OPERATION MAGIC: Magician's journey may be best trick of all - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

OPERATION MAGIC: Magician's journey may be best trick of all

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

He got his start some 50 years ago. Peter Gloviczki traveled the world with his bag of tricks, and after all that time and all those miles, it's plain to see he still loves to be in front of a crowd.

Just hearing his trumpet of a laugh would be worth the price of admission.

In the early years, he played cabarets in Paris, but now, he's taken his talents elsewhere – to southern Minnesota. A professional magician swears to never give away the secrets to a trick. The best you can hope for is a close-up demonstration to try and figure it out for yourself.

However, we can let you in on one secret: The life of Peter Gloviczki is even more amazing than his magic.

Born in Budapest when the country was under communist control, at the age of 14 he won a nationally televised talent show contest. People remember him to this day. Gloviczki used his magic to walk through the Iron Curtain. The regime allowed him to leave Hungary periodically to take part in international magic competitions.

He took second place at the World Championships of Magic in 1973. The performance still dazzles viewers on YouTube. He credits much of his success to his mother who was also his coach.

"She said, ‘It doesn't matter what you do, just smile,'" Gloviczki said.

In 1981, Gloviczki said goodbye to the spotlights, packed away his magic hat and moved to Rochester, where he's lived ever since. He came to Minnesota to pursue his true passion -- he traded in his wand for a scalpel.....left the stage for the operating room at the Mayo Clinic.

"You need innovations to be a good magician, you certainly need innovation to be a good surgeon," he said.

Dr. Peter Gloviczki is now a rock star in the world of vascular surgery.

Victoria Segler needed an operation so complicated that no other doctor would attempt it but him.

"The best magic trick I could ever hope for," Segler said.

Because of his reputation, his list of patients includes lots of famous people -- first ladies, senators, vice presidents. He knew at age 6 that he wanted to be a physician. His father, uncle and grandfather were all doctors.

"I was actually quite confident at that time that that's what I wanted to be," he said.

After enrolling in a Hungarian medical school he wanted to advance his training elsewhere. The communist government would not allow a physician to leave the country, but a magician competing for trophies against the west was another matter. He traveled the globe as a magician and learned to speak four languages fluently. But he had something else up his sleeve -- he used his time away to get additional medical training.

Magic is still a hobby; a stress reliever from the rigors of surgery.

"The profession is so intense you need to do something" he said. He often performs tricks to put anxious patients at ease. Staff can always tell which operating room he's in by his signature calling card on the door.

With retirement looming, the curtain on the medical career is starting to fall. The magic act, however, is gearing up for an encore.

"It certainly gives me a lot of pleasure and as long as I will make people happy with it, I think I'm going to do it. So watch out, there might be more to come," Gloviczki said.

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