Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dick Cavett lives in former home of Leopold Weiss

A profile of Dick Cavett in The New York Times reveals that the famous talk show host now lives in the former home of Houdini's brother, Leopold Weiss. The Ridgefield Connecticut estate is known as Sunset Hall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house, a 1912 Georgian, towers atop a leafy hilltop past an ornate iron gate. Mr. Cavett, who never knew a name not worth dropping, seems pleased at its celebrity lineage: the film and television star Robert Vaughn and Harry Houdini’s brother both lived there. Houdini, he said, “used to practice his underwater escapes in manacles and chains in the pool,” a fact that delights him, because he was an avid magician as a child.

Houdini and Leopold had a famous falling out in 1917. Leo eventually sold the house and ended his days in an apartmet in Inwood, New York.

UPDATE: Don't tell Dick Cavett, but it sounds like Houdini wouldn't have been caught dead in this house. And it sounds like Leo wasn't all that welcome either! Read: Guest blog: Leopold and Sady Weiss: Why Houdini Wasn’t Happy.



  1. Great stuff John! Thanks for posting the link to that NY Times article. My first response was: "Wow, I didn't know he was THAT wealthy!" I think it's appropriate that he now owns this estate. Cavett was one of my heroes growing up in the 70s cuz he had, as John Lennon pointed out to him, the most intellectual talk show on television. He gave air time to some of the most legendary magicians, as well as legendary film stars. I enjoyed the part where Cavett mentioned that Lucille Ball was generally nasty to people, but had a soft spot for him.

    1. I didn't know he was a magician as a kid!

    2. Both growing up in Nebraska, Dick Cavett & Johnny Carson were "friendly rivals" on the Kid Show magic circuit; they were certainly aware of each other.

      Whenever Dick would be on Johnny's show - they'd always turn the conversation to Magic!

      ...I didn't think that Cavett was that wealthy either!

  2. Cavett performed magic now and then when he would appear on the Tonight Show. I remember he once did the cut and restored rope. Without him I doubt we would have ever seen performances by Dai Vernon, Slydini, and Frank Garcia on television. Vernon did appear on the Merv Griffin Show and Garcia on the David Susskind Show.