Celebrity Wiki

Melinda Saxe is a magician from Las Vegas, Nevada, best known for network television performances and Las Vegas stage shows in which she was billed as "The First Lady of Magic". She is often associated with the "Drill of Death" illusion which was a signature trick developed for her by Andre Kole. Although derided by some critics as a stereotypical blonde who achieved success because of her looks (eg. "more showgirl than magician"),[1] Saxe is also respected by many in the magic business as a highly professional and likeable performer.[2]


Saxe comes from a Las Vegas showbiz family. She is the daughter of Bonnie Saxe, a dancer turned show producer, who helped launch Melinda's performing career. Melinda's brother David Saxe began assisting in the technical and business side of her shows while still a college student and went on to be her producer for 17 years.[3][4]

Her self-styled title "The First Lady of Magic" originated as the name or billing strapline for the various shows she presented in a succession of Las Vegas venues throughout her career. Her first starring show was a small scale cabaret at the Bourbon Street Hotel when she was aged 20.[5] At the height of her fame she was starring in big shows with large supporting casts at some of the city's best known locations. She featured in the earliest version of Showgirls of Magic, with Melinda as the featured performer among a cast of nude showgirls. She also had a residency at the Trump Castle in Atlantic City, New Jersey and enjoyed a four-year run in her own 3,000-seat theatre in Branson, Missouri.


Melinda - Double Sawing

In 1994 she was chosen by producer Gary Ouellet as one of the acts for his World's Greatest Magic  television special broadcast on the NBC network. Melinda performed the thin model sawing in half (of Charlotte Pendragon) and her famous Zombie Ball routine, and also took part in the vanish of the Space Shuttle Explorer. The following year, Melinda was invited back for World's Greatest Magic II, which featured the television debut of the Drill of Death illusion. She also featured in Houdini: Unlocking the secrets, in which she again teamed up with Charlotte Pendragon to present a number of Houdini's illusions. Gary Ouellet was also producer for her special for Disney in 1997, which, like her stage shows, was titled Melinda: First Lady of Magic. She also featured in the first of Ouellet's World's Most Dangerous Magic specials in 1998, in which she performed two escapes: an upside down suspension, and a levitation after being tied up and placed in a glass tank that was filled with snakes.[6]

Saxe stopped performing in 2002 saying she intended to devote herself to starting a family with her new husband.

Drill of Death[]

Melinda's most famous illusion is the Drill of Death — Melinda would be shackled, spread-eagled, in the path of a giant industrial drill, which then penetrated her midsection, before lifting her up and spinning her limp body high above the stage. The routine went through a number of revisions, and featured in several of her TV appearances, including World's Greatest Magic II and her Disney special.

The Drill of Death was created specifically for Melinda, who had wanted something "even better" than Impaled, which she performed, both as magician and assistant, in her earlier shows.


In 1998 the International Magicians Society named her "Magician of the Year" in its "Merlin" awards.[7]

Personal life[]

Saxe married fellow magician Lance Burton in 1993 but the marriage was short-lived and they divorced. On 1 June 2000 she married Mark Evensvold, a managing partner in the P F Chang restaurant chain.[5] On 24 August 2003 she gave birth to their son Mason Ray Evensvold. Saxe now lives in Manhattan Beach,Ca.. She had her second child on 3 August 2007, a baby girl named Mallory Rose.

Further reading[]

  • Steve Bryant, interview with Melinda in Genii magazine, August 1999 (Vol.62, No.8)


  1. Flint, James (10 March 2002). "That old Vegas magic makes reality vanish". The Observer (Guardian Newspapers). http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2002/mar/10/unitedstates.observerescapesection?page=3. 
  2. "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby: Disney's "Melinda, First Lady of Magic"". Little Egypt Gazette. June 1997. http://www.littleegyptmagic.com/melinda.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  3. Hernandez, Sandra (10 March 2008). "Vegas producer gives back" (Template:Dead linkScholar search). The Rebel Yell (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). http://www.unlvrebelyell.com/article.php?ID=11735&PHPSESSID=9a88fdf09e3e9320acf31572b337aded. 
  4. "About Us". David Saxe productions. http://www.davidsaxe.com/about.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Melinda makes magic a career". The View, neighbourhood newspapers. 13 June 2001. http://www.viewnews.com/2001/VIEW-Jun-13-Wed-2001/NWest/16257355.html. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  6. Melinda Saxe at the Internet Movie Database
  7. "Merlin Award Recipients". International Magicians Society. http://www.magicims.com/merlin_award_recipients.php. Retrieved 2008-08-18.