Celeste Evans was born in White Rock, BC, Canada (two
Miles farther south and she'd have been an American star, rather than the
Queen of Magic of Canada). As is common with countless children, she
became fascinated with magic at an early age. In her case, however,
it became a life long career.
Celeste began at he age of nine with her first
sleight-of-hand effect, throwing knots into silk. Sentimentally
enough, she still opens her act with this same sleight. She's particularly
fond of this, for a magician chum first showed her this effect, than told
her she could never do this because she was a girl.
She told him she'd not only learn to do it (even if it took ten
years), but that she would strive to become the best woman magician in the
world. Within a year she was performing in public, and after graduating
from high school, she was earning her living on the carnival circuit, touring
the country, doing ten shows a day in a tent - an experience she still believes
is necessary to become a proficient entertainer.
Her mentors, Jon Kirby and Allan Lambie, had her practicing seven
hours a day while still attending school. She kept this a secret from all
by doing her practice in her bedroom in the farmhouse loft. Allan Lambie
was also the mentor of Micky Hades, as well as many other famous magicians.
In 1952, Celeste left Canada to entertain Commonwealth troops in
Korea and Japan under the auspices of the Canadian Legion. She confesses
to particularly enjoying entertaining American troops, because she could get her
fill of ice cream, a scarce item at the Commonwealth encampments.
While touring with country and western groups (Celeste can
also sing a mean C&W number) she was called to appear on the
nationwide show "Pick the Stars", her first nationwide
television appearance. This led to national tours and eventually to
the Big Apple - New York.
In New York she became a regular on "the Paul
Winchell Show", "Arthur Godfrey", "The Ed Sullivan
Show" and "To Tell the Truth", as well as on the Barbara
Walter's show, "Not For Women Only".
It was on "To Tell the Truth" that Celeste
escaped from a straightjacket in nine seconds (the commercial was due) and
won the thousand dollar award! This marked the beginning of an
innumerable string of television appearances - both nationally and world
wide, and it was during this period that Celeste fulfilled the dream of
all entertainers - she played "The Palace" in New York.
After touring widely in the United States, in 1957 Celeste
was called on by the United Nations to tour central Africa, Egypt and
North Africa. Part of this trip involved being under fire from
Israel while working in the Gaza Strip area, being held prisoner in a
plane for eight hours in the Belgian Congo, and giving her show on the
tailgate of a truck with the motor running so that if there were an attack
they could leave with all dispatch.
Upon her return from Africa, Celeste toured the continent,
England, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. This was followed by a tour
for the USO covering Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland and Germany. After
another tour of U.S. Air Force Bases in North Africa, Celeste was asked to
represent The John F. Kennedy Cultural Exchange in a tour covering the Near East
This tour was with the Buddy Rich Band and twenty other artists,
and covered twenty six countries, including India, Indonesia, Iran, Laos,
Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan, Singapore & Hong Kong. It was her
pleasure to perform before the crown prince or head of state of seven different countries.
The high point of this trip was when one of Celeste's doves
messed on Indonesian President Sukarno's arm during a photo session. Celeste claims
it was because Sukarno pinched the bird. He certainly had pinched every
other female in the tour, she recalled.
Celeste than settled in Chicago where she toured regularly
throughout the country, particularly on the Playboy Club circuit, Las Vegas and
myriad other clubs in the United States. She was a particular favorite of Mayor
Richard J. Daley of Chicago. One of her doves would regularly settle
on his somewhat shiny head. (Presumably not messing its pink perch.)
Celeste wed Harry Breyn of Breyn Management, a theatrical agency
based in Illinois. Celeste and Harry had two children, Evan
and Evanna. When Harry passed away in 1984, Celeste took over Breyn
Management and successfully operated the business until she retired in early
2003. Celeste remarried in 1992. Celeste and Mitch were together and
enjoyed retirement until Mitch's passing in January of 2006.
Celeste lives in Florida on the water and splits her time between
writing her book on her experiences as a Magician, tending her garden and swimming in her new pool. She
has two wonderful grandchildren, Ethan and Rachael.
Though the doves are long gone, she is still known to pull the
occasional magic trick on the unsuspecting from time to time...
Web-Links to information about Celeste Evans