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James Randi, illusionist, on:
Houdini’s mother

James Randi Cecilia Weiss was, I guess you could say, a typical Jewish mother. She really looked after the family with dedication that was not lost on Harry or on Dash or, I’m sure, on the other children. And he referred to her as a saint, as an angel, and in various ways during his life. And I think there was very good reason for that. She probably was a very good, caring, nurturing person. And it’s something that gave Harry, I think, a goal in his life. To please Cecilia, his mother, was one of the major purposes he had in being successful in his business.

I think today we can look upon his exceedingly strong and very obvious love for his mother as essentially an obsession. He was totally preoccupied with pleasing her, and he was, in effect, what we would call today a mama’s boy. And I don’t mean that as a term of disrespect. It’s just the way it was. He loved his mother to the point of obsession.

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