Sunday, March 27, 2011

"It was a wonderful, wonderful year."

Dorothy Young was a 17-year-old New York City tourist in 1925 when she spotted an ad placed by master illusionist Harry Houdini seeking "girl dancer for Broadway show and tour of the United States."

She scurried to the tryouts and shyly hid in the back before being summoned to audition by Houdini and his manager. After breaking out in a Charleston, she was hired on the spot.

When her mother and father, a minister, refused to allow her to join the traveling stage show, Houdini persuaded her parents that he and his wife "would look after me as their very own daughter, which they did," Young recalled in a 2000 oral history. "It was a wonderful, wonderful year."

Young, who was the last surviving member of Houdini's stage troupe, died March 20 at her home in Tinton Falls, N.J. She was 103.

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