Remembering L.A.’s Magic Ambassador

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The Magic Castle is one of Hollywood’s weirdest treasures. It’s a hulking old Victorian mansion that serves as a campy, magic-themed country club. There are magic shows there every night, and you have to be invited by a member,  or become one yourself, to get in. The Magic Castle was created more than 50 years ago by a German-born woman named Irene Larsen, along with her husband and brother-in-law. For decades, Larsen was at the center of L.A.’s magic subculture. Besides co-founding the Magic Castle, she also turned her own house in Hancock Park into a kind of magic salon. She died there yesterday at age 79. We remember her with a friend and Magic Castle member.