David Berglas (b. 1926)
"International Man of Mystery"
Mentalist, Psychological illusionist, Mnemonist
Place of Birth
Europe (Country: Unrevealed)
Berglas possesses the extraordinary ability of Parapsychological activities, such as telepathy and mind reading. He is said to be one of the world's leading mentalists.
David Berglas is the father of Marvin Berglas of Marvin's Magic, the world's leading supplier of professional magic sets. He is also uncle of South African artist Zapiro.
David Berglas was born July 30, 1926 in Europe. He escaped from Nazi Germany and fled to Britain aged 11.
At 16 he had his mind set to become a Spitfire pilot, lied about his age and managed to join the RAF. However, his true age was discovered and was not allowed to complete his training.
Still adamant to be part of the war, he discovered that the American Army was urgently looking for suitable recruits for an important role in the denazification of Germany.
The requirements were quite stringent. They had to have some previous military training, and to be able to pass strict physical and mental tests. Most importantly they had to speak 2 languages besides English, one of which had to be fluent German.
The required minimum age was 21. Berglas explained that he was only 19 but could meet all the other qualifications. He joined a unit of the Intelligence Corps of the American Army, serving an adventure filled 18 months at the end of WWII.
He attended Bradford Technical College to study Textiles with a view of joining his family business.
He first got interested in magic in 1947, through a chance meeting with magic dealer Ken Brooke. Magic became an all-absorbing hobby for about 5 years, during which time he worked in Psychotherapy, specialising in medical hypnosis.
Although never performing as a Stage Hypnotist, his demonstrations gave him the experience of standing in front an audience and handling volunteers on stage.
This gave him the confidence when he became a professional magician in 1952, working prestigious nightclubs and then in 1953 appearing at the famous Windmill Theatre, performing 6 times a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks.
He first became a household name in Britain through his regular performances on BBC radio, an unusual role for a magician. He conducted what he called "Nationwide Psychological Experiments", involving millions of listeners in their homes.
This part of the show required listeners to write in to confirm their reaction. To this day the BBC's archives have recorded this as being the largest collection of fan mail ever received. During the show's run it was not unusual for David to receive 3000 - 4000 postcards or letters per week.
He was one of the first magicians to appear on British television with his own show "Meet David Berglas" in 1954. Numerous other television series followed and were highly acclaimed in Holland, Sweden, Norway and Germany.
Commercial television started in the UK in September 1955 and the first ever series was presented by Berglas on Associated Rediffusion called "Focus on Hocus."
In the 1970s he presented a one hour television special from Las Vegas and in the UK he caused a sensation with his Channel 4 series "The Mind of David Berglas," (1985/86) where he interviewed and entertained celebrity guests including Omar Sharif, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Peter Cook and Max Bygraves.
Berglas has drawn attention through a long career with his numerous publicity stunts and has performed for many celebrities, including Winston Churchill, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Michael Jackson, the Sultan of Brunei and most of the British Royal Family.
He is a past president of the "British Ring" of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.). He was elected "King Rat" of the Grand Order Of Water Rats (a British show business organization devoted to charitable causes). David served as President of The Magic Circle for 9 years (1989 - 1998)."
In the 1950's, Berglas created what is now referred to as the "Holy Grail" of card magic, known as "The Berglas Effect," also known as ACAAN (Any Card At Any Number).
In 1999 he established a non-profit organization called the Foundation for Promoting the Art of Magic (FP-AM). The foundation presents "The David Berglas International Magic Award" annually at the prestigious International Magic Convention in London.
It was first awarded to the organisers of the convention, The MacMillan family, then in 2008 to Uri Gellar, in 2009 to David Copperfield, in 2010 to Juan Tamariz and in 2011 to Derren Brown.
In his 2009 "Enigma" show brochure, Derren Brown describes David Berglas as "One of our greatest living magical performers" and thanks him "for his constant inspiration and generosity. Each show is indebted to his artistry and astonishing body of work. Thank you David."
Information courtesy of Wikipedia and The Encyclopedia of Magic and Magicians.
Photo credit: Zakary Belamy
For more information, visit
David Berglas' offical website
Return from David Berglas to Mentalist page.