Milt Larsen, co-founder of The Magic Castle in Hollywood and writer for Truth or Consequences, died at the age of 92 from natural causes. Larsen produced TV specials for ABC, CBS, and NBC, and co-wrote songs with Richard Sherman for Disney classics. He was the creator and consultant for the $50 million Caesars Magic Empire in Las Vegas. Larsen and his brother founded The Magic Castle in 1963, which became a renowned private club for magicians. He was still the president of the club’s parent company at the time of his death and was voted one of the 100 most influential individuals in the history of magic.
As seen in the coverage by The Hollywood Reporter, Milt Larsen, the co-founder of The Magic Castle in Hollywood and a writer for the game show Truth or Consequences for nearly two decades, passed away on Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 92 due to natural causes.
Larsen was a prolific producer of TV specials for ABC, CBS, and NBC and collaborated with Richard Sherman, the Oscar-winning songwriter who, along with his late brother Robert, composed music for beloved Disney classics like Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Jungle Book. Larsen also created and consulted on the $50 million Caesars Magic Empire at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In 1963, Larsen and his late brother Bill founded The Magic Castle, which quickly became a renowned private club for magicians. The club is housed in a 1909 French Chateau mansion on Franklin Avenue and features multiple stages, labyrinthine corridors, and old-fashioned decor. Larsen wrote five joke books and three books about The Magic Castle, penned a weekly column for club members, and edited a monthly newsletter. At the time of his death, he was still the president of the club’s parent company.
Larsen was voted as one of the 100 most influential individuals in the history of magic by Magic magazine readers in 2000. Six years later, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his annual stage show, It’s Magic!
Larsen was born in Los Angeles on April 9, 1931. His father, William W. Larsen Sr., was a performing magician and defense attorney, and his mother, Geraldine, entertained children on television as “The Magic Lady.” In 1936, his parents began publishing Genii, The Conjurors Magazine, which is still in publication.
Larsen’s early career included working as a record archivist for singer Eddie Cantor, and stars like Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Buddy Ebsen, and Steve Allen often sought his musical expertise. While still a teenager, Larsen was a weekly guest with Jim Hawthorne on a CBS Radio program that featured his old records and commentary by CBS founder Andrew White. His first job as a professional writer was with ABC Radio on a daytime audience participation show with variety acts and a 25-piece house orchestra.
As a writer for Ralph Edwards’ TV production company, Larsen was instrumental in creating the popular game show Truth or Consequences, which debuted on NBC Radio in 1940 and later moved to television. Larsen wrote for the show for nearly two decades, and it became one of the longest-running game shows in history.
Milt Larsen’s contributions to the world of magic and entertainment will be remembered and celebrated for years to come. His legacy lives on through The Magic Castle and the countless performers he inspired and mentored throughout his life.