Johnny Thompson, one of the world-renowned magicians best known as The Great Tomsoni, died on March 9 in Las Vegas. He was 84.
Thompson was a versatile performer of magic, music, comedy, and drama over the course of his decades-long career.
Born in 1934 to Polish ancestry in Chicago, Thompson began his career as a musical arranger and musician. He toured with Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats as a harmonica player.
The showman, who made his Las Vegas debut with the Harmonicats in 1951, joined the Lewis and Christie comedy team shortly after. He got his title The Great Tomsoni during that period.
He began his comedy magic career as a supporting performer for Carol Channing, Eddie Fisher, Ed Ames in Nevada casinos.
His wife, Pamela Hayes, joined his act as the assistant. The couple starred in the Las Vegas productions like Casino and the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel and Casino and Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel.
They toured internationally and performed at the Theatre Princess Grace in Monte Carlo, the London Palladium, the Casino Ruhl in Nice, France, the Scala Melia Castilla in Madrid, Spain and Le Caberet at the Casino in Monte Carlo.
Thompson made multiple television appearances with talk shows hosts such as Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin and Dick Cavett.
Rest In Peace Johnny Thompson!
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