(Abington, Massachusetts: August 29th, 1919 – May 10th, 2005)
James Ward Marshall was raised in Melrose, Massachusetts. Inspired in 1926 seeing Houdini and Thurston shows. Learned in 1934 from Neil's The Modern Conjurer and a used Tarbell Course (for which he traded his bicycle). Pro general magic and vent since 1939, sometimes as "The Great Jasper". Invented Jaspernese Thumb-Tie in 1939. Pet effects: Linking Rings, T&R Newspaper, rope routines, Troublewit, etc. Also a Punch-and-Judy puppeteer. Played 49 states, Australia, and Europe. Married Al Baker's daughter Naomi in 1940 (divorced 1953). Played the USO (WW II), New York Palace in 1952, 1954, and 1957; the London Palladium and the Savoy cabaret for 2 weeks each in 1955; Radio City Music Hall (repeatedly); the Ed Sullivan Show (14 times since 1954, the record). Catch-phrase: "I am one of the better, cheaper acts."
Created his famous glove-puppet "Lefty" c1944. In 1948-49 played the magician in the Lerner-Weill Broadway musical comedy Love Life.
In 1954 married Laurie Ireland's widow, Frances, in New York City at a ceremony officiated by amateur magician Judge George Starke. Co-owner (with Frances) and President of the Ireland Magic Company (now Magic, Inc.) in Chicago, a major retail and publishing house.
1958 Magic Circle Silver Wand. 1982 AMA Masters Fellowship. SAM Hall of Fame. Later "partially retired". A major collector of books on magic and puppetry. 1991 Magic Circle's Carlton Award for Comedy. 1999 Christopher Lifetime Achievement Award. SAM Dean of Magicians since 1992.
Edited New Phoenix 1954-58. Edited TV, Magic and You (1955, 124pp, with F. Marshall), How to Perform Instant Magic (1980), and The Success Book (1973, with F. Marshall). Wrote Jaspernese Thumb-Tie (1939; 2nd ed rev 1944). Articles in Midget Magician, Magic Cauldron. Many TV bits including 14 times on Ed Sullivan Show since 1954. Video (1984).
Coauthors: Frances Marshall