Saying Goodbye to a Legend, My Father

July 31, 2014 - Latest News

At last Saturday night’s show, my dad was on my mind more than usual. He had passed away the day before at the age of 86. How could I not think about him since much of my show is deeply influenced by his larger-than-life presence and love of magic? As a little boy, my dad, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, taught my sister and me card tricks. I won’t give away the secrets, but it was a formative time, learning his love of the sleight-of-hand. And, this appreciation has made its way into my comedy show; finding humor in magic tricks. In fact, in the 4th Anniversary video of my show, he performs a magic trick :45 seconds in (video below).

On Tuesday, at his funeral at Temple Emanu-El, members of the Society of American Magicians (an organization to which my dad belonged) snapped his wand in two, a tradition that happens whenever a magician dies. The wand’s magic passes with its owner. Sure, it’s got shades of Harry Potter, but it is a lovely ceremonial touch.
Rabbi Sobel,in his moving eulogy, compared my dad to Ernest Hemingway. The New York Times reported the opening of his speech.

“What Ernest Hemingway was to the world of 20th century literature, Alan Greenberg was to the world of 20th century finance,” Ronald B. Sobel, the senior rabbi emeritus, told the assembly. “Both were intrigued by bulls — Hemingway by the bulls of Spain and Alan by the bulls of Wall Street.”

My dad would have enjoyed that comparison to a literary titan. Ernest Hemingway! As I mentioned in my remembrances I didn’t have an idea of what my father did for a living or the enormous heights he had climbed. I just knew that he always had time for me, whether watching me run a meaningless track meet in the Bronx or perform a late night comedy set as a teenager or even watching Ted Greenberg’s The Complete Performer.
I will miss you Ace.

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