As you’ve probably heard by now, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, former Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns, who was later named “vice chairman emeritus” of JP Morgan, died today at the age of 86. While he paid the bills with his finance gig, his true passion was magic. On this day, let us remember some favorite facts about Greenberg, vis-à-vis his time on the magic circuit.
- He hosted a regular salon d’enchantment in his apartment every month and gave the New Yorker the idea to write a profile about the world’s greatest pickpocket: “…the idea of a story about Apollo Robbins came from Ace Greenberg, the former chairman of Bear Stearns, a serious magic aficionado who hosts a monthly gathering at his apartment for the best magicians in New York and those who happen to be in town. Robbins attended one of these evenings, during which he delighted Greenberg by stealing (and returning) his Patek Philippe watch. Greenberg mentioned Robbins to my editor at The New Yorker, Susan Morrison, who thought it sounded up my alley. When I called Greenberg, he said, ‘I’m telling you, this kid is something else.’ He was right.”
- He kept the troops calm as Bear burned with a deck of cards and the quickest fingers 383 Madison Avenue had ever seen: “Greenberg, Bear Stearns’s 80-year-old former boss, attempted to break the tension in a lighter way. Wearing his trademark bow tie, Mr. Greenberg, who still trades, performed magic tricks to amuse colleagues.”
- He shot a DVD about magic which you can and should buy, on today of all days: “On this DVD Alan “Ace” Greenberg, who was a fan of Prof. Jack Miller, demonstrates and teaches his rendition of three classic Jack Miller routines using the Hold-Out. You will learn: The Ball, Silk And Wand Routine, The Jack Miller Egg Bag Routine and The Sensational Rope Cut. You will also learn how to quickly make a Jack Miller style Hold-Out using items that can be easily acquired.” All that for just $32.07!
Oh, and the time he told a reporter Jimmy Cayne, his former colleague, was (is?) “a lying f*ck.” Not really related to magic but, y’know, posterity and stuff.