Magicians across Las Vegas and beyond are working to honor a 99-year-old living legend, Gloria Dea, who historians have determined was the first magician on the Strip. Her specialty involved ‘sleight of hand’ illusions, which magician David Copperfield calls quite complex.
According to the Nevada State Museum, visitors were offered variety shows and Dea was one of the other acts in an evening series debuting at the El Rancho. Dea “completely mystified the audience with her legerdemain,” wrote a critic on May 15, 1941, for the Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal, praising her act as the hit of the show.
Dea is set to hold her 100th birthday at the Westgate Resort and Casino, where plenty of magicians from across the country will be in attendance.