between the fingers that no one else mastered, his consistency as a gentleman who never was known to voice unkind words about
anyone in or out of magic —- these were
among Bill Baird’s attributes that endeared him to everyone.
He was a man’s man to his friends and also beloved by their womenfolk to whom he always showed respect under all circumstances. Bill’s background has been told and retold, but perhaps a bit about his life is in order here.
He was born at St. Louis, Missouri, March 5, 1914. His mother was a pianist who played in bands around St. Louis and his father had played the violin and viola in the St. Louis Symphony. Also, his father worked for many years for the Missouri Pacific railroad prior to his retirement. His mother, Eva Taylor, who he adored, is 86 years old and lives in an apartment across the street from where Bill and his wife, Lucille, resided. Bill and Lucille were married in 1961.
Bill was an only child. He got into magic at an early age and retired from the profession in the mid 50’s, feeling at the time that he wanted to get into something a bit steadier during the remainder of his working years. Also, he had tired of constant travel all over the country and overseas. He was offered a good job as manufacturer’s representative for a Chicago firm which dealt in automotive accessories. He was highly successful in this endeavor, then in the late 60’s went into business for himself under his own name. He was a manufacturer’s representative for a number of companies. In this venture, too, he did well — until illness brought about his retirement.
As per Bill’s wishes, one set of the over size billiard balls he used in his act will be in David Price’s Egyptian Hall Museum, complete with a set of his professional photos and brochures. He had a supply of playing cards, he also manipulated to perfection, and these will be distributed as per wishes as expressed to his wife.
The Robert Lund Magic Museum at Marshall, Michigan, will have jurisdiction over a handsome trophy Bill established and which will be awarded annually to an outstanding billiard ball manipulator, but kept on display at the museum during the year for safekeeping.