I heard that my friend Gary Darwin is in the hospital. Everyone in Vegas knows Gary. He has helped very magician that has ever passed through Sin City and his generosity is unsurpassed.
For many years he worked at the Riviera Hotel as a doorman. He has crossed paths with everyone from Sinatra to Siegfried & Roy. During his downtime he practiced his sleight of hand and came up with many of his own moves.
I met Gary in the late '90s when I was working on my first book, The Art of Deception. I had to include him in the book because he is a great artist in addition to being a talented and skillful magician. I will never forget one visit when he was bringing me to my hotel at 5AM. Just as he pulled up to the hotel his Dodge Dart broke down. Gary finally made it back home and I had some more memories of a wonderful visit to Gary's magic museum.
Darwin (Gary Lee Meador), the self-proclaimed “King of the Thumb Tip,” was born on September 19, 1935, in Denver, Colorado, Gary began a life of magic at the age of six when his grandfather vanished a cigarette in a thumb tip. By the time he was fourteen he was performing close-up magic semi-professionally.
Gary moved to Las Vegas in 1954, when the magic capital of the world was still in its infancy. Darwin was quick to realize that the city held many opportunities for a capable magician and was one of the first to ever perform there. During the 1960s he performed at some of Las Vegas’ grandest hotels, including the Stardust, the Desert Inn and the Thunderbird.
Darwin is a man of many talents and interests. Besides being an artist and author, he is an inventor of over 550 effects, performer and teacher of magic. He was an early mentor of the celebrated magicienne Melinda.
Gary's easygoing personality and wonderful sense of humor win him friends and admirers wherever he goes. In 1968 he founded “Darwin’s Magic Club.” This informal organization, where amateur and professional magicians get together to exchange secrets and stories, meets weekly.
Darwin has been an avid collector of magic since the mid-sixties and over the years has amassed a substantial library of over 7,000 books on conjuring and the kindred arts. Gary’s library fills over two rooms of his Las Vegas home. He even has magic in his kitchen sink! Many of these books are autographed by the authors, and comprise one of magicdom’s most unique libraries. Darwin also has a large collection of posters, apparatus, and photos. His collection is unsurpassed. If you don't believe me watch the video clip below featuring Lance Burton.
Get well soon, Gary! You're a one of a kind. I look forward to visiting you again.