Magician pulls through sextuple bypass

FINE SPELL: Michael Woolf has received a lifetime achievement award for magic. He has a vast collection of musical items, puppetry and magic apparatus in his shed.
FINE SPELL: Michael Woolf has received a lifetime achievement award for magic. He has a vast collection of musical items, puppetry and magic apparatus in his shed.

Last year 73-year-old Wellington magician Michael Woolf was lying on a table with his life on a knife edge, and it was no illusion.

After pulling through a six-way heart bypass, Mr Woolf was awarded with a lifetime achievement award in magic at the 31st New Zealand International Magician Convention in Christchurch at Labour Weekend.

Having dedicated much of his life to magic, he said it was pleasing to receive the award.

"It means a great deal to me. Any award given by my colleagues is a worthwhile one."

It is an award Mr Woolf said he was lucky to get, after he came close to dying when he collapsed outside Wellington Hospital last year.

"They had never heard of someone having that many bypasses. I'm remarkably lucky to be here."

He said he was extremely thankful to the doctors who helped him pull through last year.

"Thank you for giving me back my future. I don't know what I want to achieve. I think my life's over now I've got a lifetime achievement award," he said with a grin.

Magic New Zealand director Alan Watson said Mr Woolf was a worthy recipient of the award.

"He's a very interesting guy. He's been around a long time and done a lot," Mr Watson said.

"[It's the] recognition of a lifetime dedicated to the excellence in the magical arts and as editor of Magicana magazine."

Mr Woolf has spent much of his life performing and entertaining others since his parents gave him a Punch and Judy puppet set when he was a young boy in England.

He said he did not perform much any more and collects magic memorabilia as his way to keep interested in the art.

However, he still likes to do the occasional show. "I mostly perform at magic conventions.

"I've taken up producing Magicana [magazine]. I've been the editor for 13 years."

Mr Woolf encouraged others to get into the art of magic and believed many young talented New Zealanders were developing.

"It's a great thing to be interested in. I want to see magic flourish in this country."

The Dominion Post