Cape Town – Internationally renowned magician David Berglas has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours List for services to magic and psychology.
A magician, mentalist and long-time supporter of the College of Magic, this is the first time the honour has been presented to anyone for their contribution to the art of magic.
The 92-year-old Berglas’s career began in the 1950s, a household name with his regular performances on radio, conducting “Nationwide Psychological Experiments” involving millions of listeners.
His version of the Any Card at Any Number routine became known as the “Berglas Effect”, with magicians young and old considering it the holy grail of card magic.
Of the honour, Berglas said: “I am delighted to accept this honour but even more pleased that the art of magic has at last been recognised. I have spent over 60 years entertaining people in person, on radio and television - ‘reading their minds’ - but I certainly didn’t see this one coming.”
Berglas is scheduled to receive his MBE within a couple of months.
Renowned mentalist Derren Brown, on hearing of the award said: “This honour recognises one of our greatest living magical performers. Generations of magicians owe him a debt of gratitude.
“Each of my shows is indebted to his artistry and astonishing body of work. I thank him for his constant inspiration.”
Berglas served as president of The Magic Circle, the world’s premier magic society, from 1989-1998 and helped revitalise the society.
During his tenure, The Magic Circle admitted women as members, established the Young Magician’s Club and acquired and refurbished the old warehouse in Euston that became their first permanent HQ.
He has helped raise huge amounts for charity and was voted “King Rat” of the Grand Order of Water Rats, the leading showbusiness charity.
Cape Town’s only magical arts organisation, the College of Magic, a non-profit organisation and the only of its kind in the world, is thrilled for Berglas: “David’s generous philanthropic support has seen the creation of many training facilities benefiting the thousands of students and tens of thousands of school learners who have attended the College of Magic educational programmes over the past 39 years.
“His inspiration, encouragement and recognition have played a pivotal role in building our organisation internationally and from within, strengthening our important transformative role among the youth of South Africa,” said College of Magic director David Gore.
For more information about the College of Magic, visit www.collegeofmagic.com or call 021 683 5480.