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Obituary: Dani Almond, the Dagenham magician who performed for world leaders, dies aged 86

PUBLISHED: 11:42 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:12 19 September 2017

Dani with his 'Chinese Head Chopper,' aged 83 .

Dani with his 'Chinese Head Chopper,' aged 83 .

Archant

A Dagenham magician who performed for world leaders, appeared on television and rubbed shoulders with a-list celebrities has passed away, aged 86, after leading an extraordinary life.

Dani Almond with his late wife Patrica. Dani Almond with his late wife Patrica.

Dani Almond, who was born in Kanpur, India, performed alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Bob Hope and The Beatles in films. He put on magic shows for prime minister Harold Wilson, India’s first prime minister Pandit Nerhu and Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. He featured on TV programs and regularly toured the country with his shows.

Despite this Dani, who lived in Haydon Road, always shunned the showbiz lifestyle and was never in it for the money.

In a 2013 interview with the Post, he said: “I never smoked, I never drank and I would never touch drugs. The big stars didn’t like me for it, but I could not care less.”

In later life, Dani would regularly do charity shows for local organisations such as old people’s charity DABD. He always refused payment.

Dani Almond Dani Almond

His son, Errol Almond, said: “It was things like that which were to the detriment of his lifestlye - he didn’t really live as you might expect. But I won’t say it was to the detriment of him as a person because it’s a lovely way to be.”

He added: “He has had a wonderful life.”

As well as his magic, Dani also worked at Wood Grange Park station in Manor Park. Dani claimed he once won a co-workers whole paypacket in a bet over whether he could light a fire using only his mouth.

Dani lived in England for 60 years after moving from India following partition aged 26, fearing his British ancestry meant it was not safe for him to stay there.

He is survived by a very large family. Dani had 7 children - Desiree, Heather, Patricia, Sharon, Andre, Edwin and Errol. He also had 23 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.

Errol says at one time, all his children have played a minor role in one of his shows..

He adds the family are very grateful Dani maintained a good standard of living long into later life, remaining independent, active and fun.

The funeral will take place Wednesday, September 20 at 2.15pm at Forest Park Cemetery and Crematorium, Hainault.

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