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Memorable Manitobans: Douglas James Henning (1947-2000)


He was born in Winnipeg on 3 May 1947. He went to McMaster University and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1970. After university he applied for and received a Canada Council Grant to study magic as an art form. He staged and starred in “Spell bound” a rock musical produced with friend Ivan Reitman in 1973. “Spell bound” premiered on Broadway as “The Magic Show” in 1974. Henning was nominated for a Tony award for his performance.

He starred in several television specials about magic. He recreated Houdini’s underwater escape in half the time. He also became involved with Transcendental Meditation, and became a follower of Maharashi Manesh Yogi. In 1986 he gave up magic, selling his illusions to David Copperfield among others.

He ran for political office with the Natural Law Party in the 1993 federal election. The party platform included solving political problems by gathering ‘Yogic Flyers’ on Parliament Hill to meditate. Doug Henning passed away from liver cancer in Los Angeles, California on 7 February 2000.


Doug Henning, McMaster Alumni Association.

Doug Henning, CBC Walk of Fame, 15 February 2005.

The Rick A. Ross Institute, “Thinking Man’s Magician Flirted with Political Career” National Post (UK), 9 February 2000.

This profile was prepared by Angela Graham.

Page revised: 17 December 2008

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