By Andi Gladwin - Sunday, April 14, 2019
Our friend and colleague Anthony Owen sadly passed away suddenly this week. It has shocked the magic community: Anthony was an ever-present, prolific, and kind magician and TV producer, and all of us at Vanishing Inc. team had the great pleasure of working with him at our conventions, and on other projects.
I first met Anthony when I was fourteen years old. He was one of the key players of The Young Magicians Club, of which I was a member. He was extremely supportive to me at that time and, in the days before emails, he would write me letters of support and encouragement. He was a successful magician in his mid-twenties who had already published a successful journal, travelled the world (on an innovative scholarship style programme that he had arranged for himself), started a company called Dynamic FX, and had just started to produce television shows. I was just a kid, beginning my interest in magic — yet he still took the time to help and encourage me, when I'm sure he had much more important things on his plate.
That mentorship turned into a friendship. When I moved to London in about 2007, we reconnected and formed a friendship and would meet on occasion for lunch or dinner. He told me that he had always wanted to compile his material into a book but that he couldn't find the time to finish it, and we joked that one day, I'd find a way to convince him to complete the project.
After I moved away from London, I worked on a couple of television shows with him behind the scenes — one time, he called me into his office for a day of consultancy and when I got there he told me that his plan for the day was to just hang out and talk magic. That's exactly what we did. It's what we always did; right up to the last dinner we had together a few months ago.
Little did I know that the joke of publishing his book would become a reality. After we formed Vanishing Inc., Josh and I talked to Anthony about getting the book finished. It took a while, but we got there, and I know he was extremely proud of the end result. The cover artwork by Michal Kociolek portrayed him just as I'll always remember him: casually sat back on a director's chair, learning about a magic trick (or, just as often, casually leant back on a chair in a meeting room, or peering down at a monitor on a shoot). The name Anthony Owen: Secrets was an idea that I came up with as a hidden reminder of the first time I saw his work: on Paul Daniel's Secrets show.
As I ponder the loss that we are all experiencing, I realise one important thing: Anthony's legacy will be that he opened many doors. He gave many of my friends their start in television (both behind the scenes and on screen) and he helped many other friends progress their magic. So while we have lost a great friend, the doors that he has opened for me, and so many others will never be forgotten.
We want to help Anthony continue to open doors. Therefore, Vanishing Inc.'s profit from his book Anthony Owen: Secrets will go towards a youth scholarship. We'll use it to try to open doors for young magicians in his name. Just as he supported me, we'll do our very best to support young magicians around the world.
We'll miss you Anthony. Thanks for opening so many doors, and here's to continuing to do so in the coming years.
Photos by Sean East, taken from Anthony's lecture at The Session 2018. Photo of Anthony on our blog homepage by Steve Best.
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