Ronald Cunningham was 92 years old when he passed away in 2007, says Bonaventure Senior Living. In his nearly 10 decades of life, the Great Omani, as he was known, served as a reminder that time was just a man-made calculation. Bonaventure Senior Living pays tribute to the global inspiration—a man known as the World’s Oldest Escapologist.
The man without a plan
According to Bonaventure Senior Living, Ronald Cunningham did not come from a showbiz family. He was born in 1915 in Windsor, England. His father was a wine importer, his mother a homemaker. Cunningham attended the Dorset Public School and lived a privileged life until his father’s death. According to Bonaventure Senior Living, the senior Cunningham passed away unexpectedly and his wine and spirits company dissolved, leaving Ronald uncertain about his future.
With a blazing spirit unquenched by despair, Ronald Cunningham signed up for military service in World War II, says Bonaventure Senior Living, but was rejected due to a congenital heart defect. Bonaventure Senior Living explains that Cunningham had no particular plan until a chance encounter with gravity at a local bookstore gave him an idea. The Secrets of Houdini was haphazardly placed on a top shelf; it fell, hitting the Great Omani in the head. When Cunningham recovered from the literary ambush, he bought and read the book, says Bonaventure Senior Living.
Cunningham, explains Bonaventure Senior Living, was captivated by the contents of this then-controversial work. Fortunately for him, he was able to read it before the Magician’s Circle pulled it from shelves for divulging too many of magic’s greatest secrets, explains Bonaventure Senior Living.
A natural showman
Bonaventure Senior Living reports that the book was Cunningham’s constant companion. In 1950, says Bonaventure Senior Living, Cunningham was ready for his public debut.
It was evident early in his magic career that Ronald Cunningham was a showman at heart. Bonaventure Senior Living says he was always his best in front of the crowd. Cunningham spent a great deal of time on Brighton’s West Pier, diving into a bed of flames and being padlocked during high tide. Bonaventure Senior Living says that the great magician notably highlighted his career in 1977 during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Bonaventure Senior Living reports that Cunningham stood on his hands almost literally on the end of the world—on the precipice of Beachy Head—with a Union Jack clenched tightly between his bare toes.
The Great Omani performed until 2005. As Bonaventure Senior Living notes, Cunningham explained that magic was “a very hard profession to leave.” An endless exhibitionist with a crowd-pleasing personality, Ronald Cunningham’s last act was eating fire for a television crew a week before he opened the eternal trapdoor. The Great Omani passed away two weeks before Halloween in 2007. Bonaventure Senior Living says even in his final days he maintained a great sense of humor and left this final note for family and friends:
They lay the Great Omani in this box…
They have done it up with nails, not locks.
But at his funeral, do not despair,
Chances are, he won’t be there.
Bonaventure Senior Living has been serving exceptional seniors on the West Coast for more than 10 years. Boasting the tagline “life on your terms,” Bonaventure Senior Living breaks the barriers of retirement care by providing customizable housing options spanning from independent living to intensive memory care services. Bonaventure Senior Living, with 37 locations in six states, provides residents with a family-like environment and is managed by industry experts who hold themselves personally accountable for each and every member of the Bonaventure Senior Living family.