Magic Castle stalwart Mark Nelson dies

Was chairman of the Academy of Magical Arts trustee board

Mark Nelson, chairman of the Academy of Magical Arts board of trustees, which runs the Magic Castle in Hollywood, died Jan. 3 of natural causes. He was 58.

Nelson wore a number of other hats in the entertainment business. He penned episodes of “The Smurfs,” “The Real Ghostbusters,” “G.I. Joe” and “The Hunger.” He was also a voiceover artist whose distinctive baritone was heard on several commercials — and he was known as “the voice of the Magic Castle.”

Nelson did a stint as an assistant to Dawn Steel, president of Columbia Pictures, as well as with other studio executives. In 1994, he joined Ridley and Tony Scott of Scott Free Prods. but was hired away in 2000 to work as an entertainment-based paralegal. He most recently worked at the law firm Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

But since 1979, Nelson’s life really centered on his love of magic and of the Magic Castle. He was a host and a relief stage manager and worked on 14 Academy of Magical Arts Awards Shows and numerous “It’s Magic!” shows.

He had served as chairman of the AMA board of trustees since 2007.

“We are all deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Mark Nelson,” said Neil Patrick Harris, president of the AMA board of directors. “His value to the Academy of Magical Arts over these many years is immeasurable. He was the voice of the club, literally and figuratively, and will be missed by many.”

At the time of his passing, Nelson was working on a biography of magic TV pioneer Mark Wilson.

Nelson is survived by his parents and a sister. A celebration of his life will be held at the Magic Castle on March 18.

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