Doug Henning was born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1947. He gained
interest in magic tricks and illusions at an early age and by 14,
was performing at birthday parties and other functions. Henning
attended collge at McMaster University, studying to become a
doctor. His interest in magic superceded his desire to become a
doctor and he left college and with grant money from the Canadian
Council, traveled to study with other magicians.
His first big success was in a show called Spellbound which he
performed in Toronto. It was a box office success and lead to
Henning starring in a Broadway show called The Magic Show which ran
for over four years.
Soon after ending with The Magic Show, Henning worked with NBC on
a number of live television performances. The partnership lasted
seven years, with Henning performing such tricks as Houdini's
Water Torture Escape and others. Henning later returned to Broadway and starred in the show Merlin.
The show was a success and earned five Tony nominations
during its run.
Henning also had a great interest in transendental meditation and
late in life studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Henning
even began planning a transndental meditation theme park in Ontario.
Henning died of liver cancer in Los Angeles, California on February
Henning was relatively well-known to the public from his television
specials. He was easy to recognize with his shock of curly dark hair,
mustache, and normal attire of tie-dyed t-shirts and bell-bottom pants.
Henning's signature line was "It's magic" said in a long drawn out
manner that suggested a strained sincerity and a plea for the audience
to buy into the wonder of magic. It seldom worked.