Magic’s most notable society gives Pennsylvania native an 8 page feature cover story in their MUM magazine, and separately the rarely bestowed Presidential Citation.
Dorothy Dietrich of Scranton Pennsylvania, originally from Erie PA, has been awarded magic’s most prestigious award, The Presidential Citation, as well as an 8 page feature cover story in their magazine, MUM, for her many historical accomplishments. The Society of American Magicians is one of magic’s oldest, richest and most prestigious organizations with hundreds of clubs and thousands of members around the globe. The Presidential Citation is the highest award the Society of American Magicians can bestow to any magician worldwide, and even rarer to be given to a female in the male dominated field. The Citation from President David Bowers to Dietrich along with business partner Dick Brookz states it is for “constant efforts to elevate and advance the art of magic” and “extraordinary support promoting the goals and the values of The Society of American Magicians.” Dorothy commented “of all the many things I’ve accomplished in my career, this is a highpoint. I couldn’t be more proud.” Bio at (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Dietrich)
Rankopedia.com’s “Greatest magician of all time” ranking places Dorothy Dietrich in the top seven only proceeded in order by Houdini, Copperfield, Criss Angel, David Blaine, Penn &Teller, and Doug Henning. No other woman appears in their listing of the top 20 magicians. http://www.rankopedia.com/Greatest-magician-of-all-time/Step1/3376.htm?
Brainz.org’s listing of the “10 Greatest Escape Artists in History” proclaims “Dorothy Dietrich is probably the best-known female escapologist of all time,” and named her as one of the top four with Houdini again being number one.
Dietrich is considered the first woman to gain prominence as a female magician and escape artist since the days of Houdini, breaking the glass ceiling for women in the field. She’s the first and only woman to have performed the jinxed catching of a bullet in her mouth. a feat that has killed twelve men and injured many others. The bullet catch is the one stunt Houdini announced he would do and then backed out of. She’s also the first woman to perform a straitjacket escape while suspended hundreds of feet in the air from a burning rope as shown on a Home Box Office Special The World’s Greatest Escapes.
Last year she uncovered Houdini’s best, and believed lost, film “The Grim Game.” It was restored and shown for the first time in 96 years at the finale of the week long Turner Classic Movies Festival in 2015 and televised last October. TCM flew Dietrich out to Hollywood for the premier of the restored film as the closing event to a standing ovation. Additionally she replaced Houdini’s bust at his grave site destroyed by vandals and missing for over 30 years. She is founder and director of The Houdini Museum of The Only Building in the World Dedicated to Houdini, originally the first Houdini museum in New York City at The Magic Towne House before moving the collection to Scranton, PA. in 1980.
The 2006 Columbia Encyclopedia included Dietrich among their “eight most noted magicians of the late 20th century”. Early on, as a teenager, she already was dubbed as “The First Lady of Magic.” Dietrich, often called the Female Houdini, has duplicated many of Houdini’s original escapes. In addition to escapes and large-scale stunts, Dietrich performs magic with live animals such as doves, rabbits, poodles and ducks. She’s known for sawing men in half, and for levitating volunteers from the audience. Dietrich has created special shows for such companies as Maidenform, Pooltrol, Yago Sangria, Manhattan Shirts, as well as fashion and cosmetic companies. She is a regular performer for trade and industrial events.
In the 2013 hit film, “Now You See Me,” Isla Fisher played an escape artist named Henley Reeves. In an interview Fisher said, “I watched all of Houdini’s work and Dorothy Dietrich, who is amazing, you have to watch her.” “I got to train with Dorothy Dietrich” and “studied the life and work of illusionist Dorothy Dietrich to prepare for the role.”
Dorothy Dietrich’s many appearances on national TV includes Home Box Office Special “The World’s Greatest Escapes” as special guest star, You Asked For It, Travel Channel, Magic Road Trip, Mysteries at The Museum, The Bill Cosby Variety Show, The Tom Snyder Show along with Kiss, Evening Magazine, The Montel Williams Show, twice with Rich Little on You Asked For It, Real People, TV Land’s Myths & Legends, Exploring The Unknown, Biography Channel’s Dead Famous-Houdini, Just For The Record, The Best of Everything, Klein Time with Robert Klein, Man and His Mysteries with Dick Van Patten, Pierre Ferland’s Autobus du Canada (three segments), SyFi Channel’s Deals From The Dark Side, Huff Post TV on Houdini’s Birthday, NPR Weekend edition Trials and Tribulation of being a woman in a man’s field, PBS On The Pennsylvania Road, PBS Strange and Unusual Museums, and PBS Conversations. Part of popular culture she was even mentioned in a segment on House MD in a scene about her bullet catch. (Year 8, Segment 8, Perils of Paranoia).
MUM Magazine story. (http://houdini.org/dorothydietrichbiographymum.html)