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Magicians Mourn Passing of Magic Castle Co-Founder

Irene Larsen helped design one of LA's most curious establishments

Magic Castle co-founder Irene Larsen died unexpectedly last week, sending a community of magicians, entertainers, and exclusive guests of the establishment into a period of mourning. Larsen, along with her late husband Bill Larsen and his brother Milt, turned a striking Franklin Avenue Chateau into a secretive temple to the magical arts.

Together, the Larsens turned the residence into a members-only gathering place (though there are other ways to get in) that has become a popular site for celebrities and fans of the occult alike. Thanks in part to Irene, the place also looks the part. Larsen was responsible for many of the design features around the castle, including a gnome forest.

The castle has many such eccentric features, including trap doors, lavish murals, and chandeliers from Bullock's Department Store. In recent years, it has also played host to a Vaudeville-style show put on by Larsen's daughter Erika.

Larsen's death leaves Milt as the last surviving member of the founding trio behind one of LA's oddest and most iconic landmarks.

Magic Castle

7001 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028