Jay Marshall (James Ward Marshall)

Jay Marshall

Jay Marshall

his interest in magic started when he was six. As a youngster, he saw performances by Thurston and Houdini. In later years, he admitted to dozing off in the midst of Houdini’s show. After only a year at college, he went on to be a professional entertainer instead, initially working out of Boston. He later moved to New York City where he met Naomi Baker, daughter of Al Baker, then Dean of American Magicians. Naomi married Marshall and they had two sons, James and Alexander (“Sandy”).

During World War II, Marshall was “island hopping” in the Pacific to entertain military personnel in USO shows. He became tired of taking his elaborate ventriloquist’s dummy called Henry with him, so he decided to use a white glove and some bunny ears to turn his left hand into his dummy, “Lefty”. Marshall often described the transition from his use of a traditional vent dummy to the development of his glove puppet rabbit commenting that the “dummy wouldn’t carry the suitcase.” Originally made from a khaki army glove, when Marshall was discharged from the army, he replaced it with a white dress glove. While performing in Las Vegas, at the suggestion of one of Marshall’s friends, the puppet was further transformed into a rabbit by affixing two fingers from a separate glove to it, thus forming a pair of perky ears.[1]

Over his 60-year career he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 14 times together with his glove puppet rabbit dummy, “Lefty”. He also played the New York Palace and London’s Palladium. Marshall was the opening act for performers like Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle and Liberace. He was the first act to open for Sinatra in Las Vegas. In Marshall’s later years, he was honored with the title of “Dean of American Magicians” by the Society of American Magicians

 

 

 

 

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Born

  • August, 08, 1919
  • Abington, Massachusetts

Died

  • May, 10, 2005
  • Chicago, Illinois

Cause of Death

  • Heart Attack

Cemetery

  • Woodlawn Cemetery

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