We only just got the memo that mentalist, magician, and author Max Maven (Philip Goldstein, 1950-2022) has passed into the great beyond. Appropriately we heard it through the IG feed of Jamie Ian Swiss, who passed on the illusionist’s last words:
It was a brain tumor that took him, ironic given how widely Max Maven was admired for his brain, and even more for what he seemed to be able to use it for. He was originally from Ithaca, New York, home of Cornell, and as with most men in his line, his seeming pseudo-science was really careful science. He worked comedy clubs in the 80s. One of his first tv spots was on a bill of New Vaudevillians hosted by Ed Begley Jr on the Disney Channel. Maven’s Goth look, the slick vampire hair, the satanic goatee and make-up (see photo above) speaks to his level of showmanship. He had a tremendous voice and diction. His manner reminded me of Vincent Price. So on top of his level of skill, was this persona: very old school vaudeville. It got him guest shots on shows like Mork and Mindy and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But mostly he did lots and lots of TV magic specials from the late ’80s down to the present day. In 1993 he starred in his own show on Fox, Count deClues Mystery Castle (he was Count deClues). In addition to his own shows and performances he served as a consultant to David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Siegfried & Roy, and Doug Henning, penned articles for magazines like Genii, published books and instructional videos. In 2009 he was on Top Chef Masters (episode entitled “Magic Chefs”)!
A good way to honor his passing might be to watch the 2007 documentary about him Max Maven: A Fabulous Monster, now available on Amazon Prime. Or watch his many clips on Youtube. Or, dare I suggest…the Spirit Board? Max Maven passed away on November 1, All Saint’s Day, when the world is still roiling in the echoes of Hallowe’en’s vibrations. May they hold him aloft in his journey into the Aether!
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