Max Maven, born Philip T. Goldstein, was a magician and mentalist, his birth in 1950 marking the onset of a journey that reached its terminus in 2022. His performances, marked by their erudition and intelligence, earned him a hallowed place among the sorcerous elite, ranking as one of the most influential mentalists to have graced our peculiar world.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he trod his path through life with the finesse of a conjurer's sleight of hand. Maven's talents were not limited to the arcane realm of magic; he once graced the airwaves as a radio deejay, weaving his auditory spells.
As an author, his words flowed as effortlessly as his tricks. He conceived numerous enchantments that found their way into the repertoires of fellow practitioners of the arcane arts. Behind the scenes, he donned the cloak of a magical consultant, guiding luminaries like Harry Blackstone Jr., Mark Wilson, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Siegfried & Roy, and Doug Henning.
The man was a veritable oracle of magical wisdom, sharing his insights through the pages of journals like Genii, The Linking Ring, and M-U-M. He graced the covers of more than 30 such magical tomes, leaving his mark upon the annals of conjuration.
A master of transformation, he legally adopted the name Maven while still bearing "Phil Goldstein" as his nom de plume for his technical treatises.
Maven, a legend among the mystics, possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of magic's past, delving deep into the origins of tricks and artifice, always adamant about honoring the creators of such mystical wonders.
His final act, a tragic denouement, was a battle with the sinister specter of brain cancer, which claimed him on November 1, 2022, when he was but 71.
Although humor was not his primary stock in trade, the 1980s saw him headlining comedy clubs across the land, proving that his talents knew no bounds. His one-man show, "Thinking in Person," graced the stages of the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1988 and again in 2008. This tour de force found its way to Off-Broadway in 2012.
Television screens, from Sweden to Chile, flickered with his magical presence. Maven even lent his enchantments to the realm of science, captivating audiences in museums across the globe. Japan, in particular, held a special place in his heart, where he both performed and spoke the language of magic.
He was a sage of creativity and innovation, gracing the EG Conference with his wisdom. Fox's 1992 Halloween special, "Count DeClues' Mystery Castle," bore his mystic mark, as did NBC's highest-rated 1994 special, "The World's Greatest Magic."
In a land far away, on Israel's Channel 2, he hosted a version of "Penn & Teller: Fool Us" known as "Mi Yapil Et Ha Master" or "Who Can Fool The Master?" He also adjudicated the arcane arts on the 2008 reality TV series "Celebracadabra."
Maven's magical aura extended to the realm of sitcoms and dramas, where he appeared as "The Great Mentos" on the 1995 episode of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and in episodes of "Mork & Mindy," "General Hospital," and "Top Chef."
In 2019, his presence graced the documentary "The Amazing Johnathan," and he shared his insights with the Los Angeles Times regarding developments at The Magic Castle.
A feature documentary titled "Max Maven: A Fabulous Monster," released in 2007 by Reel Time Images, offered an intimate look into his life, a testament to his enduring legacy.
Awards and accolades adorned his illustrious career, bestowed upon him by the Society of American Magicians, International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Academy of Magical Arts. These honors included the Academy of Magical Arts Lecturer of the Year (1979), Creative Fellowship (1997), The Magic Woods Award for Best Teaching Video (2007), MINDVention Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), The Allan Slaight Award for Lifetime Achievement (2017), and Academy of Magical Arts Masters Fellowship (2022).
Max Maven, a man whose name resided alongside the greats of our mystical art, whose intellect dazzled and mystified, left an indelible mark upon the world of magic. His legacy endures, a testament to the enduring enchantment of the human mind and spirit.