Derren Brown pays tribute to late magic mentor

The illusionist posted some fond memories of Eugene Burger on his website.

Derren Brown has paid tribute to Eugene Burger, the magician who inspired him to pursue his career, who has died aged 78.

In a post on his website, Brown wrote that US magician Burger had had cancer which he had refused chemotherapy for, and that he had suffered from pneumonia shortly before passing away.

Brown wrote: “He inspired a generation of close-up magicians – including me, very directly – and will continue to do so.

Derren Brown
Derren Brown wrote about the influence Eugene Burger had had on his career (Ian West/PA)

“When I first met him as a novice, he taught me a great lesson in how to make magic feel special.

“We later became friends, and though I lived too far away to count myself amongst his close companions, we would see each other when we could and had a lot of love for each other.”

Illusionist Brown added that Burger had been unaffected by the need to become famous, despite his career in performing.

He wrote: “If you know his work but never met him, he was exactly as you’d want him to be, and then some.

“I found this almost too good to be true: I wanted to understand how the love for magic could continue to run so deep in this brilliant, philosophical man, without a hint of the weary cynicism of which we are all guilty.

“How it was to find his only family in the magic community.

Derren Brown
Brown paid tribute to the master of close-up magic (Ian West/PA)

“But throughout, there was only the warmth and ease of a man very at home with himself and his world.

“I never felt even a hint of the bitterness one might expect from a magic legend who remained more or less unknown to the public at large.

“There was no suggestion of jadedness, or pretension, or the bewildering egomania that pervades our craft.”

Sharing his fond memories of the magician renowned for his close-up skills, he wrote: “When we die, we leave behind an afterglow in the hearts and minds of those who loved us.

“Eugene’s afterglow will be felt for a very long time.”

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