Chung Ling Soo (1861-1918), born William Ellsworth Robinson, died on the stage of London’s Wood Green Empire when his bullet catch routine went wrong.
During his early career, William Ellsworth Robinson called himself “Robinson, the Man of Mystery”. To increase his allure with a touch of exoticism, he changed his name to Chung Ling Soo and took his show to Europe. He took the name as a variation of a real Chinese stage magician, Ching Ling Foo, and performed many of the tricks that Foo had made famous.
Chung Ling Soo maintained his role as a Chinese man scrupulously. He never spoke onstage and always used an interpreter when he spoke to journalists. Only his friends and other stage magicians knew the truth.