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Dante was born Harry August Jansen in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1883. Jansen's first glimpses of magic were a distance from his home in New York, in Chicago, where, from the galleries of the McVicker's Theatre, he saw the Great Herrmann, rival and later friend of Harry Kellar. Several illusions were pioneered during Jansen's early career, including "Sawing a woman in half" and several of the illusions of his soon to be successors Thurston and Kellar. Howard Thurston hired Jansen in 1922 to tour and run Thurston's second unit. After many years of performing to average crowds under the name "The Great Jansen", Thurston suggested to Jansen that he change his name to Dante, after the great magician "Dante the Great," Oscar Eliason, who was a very popular magician in the late 1800's. In July of 1927, Thurston flew with Dante to Puerto Rico where Thurston told him that he was to be his successor in the Royal Dynasty's lineage.
Although Dante was mainly an illusionist, his list of achievements does not end there. Jansen was often featured on radio and appeared in several movies, including A-Haunting We Will Go (1942), featuring Laurel and Hardy, and Bunco Squad. Dante semi-retired in the late 1940's and would eventually pass his mantle to Lee Grabel in 1954.
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