downthetubes is sorry to report that TV Magician Ali Bongo — described by friends as “the most influential and respected man in magic” — has died following a stroke, after being taken ill in France last month during a lecture. He was 79.
Bongo also advised Doctor Who during the making of the Tom Baker story The Talons of Weng-Chiang. His input, alongside Larry Barnes, went uncredited but his involvement was appreciated by Tom Baker in his autobiography, Who on Earth is Tom Baker?
“This is especially distressing after reports of his progress had been so encouraging, and the whole world of magic will mourn his passing,” a statement reads on the web site of The Magic Circle. “Ali devoted his life to magic, and The Magic Circle in particular, for whom he was our finest international ambassador. Our sympathies go out to his family and close friends at this sad time. The numerous tributes that continue to flood in are testament to his far reaching influence and popularity.
Ali Bongo (William Wallace), magician, born on December 8, 1929, died of pneumonia on March 8, 2009, aged 79