June Merlin (1920? - 2007)
June Merlin was born June Elizabeth Cochrane in Ireland. She began her long career in show business at the young age of three while singing, dancing and entering talent competitions.
During her teens, she developed into a beautiful young woman and began modeling-a good choice that led to major beauty pageants wins, including the prestigious Miss Ireland.
and June met in 1942 while Billy was attending medical school at Queens University in Belfast. During this time, Billy was also gaining recognition as a strong magical act in London nightclubs and theatres and June began assisting him.
Billy developed an act for her to perform that included rope, billiard balls and prop tricks popular at the time. The pair displayed an unstoppable chemistry on stage, which led to a victory at the 1949 I.B.M. as well as off stage, which led to marriage that same year.
June then used her modeling and other skills by assisting the well-known Robert Harbin during the creation of the first Zig Zag Girl Illusion, and she was able to offer insight from an assistant's perspective about the ergonomics of the illusion.
Over the next few years, the McCombs appeared in London with Bob Hope, where he used June as an assistant during one of his performances.
Hope suggested June might have success with her act, so she hired Robert Harbin and Al Koran to develop her solo stage act.
She adopted the stage name "Merlin" and became quite popular, eventually performing magic as the "Bewitching Witch."
Additionally, she represented Ireland in the international cast of NBC TV's 1957 Festival of Magic and developed a stage act involving the use of live mice.
She went on to make more TV appearances, including 'Interpol Calling,' (1960) 'It's Magic,' (1962) and 'Five O' Clock Funfair' (1965).
She and Billy traveled around the world together, making appearances on stage, television and radio.
The two split in 1967 and separated in 1969. On March 31, 2007, June retired to Spain and passed away at the age of 87.
Information courtesy of MagicPedia
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