Born On This Day ~ April 2 ~ William Robinson (Chung Ling Soo)


Born: April 2, 1861 (New York, New York)
Died: March 24, 1918 (London, United Kingdom)

Famous For/Known For:

A Little About Chung Ling Soo:
Born William

Ellsworth Robinson to James Campbell and Sarah Robinson.

Robinson’s father worked in minstrel shows performing impersonations, hypnotism, ventriloquism and magic tricks which he taught to his son.

Robinson started out performing magic shows at the age of 14 but soon was working the vaudeville circuit performing as Robinson, the Man of Mystery.

In 1887 Robinson began using black art illusions in his shows and went by the name Achmed Ben All.

When the famous Chinese magician, Ching Ling Soo offered $1,000 to anyone who could successfully duplicate his illusions, Robinson accepted the challenge. Soo turned him down due to Robinson losing a previous challenge.

In 1900 Robinson created a new stage act as a Chinese magician. He dressed and acted as if he were Chinese and took the state name, Chung Ling Soo.

His rival, Ching Ling Soo, was livid at the name and tried to make Robinson out as an impersonator but the press wasn’t interested in the story.

One illusion that Robinson performed was called, Condemned to Death by the Boxers.  A gun would be fired at Robinson and he would seem to catch the bullets from the air or pretend he was hit and then spit the bullet out.

On March 23, 1918 while performing at Wood Green Empire in London the gun malfunctioned and a live bullet hit his lung.

William Robinson died due to a magic trick gone bad at the age of 56.

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WILLIAM ROBINSON (1861 – 1918) Magician


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