOS of Neil Foster

Ovation for Neil Foster (1977)
Neil Foster recalls Queen Elizabeth (1977)
Jeanne Foster's obituary (1979)
Surgery restores Foster's ability (1979)
Background on Neil Foster (1981)
The Chavez course under Neil Foster (1981)
Neil Foster press release (1981)
Magic museum honors Foster (1987)
Recollections of Neil Foster (1988)

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