Peter Reveen, a popular stage illusionist and hypnotist who toured extensively in Canada, died Monday. He was 77.
Reveen died at his home in Las Vegas of complications from diabetes and dementia, said his daughter-in-law Cathy Reveen.
“He was a classic performer,” she said in an interview from her home in Kelowna, B.C.
“The grandeur of the old shows are something his memory retained and he would emulate.”
After immigrating to Canada from Australia in 1961, he began his career knocking on the doors of businesses in small towns in British Columbia, offering free tickets to shop owners if they put up his poster in their windows, she said.
As a youth he was a stage magician, but he later studied hypnosis and developed a show that emphasized audience engagement.
He performed in front of packed theatres and campus audiences around the world. But Cathy Reveen said he was particularly fond of entertaining audiences in small communities in Atlantic Canada, where he made his final tour in 2008.
While he hypnotized audience members, he was careful not to make fun of participants in his stage show, she added.
“Family was very important to him,” she said. “It was very important to him that he had a clean show and that he was able to present it to multiple generations.”
After shows, he would sign autographs and talk with audience members, often staying until midnight to talk to fans, she said.
He was attentive to the details of each performance, often sequestering himself for practices that lasted for hours, she added.
“Every detail of every show and performance was well thought out and justified in his mind.”
She said Reveen didn’t use the word hypnosis in his performances, as he felt it suggested someone who is sedated.
“His shows were nothing of the sort,” she said. “They were more aware and more creative.”
He studied the history of magic and wrote books on hypnosis, including one called, “The Superconscious World.”
He worked as a manager to Las Vegas illusionist Lance Burton in the latter stages of his career before retiring.
Reveen is survived by four sons and his wife, Coral. His son, Tyrone, performs magic in Canada.
— By Michael Tutton in Halifax