This week, Ira spoke with Fielding West.
Magician and comedian Fielding West talks about his life in magic and comedy, and lessons learned; his recent role in Lance Burton’s film, “Billy Topit, Master Magician”; and his recent awards and recognition from magical organizations.
West was introduced to magic by his grandfather who was an amateur magician. After high school, he put himself through college, paying for his degree by performing in a band as a drummer and doing magic shows for children.
In 1973 while selling cars and going to graduate school at night in Tallahassee, Florida, he met an unknown comedy magician named Steve Martin. After seeing Martin perform, West knew that he wanted to be in show business for the rest of his life. The concept of a comedy act began.
Three years later West moved to Jacksonville, Florida and started his own Saturday morning children’s show on television with a Post/Newsweek station, WJXT. The show. “Magic Gang,” was the highest rated kids show in its time slot for two years. Not being satisfied with entertaining only children, he pursued a nightclub act.
A year and a half after leaving television, he put together a successful touring show called the Amazing Fielding And Company, which included illusions and hypnosis. The act, after two years, led him to Las Vegas. There, West met Liberace, who helped him get his first break by showcasing his act at the Sahara Hotel. Since then he has been working all over the world as a featured star in large production shows and as an opening act for major stars.
West’s career has now come full circle. He has appeared on a multitude of comedy specials and popular sitcoms. He is also a successful comedy writer for other magicians and comedians. West is well-known in the corporate market and for a course he created, called Stagecraft 101; he manages speaking seminars for young performers that teach how to speak more effectively.