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Michael Ammar is one of America's best-known close-up magicians, and is famous within the worldwide magical community.
Born in Charlestown, WV. Raised in the tiny, coal-mining community of Logan, WV. He is the youngest of four children to A.S. "Buddy" Ammar and Betty Ammar.
Michael was first introduced to magic when he saw an ad on the back of a comic book, "250 Tricks for 25 cents." He sent in his quarter, and received a mail order catalog. Living in a state that didn't have a single magic shop, Michael ordered some tricks via the catalog and began a journey into magic. Not long after, he met fellow West Virginian, Bill Smith, who helped mentor Michael's early love of magic.
Michael developed an act - incorporating doves, linking rings and other classic stand-up magic. Donning a powdered-blue tux and ruffled shirt, he performed at local shows in his area. In 1976 and 1977, he was named Magician of the Year by the Mountain State Mystics. Soon after, Michael was asked to perform his stage act at the MagiFest in Columbus, OH. After a disastrous performance, young Michael gave his doves and all magic away to the stage manager. But all was not lost, he found was still in love with magic, and decided not to quit completely but turn his focus to sleight-of-hand magic.
While attending West Virginia University, Michael continued to hone and practice his magic (even during class). As a student, Michael would frequently perform at the college campus hang-out, "The Blue Tick Tavern." To his parents relief, he graduated with a degree in Business in 1978. Michael's father owned a chain of Bonanza Steak Houses - and he had hoped Michael would continue running the family business after college. Michael begged his parents to allow him a few years to prove he could make it in magic - and he got busy.
In 1977 and 1978, he captured first place awards at the Southern Coast Sleight-of-Hand Competition. Also in 1978, Michael won first place in the Sleight-of-Hand competition from the Society of American Magicians.
In 1980, Michael was invited to perform at the prestigious Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA - a performance from which he was nominated as Visiting Magician of the Year. The same year, he was nominated for Lecturer of the Year. In 1981, he won the Castle's award for Close-Up Magician of the Year. Word was getting out; Michael Ammar was a superstar on the rise.
In 1982, Michael won the Master of Magic award from the Magic Townhouse in New York. Later that same year, he pulled off the ultimate magical achievement: competing against magicians from 22 countries, he became the second American in the 45-year history of the event to win the Gold Medal at the World Sleight-of-Hand Championship at the 15th World Congress of Magic (FISM) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
In 1983, Michael again made history, becoming the youngest person to ever win the Magic Castle's Lecturer of the Year award. in 1984, he became the first magician to ever win in two separate categories: Lecturer of the Year and Close-Up Magician of the Year. Also, in 1985, the Castle named him Best Parlour Magician of the Year.
Michael moved from West Virginia to Los Angeles in 1983, allowing him to be closer to his friend and mentor, Dai Vernon ("The Professor"). It was in 1984, at a birthday party for Dai Vernon, that Michael first met his future bride, Hannah Tucker - the daughter of magician, Frances Willard.
Around this time, Michael came to the attention of Johnny Carson - a magic enthusiast. Johnny invited Michael to perform on The Tonight Show twice: 1983 and 1984.
Merv Griffin invited Michael to perform on The Merv Griffin Show ten times, and Michael's television credits span the globe, from Russia to Korea, Japan to Great Britian. Michael has been featured on the International Magic Awards, The Worlds Greatest Living Magicians, CNN Headline News, and the Worlds Greatest Magic Tricks Ever. On the latter special, Michael's effect: The Cups and Balls, ranked above Houdini.
One of the most important aspects of Michael's career has been his influence as a teacher of magic. He has probably taught more magic to more magicians than anyone worldwide.
Michael Ammar Award Summary:
Distinguished Alumni Award from West Virginia University 2003
Magician of the Year, Tannens, NY 2000
Best Close Up Magic, World Magic Awards, 2000
Gold Medalist, World Sleight-of-Hand Competition, FISM, 1982
Best Sleight-of-Hand, International Magic Awards, 1991
Best Sleight-of-Hand, International Magic Awards, 1992
Best Parlor Magician, Academy of Magical Arts, 1990
Best Parlor Magician, Academy of Magical Arts, 1985
Best Close-Up Magician, Academy of Magical Arts, 1983
Best Lecturer, Academy of Magical Arts, 1983
Best Close-Up Magician, Academy of Magical Arts, 1981
List of magicians
Michael Ammar's Official Site
WVU alumni profile
Documentary about Ammar on lecture tour
^ (October 28, 2007)"Get cool with magic". New Straits Times. October 28, 2007. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-145423384.html.
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