Johnny Thompson, 84, known as the magician’s magician, died of complications of respiratory failure in Las Vegas March 9.
Thompson had a resume that ran from Jerry Murad’s Harminicats to cruise ships to TV audiences where he was known as the Great Tomsoni. HIs act was full of deadpan humor but he was well known for his understanding of the magic science.
“If you were putting together an important magic show,” Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller said in a telephone interview to the New York Times, “you would bring Johnny in. You would tell him what you wanted to do, and you would tell him your methods, and he’d have three others.
“Johnny was not just there to help, but to understand what they were trying to do,” Mr. Jillette said. “He wouldn’t try to push them into the mold of a magician who was working in the ’70s; he would push them into the mold of someone who’s working today.”