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Harry Kellar (1849-1922) was born Heinrich Kellar on July 11th 1849 in Erie Pennsylvania. The young Kellar ran away from home when he was ten and soon found himself living with a minister in New York State and studying for the ministry himself. All that was soon to change: the young Kellar visited a travelling show and saw "The Fakir of Ava". He was hooked and his future was sealed. Eventually he left the shelter of the minister's home to join The Fakir as an assistant. At age 16 Kellar felt confident enough to try his first solo performance. It was, in his own words, a disaster. But with the pursuit of perfection which was to become his trademark he worked on perfecting his act.
Two years passed before he performed again this time with great success. In 1869 he took a job with "Davenport Brothers and Fay", a well known stage spiritualism act and a great influence on his later career. After four years with the act Kellar felt ready to go solo again and in 1873 he and Mr Fay left to tour with their own act. They were an almost immediate success and toured across the Americas for the next couple of years. Disaster struck in 1875 when a shipwreck left the pair pennyless.
Fay rejoined the Davenports while Kellar formed yet another new act known as "The Royal Illusionists". This was to be the start of the road to fame and fortune and eventually to the assumption of the mantle of "Greatest American Magician".
Kellar became renowned for his perfectionist approach and his spectacular stage productions. Every last detail of every performance was planned and perfected. Kellar struck up a long and close friendship with Harry Houdini. Houdini even persuaded him out of retirement to perform one last spectacular act in a Houdini charity show.