Mercedes Talma (b.1861-1944)
Mary Ann Ford
Mercedes Talma, Talma: The Queen of Coins
Place of Birth
Talma Possessed the ability of immaculate coin manipulation and has been billed "The Queen of Coins". She took her specialty to an unexpected level by wearing sleeveless dresses which stumped her audiences (who assumed that male magicians would hide coins, literally, up their sleeves).
Her hands were so diminutive, she wore a size five-and-a-half glove. Despite this, she has been said to palm thirty half-crowns to perfection. She was also highly skilled in billiard ball manipulation.
It has been recorded that Talma was once confronted by muggers; she responded to their demands for cash by making coins appear out of nowhere, and freaked them out so badly that they ran away.
Talma was born Mary Ann Ford in July of 1861 in England.
She was an assistant to a mind reader before she was hired by Belgian magician Servais Le Roy to be an assistant in one of his grand illusions, "The Three Graces".
She married Servais in 1890 and he soon discovered her aptitude in conjuring.
Eager to take a more prominent role on stage, Servais taught Mary the rudiments of sleight-of-hand and soon after gave her the exotic name Mercedes Talma.
In 1893, after T. Nelson Downs became a headliner in American variety with coin manipulations, Talma, with her husband's help, put together a similar routine.
Four months later Talma made her debut across town at the Oxford music hall as "The Queen of Coins".
She opened the show with an act of pure sleight-of-hand with coins and billiard balls. She proved to be a successful solo act as well as an assistant to Servais.
After her debut, Talma was booked to top bills everywhere in Britain, France and Germany.
She formed a long-running stage act partnership with her husband and their colleague Leon Bosco.
They named their act "The Comedians de Mephisto Co," but were much better known as Le Roy, Talma and Bosco.
They toured Europe, North and South America, Australia and South Africa. Talma performed her coin manipulations and Bosco was the comic relief.
In the 1930's, Talma retired with her husband to Keansburg, New Jersey where she died on July 13, 1944.
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