Christopher Foundation

The Milbourne Christopher Foundation was established to encourage excellence, originality and leadership in the magical arts and to help keep conjuring on a level with the other most popular entertainment forms – dance, drama, comedy and music.


The Milbourne Christopher Foundation was established by Maurine Christopher (1920-2013) in 1989, and was created to perpetuate the memory of her husband and his lifelong interest in encouraging excellence, originality, and leadership in the art of magic and to helping keep conjuring on a level with other popular entertainment forms including dance, drama, comedy, and music.

Incorporated in New York State in 1991, the foundation is federally approved as a charitable organization which was financially supported in the past, and so too will be in the future, through her contributions. The board members have changed through the years, as have several of the award judges. Both the officers and award judges donate their services to the foundation.

It was Mrs. Christopher wish, and the purpose of the foundation, to sponsor annual awards that spotlight the best magic has to offer contemporaneously in performing, writing, publishing and invention.  The categories reflect Milbourne Christopher’s diversified career. This includes the areas of

  • author and/or publisher
  • outstanding illusionist and/or illusion creator
  • promising young magician
  • mentalist,
  • life time achievement/master’s award

Winners in other areas may be added at the discretion of the judges and not all winner categories are awarded each year.

The charter also authorizes the use of the foundation’s resources to keep classic books of magic – such as Christopher’s “Illustrated History of Magic”, “Panorama of Magic” and his biographies of Houdini.

The Christopher Foundation award winners are selected by a panel of judges comprised of informed leaders from the magic community.   Judges who have served in the past include Edward Shuman, William Andrews, Robert L Bluemle, J. Marberger Stuart and Richard Block.

Following the death of Awards Chairman William Andrews in 2011, Mrs. Christopher requested committee member William V. Rauscher to serve as chairman of the Awards committee.

Rauscher is also a Director on the board of the Foundation and the Chairman of the Foundation is currently Mrs. Christopher’s longtime friend Santos Molina.

The current list of judges include:  Chairman, William V. Rauscher, Thomas A. Ewing, Raymond J. Goulet, Michael Miller, Tony Clark and David Haversat


The first awards were presented in 1989, at the Society of American Magicians Convention in Tampa, Florida. Beautiful plaques were, and are still, presented to the awardees. In addition to being recognized at the convention, award recipients also are reimbursed for travel, registration, banquet fee for them and a guest, and two nights at the convention hotel.

One requirement of the award is that the winner be present, unless the person has dire circumstances that prevent them being present at the last minute. The judges conduct their business either in person, by teleconference, e-mails or regular mail.

There are many deserving magicians who have contributed their lives to the betterment of magic and yet may not be nationally known. It is also our policy that the awards are open to members of any magic organization or magician whether in the U.S. or abroad.

It is the consensus of the Awards committee that from 2016 onward we will expand the visibility of the awards night by holding the event in a more public venue than magic conventions. This will allow the Foundation to present the awards where the backgrounds of the recipients may be more thoroughly recognized. It is our hope that more publicity will ensue on this venture which will further promote the Foundation.

Since its formation, the Foundation has spent a large sum of funds promoting the magical arts by recognizing the deserving and talented recipients. We wish to continue to perpetuate the names and lives of Milbourne and Maurine Christopher and her concept that the Foundation should encourage excellence, originality, and leadership in the art of magic.

Since the beginning, the list of award recipients has grown and reads like a “Who’s Who” of the conjuring arts. The attached list showcases those many recipients.



Milbourne Christopher Foundation Award Winners:

Robert J. Albo – Literary Award for his famed Classic Magic Series (2003)

Robert J. Albo & Phil Schwartz – Literary Award for Thayer Magic (2010)

Michael Baily – Lifetime Achievement Award (2004)

Banacheck – Mentalist Award (2010)

Larry Becker – Literary Award for Stunners (1993)

Bev Bergeron – Lifetime Achievement Award (2010)

Gay Blackstone – Ambassador of Magic Award (2009)

Gay Blackstone – Lifetime Achievement Award (2015)

Harry Blackstone, Jr. – Illusionist Award (posthumously) (1997)

David Ben – Masters Award (2013)

John Booth – Literary Award for his books and columns (1994)

David Bull – Illusionist Award (2000)

Eugene Burger – Literary Award (2000)

Lance Burton – Illusionist Award (1996)

Nathan Burton – Illusionist Award (2012)

Mirko Callaci – Newcomer Award (2004)

John Calvert – Illusionist Award (1998)

John and Tammy Calvert – Masters Award (2005)

Christopher Carter – Mentalist Award (2013)

Mike Caveney – Literary Award as author and publisher (1996)

Tony Chapek – Illusionist Award (2007)

David Charvet – Literary Award (2006)

James Cielen – Newcomer Award (1992)

Tony Clark – Newcomer Award (1990)

Danny Cole – Newcomer Award (2002)

Tim Conover – Mentalist Award (2005)

David Copperfield – Illusionist Award (1993)

Joseph Curcillo – Mentalist Award (2014)

Edwin Dawes – Literary Award for his body of work (1999)

Enrico and Lisa de la Vega – Newcomer Award 1998)

Eric DeCamps – Close-up Award (2013)

Irving Desfor – Lifetime Achievement Award (1993)

Lyn Dillies – Illusionist Award (2013)

Jeff and Tessa Evason – Mentalists Award (2003)

Fantasio – Master Award (2013)

Gary Frank – Literary Award (2015)

Greg Frewin – Illusionist Award (2009)

Karrell Fox – Lifetime Achievement Award (1997)

Joseph Gabriel – Illusionist Award (2010)

John Gaughn – Illusion Creator and Restorer Award (1989)

Paul Gertner – Close-up Award (2012)

David Goodsell – Literary Award (2009)

Raymond J. Goulet – Lifetime Achievement Award (2013)

Lee Grabel – Lifetime Achievement Award (2006)

Michael Grasso – Illusionist Award (2011)

Dick and Joanne Gustafson – Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)

Dennis Haney – Master Award (2011)

John Harrison – Literary Award (2010)

Franz Harary – Illusionist Award (2001)

Rich Heath – Visual Magic Art Award (2014)

Chuck Hickok – Mentalist (2007)

Ardan James – Newcomer Award (2000)

Trent James – Promising Young Magician Award (2015)

Joshua Jay – Close-up Award (2011)

Todd Karr – Literary Award (2004)

Craig Karges – Mentalist Award (2015)

Richard Kaufman – Literary Award for his body of work (1995)

Andre Kole – Illusionist Award (1994)

Stan Kramien – Lifetime Achievement (2014)

Krystyn Lambert – Newcomer Award (2009)

Milt Larsen – Lifetime Achievement Award (2012)

Jason Latimer – Newcomer Award (2003)

Levent – Masters Award (2015)

Shin Lim – Most Promising Award (2013)

Losander – Illusionist Award (2006)

Robert Lund – Lifetime Achievement Award (1995)

Michael Giles and Staecy Jones (The Majestix) – Illusionists Award (2002)

Bill Malone – Close-up Award (2015)

Frances Marshall – Lifetime Achievement Award (1999)

Max Maven – Literary Award as a Prolific Author and Editor (2002)

Jeff McBride – Illusionist Award (2003)

Billy McComb – Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)

Mike Miller – Ambassador of Magic Award (2010)

Stephen Minch – Literary Award (1998)

Hank Moorehouse – Lifetime Achievement Award (2011)

Norm Nielsen – Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), Masters Award (2009)

Ryan Oakes – Newcomer Award (2006)

Daniel Ortiz – Close-up Award (2014)

Richard Osterlind – Mentalist Award (2006)

Christian & Katrina Painter – Mentalists Award (2011)

Johnny Ace Palmer – Close-up Award (2010)

Cesareo Pelaez – Illusionist Award (1995)

Channing Pollock – Lifetime Achievement Award (2003)

Jon Racherbaumer – Literary Award (2005)

Alex Ramon – Illusionist Award (2014)

William V. Rauscher – Literary Award (1991 and 2007)

Charles Reynolds – Masters Award (2002)

Adele Rhindress – Ambassador of Magic Award 2015)

Barrie Richardson – Mentalist Award (2009)

Ben Robinson – Literary Award (1990)

Darren Romeo – Newcomer Award (1996)

Fergus Roy – Literary Award for his four volumes The Davenport Story (2012)

Marvyn Roy – Illusionist Award (1990)

Marvyn & Carol Roy – Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)

Marc Salem – Mentalist Award (2004)

Dale Salwak – Masters Award (2014)

George Schindler – Lifetime Award (2005)

William J. Schmeelk – Illusion Creator Award (1998)

S. H. Sharpe – Literary Award (1992)

Shimshi – Newcomer Award (2005)

Siegfried & Roy – Illusionist Award (1991)

Kenneth Silverman – Literary Award (1997)

Alan Slaight – Literary Award (2001)

Jim Steinmeyer – Illusion Creator Award (1996)

Jim Steinmeyer – Literary Award (2014)

Jon Stetson – Mentalist Award (2012)

The Spencers – Illusionists Award (2015)

Cyril Takayama – Newcomer Award (1993)

Johnny & Pam Thompson – Masters Award (2010)

Topas – Newcomer Award (1989)

Topas and Roxanne – Illusionists Award (2004)

Bob Torkova – Newcomer Award (1994)

Adrian Van Vactor – Newcomer Award (1994)

T. A. Waters – Literary Award (1989)

Don Wayne – Illusion Creator Award (1999)

Peter West – Newcomer Award (2007)

Barry Wiley – Literary Award (2013)

Frances Willard – Illusionist Award (1992)

Greg Wilson – Newcomer Award (1991)

Mark and Nani Wilson – Lifetime Acievement Award (2002)