Now Appearing in Heaven Saturday, Mar 9 2019 


We who believe in a loving God and the gift of everlasting life, rejoice in death. In our hearts, we know our loved one is at peace in the midst of the Light. We mourn the passing of one we’d prefer with us in this world but this belief does bring comfort in our loss.

My husband, Marshall Brodien (84) of Geneva, passed away peacefully early morning on March 8, 2019. He was surrounded by family in his last days, and I only left his side to shower (which the rest of the family appreciated.) Most of the week, I held his hand. In his last hours I sat beside him with my head on his pillow, holding both of his hands, and listening to his last breaths.

Hospice educated me on the signs of passing which became increasingly more evident with every minute. As his hands grew colder, I prayed the rosary and spoke to God and to Marshall. His breaths gently faded, he squeezed my hands, and I felt his spirit leave the body.

Twenty five years ago when I first told my mother about Marshall she was concerned about the 20 years age difference between us. I assured my mom that Marshall was a gentleman, and she soon realized his kindness for herself.

Marshall’s public persona meant that he belonged to the public. Loved ones had to share him with fans everywhere we went. His attention often was elsewhere.

However, Marshall made me feel loved every day of our marriage. He called me “My Mary” and “The love of his life.” He didn’t hesitate to publicly say, “I love that girl.” I never doubted I was in his heart and greatly appreciated the joy he brought to me and my children.

Marshall may be best known for creating the Marshall Brodien Magic sets and TV magic cards with his famous tagline, “Magic is easy, once you know the Secret.” He’s also fondly remembered as the magical, wacky character Wizzo on Chicago’s Bozo Show for 26 years. Marshall, aka Wizzo, would wave his stone of Zanzibar and say the magic words, “Do-dee-do-dee-do.”

Marshall’s rich life began in Chicago with his loving mother, Mildred, Father Arthur, and brother, Charles. At the age of eight, a female magician entertained at his school. He soon became hooked and put on his own shows for family and friends. He later became a side-show barker at Riverview Park.

He was drafted into the army in 1957 and commissioned to the Special Services Entertainment Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. He performed more than 700 shows at hospitals, officer clubs, and private parties over his two years in the military.

Marshall continued entertaining by performing magic and stage hypnosis at lounges, clubs, and county fairs as well working as a trade show spokesperson for corporations such as Owens-Corning Fiberglass, Bethlehem Steel, Reynolds Aluminum, and the American Gas Association.

Marshall showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease disruptive to daily life since 2004. I cared for him at home for ten years and he lived in managed care for almost another five.

In addition to me, Marshall is survived by his three children, three step-children, nine grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. There also is one more on the way. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Christine, who passed away in 2016, and his brother, Charles.

Donations can be made in his name to Arden Courts of Geneva (2388 Bricher Road, Geneva, IL 60134), Heartland Hospice (1010 Executive Drive, Suite 200, Westmont, IL 60559), or the Alzheimer’s Association (225 Michigan Ave, Fl 17, Chicago, IL 60601).



Marshall Brodien Day Tuesday, Jul 10 2018 

Blessing of Bright Stars Friday, Aug 21 2015 


Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. It is an intense and intimate form of care, especially for spouses caring 24/7 for the main person in their lives. They become one as the caregiver must think and feel for their spouse all day, all night. We are their external hard drive as they no longer can tell if they are hungry, tired, anxious, or uncomfortable. Remaining calm, compassionate, and steady is essential.

My husband, Marshall, has Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms have been noticeable for at least 11 years; however, Alzheimer’s can be progressing in the brain for 10 to 20 years before any signs. I cared for Marshall at home for the first 10 years. He now resides in an assisted living home for memory care where I talk to him and/or visit him daily.

Marshall was a larger-than-life personality who continues to light up the room. But our conversations are basic at this point—mostly about how much we love each other.  The stars shine brightest in the darkest of night, and each time he says, “I love you” and “You are the love of my life” is a bright star indeed that I hold close to my heart.

WGN-TV is airing a special on Alzheimer’s at 7pm Central Time on Saturday, August 29. The program, Unforgettable: Living with Alzheimer’s, also will stream live online on and be replayed on Sunday, August 30th at 2pm Central Time on CLTV. I was interviewed for this special along with doctors, patients, and Glen Campbell and his wife, Kim.

You also can listen to an interview I had with Dean Richards on WGN radio on this subject.

  • Read more about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s in my new book, Navigating Alzheimer’s. 12 Truths About Caring for Your Loved One, available from ACTA Publications or Amazon.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle


Top 10 Ways You Know You Are a Magician’s Wife Monday, Aug 19 2013 


B-123(Notice all the blades through the box? I’m still in there.)

You may know that I am married to magician Marshall Brodien. Marshall is the creator of TV Magic Cards and Marshall Brodien magic sets. He also played the clown/wizard character Wizzo for 26 years on WGN TV’s Bozo Circus Show.

In our 18 years of marriage, I’ve entertained a steady stream of guests here to see Marshall and his magic, assisted Marshall on stage a couple of dozen times, and have attended countless magic conventions with him. All this magic got me thinking about how it’s influenced me. Here are my top ten ways.


Mary Doyle Brodien’s Top 10 Ways You Know You are a Magician’s Wife

You know you are a magician’s wife when:

10. There is a magic museum in your home

9. Your ceilings are decorated with playing cards

8. You act surprised when you see the same trick for the hundredth time

7. You are shopping and notice clothes that would look good on stage

6. You discuss eyeliner and face powders for reducing shine with groups of men

5. Everyone in your household, including the family hamster, is part of the act

4. A romantic dinner out includes disappearing salt shakers and card tricks for the wait staff

3. You’re not opposed to your husband coming at you with swords

2. You look at a box and wonder if you could fit in it

And the number one way you know you are a magician’s wife –

You don’t consider it abusive if your husband ties you up, stuffs you into a cloth bag, and locks you in a crate.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

(Photos by Stephanie Maurie)

Comfortable in the Background Thursday, Jan 3 2013 

I’m invisible. Especially when I’m with my husband, no one sees me. When we are out shopping or at dinner, people stop him. They tell him how much they loved him on TV and chat without acknowledging my presence. It doesn’t matter where we are or for what reason. It happens all the time.

At a recent medical visit, I approached the receptionist to check in for my first appointment with a new doctor. The receptionist never even looked at me. She started right in telling Marshall how much she loved him and asked him if he remembered her from another doctor we used to see years ago. I said I saw that doctor with him. She continued to tell him about my visit, the doctor, and the office. I reminded her that I was the patient. She responded by handing me new patient forms to complete.

I believe every situation is a gift. Scenarios such as these certainly keep me humble. And actually, I prefer not to be the center of attention. But I also realize I can use this invisibility to my advantage.

Magician/comedian Mac King puts on a yellow rain cape and calls it his Cloak of Invisibility. He says it enables him to perform magic without anyone seeing. I wouldn’t even need the cloak to do magic.

I once interviewed a gentle, peaceful Native American man named Ghost Walker. I should learn his ways and walk silently among you.

Or I can work undercover. I could write stories without anyone knowing I’m observing.

If I was a CEO of a large corporation, I could go on the television show “Undercover Boss.” I love the word incognito, but there wouldn’t even be the need for me to disguise myself.

I also could work as a secret shopper. Better yet, I could be a secret patient.

(Can’t see the photo above of me? Of course not. I’m invisible.)

©Mary K. Doyle

Now You See It. Now You Don’t. Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 

Magic is easy, once you know the secret. At least that is what my husband, Marshall Brodien, always says. And life is like that too. If you know the secrets of life, it is so much easier.

In fact, there are several principles of magic that can be applied to life. Here are a few life-lessons I’ve learned from magic:

  1. What appears to be very mysterious often is quite simple.
  2. There are a whole lot of things going on around you that you don’t see.
  3. Some people intentionally misdirect your attention from what’s important.
  4. Every industry has a personality and magicians are no different. Actually, they are very different.
  5. You don’t need to know how everything works. Sometimes it’s best to relax and enjoy the show.
  6. Some careers are more fun than work.
  7. You don’t have to accept the “cards” forced upon you.
  8. Even when the magic doesn’t go as planned, you must keep moving on with the show.
  9. No matter how talented or industrious you are, your audience may not applaud you.
  10. Your presentation is more important than your ability.

©Mary K. Doyle

(Photo by Stephanie Maury. Used with permission.)

What’s Do-Dee-Do-Dee-Doing at Chicago Museums Thursday, Jun 14 2012 

Chicago is haven to some of the best museums in the world. We have museums dedicated to art, architecture, horticulture, children, culture, history, and zoology.

The top museums in the city include the Shedd Aquarium (1200 South Lake Shore Drive), Museum of Science and Industry (57th & Lake Shore Drive), The Art Institute of Chicago – which is the 2nd largest art museum in the U.S. (111 South Michigan Avenue), Museum of Contemporary Art (220 East Chicago Avenue), National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 West 19th Street), Adler Planetarium (1300 S. Lake Shore Drive), The Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark Street), DuSable Museum of African American History (740 East 56th Street), Field Museum of Natural History (1400 South Lake Shore Drive), and the Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Drive).

This summer you can see artifacts from magician Marshall Brodien, AKA Wizzo, WGN’s Bozo Show’s wacky wizard, at two different museums. The Chicago History Museum is featuring an exhibit on magic until the end of the year. Brodien’s temple illusion and one of his Wizzo costumes are part of the display. The Chicago History Museum will hold magical events throughout the summer. Check their website for more details:

The Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) reopened in its new home at 360 North State Street. The museum holds more than 1,800 radio and television historical objects and photos. One of those artifacts is a costume worn by Marshall Brodien as Wizzo on the Bozo Show which is on permanent display there. Overall, the museum is a lot of fun as it takes you back to the “good ol’ days.” See more on their website:

(All photos shown on this post were taken at the MBC Museum.)

©Mary K. Doyle

Do-Dee-Do-Dee-Do Friday, Apr 27 2012 

A sandwich, glass of milk, and WGN’s Bozo Circus. That was the lunch menu for Chicagoland’s children in the 1960s and 70s. We’d hurry home from school and watch variety acts, cartoons, and the crazy antics of Bozo and the gang hoping to see the Grand Prize Game before we returned to school.

In 1980 the show’s time changed to 7 a.m. and continued to draw viewers of all ages for a total of forty years. It captured such a large audience that guests waited nearly ten years for tickets.

The question asked at the beginning of every show was, “Who’s your favorite clown?” My answer for the last 18 years has been “Wizzo,” the wacky, magical wizard and my husband. Marshall Brodien, AKA Wizzo, appeared on the show in a classic tuxedo several times a year beginning in 1962. In 1968 Marshall officially joined the cast as Wizzo, playing off the likes of Bozo (Bob Bell), Cooky (Roy Brown), Oliver O’Oliver (Ray Rayner), Sandy the Tramp (Don Sandburg), and Ringmaster Ned (Ned Locke) followed by Professor Andy (Andy Mitran), Frazier Thomas and the “new” Bozo (Joey D’Auria).

Wizzo’s signature “Do-dee-do-dee-do,” as well as his nutty, mysterious persona, quickly evolved into one of the show’s favorite characters. As many adult viewers as children eagerly tuned in to watch Wizzo’s latest antics and magic tricks.

On April 20, 2012 Marshall was honored for his contribution to Chicago television, most specifically his time on the air as Wizzo, with the induction to the prestigious Silver Circle. The celebration included photos, cocktails and appetizers, dinner and the presentation of awards. The voice of WGN, Dean Richards, presented the award to Marshall after a video composite of Marshall’s magical career.

Marshall also is known as one of the early TV pitchmen. Most notably, after founding Marshall Brodien Magic Company in 1969 his commercials for TV Magic Cards and Magic Sets made his name and voice nationally recognized. His famous tagline, “Magic is Easy, Once You Know the Secret,” became the patter of all young magicians of the 1970s and 80s including Lance Burton and David Copperfield. Marshall also pitched his magic products on Home Shopping Network and QVC in the 1990s.

Here’s to Marshall and the memories he created for grown-up children throughout Chicagoland.

©Mary K. Doyle

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