Milt Larsen who who as co-founder of the Magic Castle transformed a falling-down Hollywood mansion into an iconic private club that attracted top magicians and their fans from around the world, passed on at age 92 on Sunday.
The magician and TV writer who wrote for the game show Truth or Consequences for nearly two decades died in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 28, of natural causes.
Larsen passed away in his sleep in an apartment a short walk from the Franklin Avenue landmark, according to his niece, Erika. The cause of death was not known.
Chuck Martinez, chair of the board of directors for the Castle’s Academy of Magical Arts said; ‘It is with heavy hearts that the Academy of Magical Arts shares the sad news that Magic Castle founder Milt Larsen has passed away.
‘For decades, he brought magic to so many lives and his legacy will continue to do so. We will miss him tremendously.’
Larsen had deep roots in the world of magic and in Los Angeles. His father, William Larsen Sr., was a prominent local defense attorney and a performing magician.
His mother, Geraldine, made early appearances on TV as ‘The Magic Lady.’
Milt Larsen worked as a writer for TV game shows including ‘Truth or Consequences’ during 18 years of Bob Barker’s tenure as host in the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s.
Larsen teamed with his older brother, William Larsen Jr., and William’s wife, Irene, in the early 1960s to transform a Gothic renaissance mansion on Franklin Avenue in the heart of Hollywood into a clubhouse designed to cater to working magicians.
The trio created the Academy of Magical Arts, but the venue became known as the Magic Castle.
The club opened its doors in 1963 and has become a world-renowed destination, despite its ups and downs over the past 60 years.
The Larsen family leased the property from owned Thomas Glover until last year, when the site was acquired by videogame magnate Randy Pitchford, founder of Gearbox Entertainment, but Larsen continued to be a frequent and beloved presence at the clubhouse.
After an awards show Thursday marking the 60th anniversary of the club, he stayed at the bar ‘until the wee hours,’ his niece said.
Milt Larsen’s survivors include his wife, Arlene Larsen; nephew Dante Larsen, niece Erika Larsen, and great-nieces Jessica Hopkins and Liberty Larsen.