Chung Ling Soo

The World's Greatest Magician
Birth Name:
William Ellsworth Robinson
Birth Date:
April 16, 1861
Birth Place:
Westchester County, New York
Death Date:
March 24, 1918
Place of Death:
Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital, London, England, UK
Cause of Death:
Accidental gunshot wound to the lung during his stage act
Cemetery Name:
East Sheen Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Other Entertainers
At the beginning of the 20th century, audiences across Europe were wowed by a Chinese magician who drew on ancient Asian mysticism to perform illusions and contact the spirit realm. But he was, in fact, none of these things, as “Chung Ling Soo” was actually William Ellsworth Robinson, an American of Scottish ancestry who built a phony, racist Chinese persona and magic act based directly on that of another magician, Chung Ling Foo (who actually was Chinese). Yet audiences looked past the obvious identity theft as Chung Ling Soo was actually a great magician.

Fun Fact

William Robinson had adopted the persona of Chung Ling Soo so convincingly that only his wife and multiple girlfriends knew his real secret. It was only when, during his final performance at the Wood Green Empire Theatre in London, the final trick of the “bullet catching illusion” went horribly wrong and Soo was shot in the chest. It was only then that Chung Ling Soo broke character and spoke in perfect English, “Oh my God. Something’s happened. Lower the curtain.” These were the last words he ever spoke and died the next day.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

East Sheen Cemetery

Sheen Road

Richmond, , TW10 5BJ

England, United Kingdom



Grave Location:

Section B, Grave 219/220/221

Grave Location Description

As you enter through the main gate on Sheen Road, drive past the cemetery office and the first section you see on the right is Section B. The angel monument is visible from the road.



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