A magician, Walton was bitten by the magic rabbit on his eighth birthday in 1940, when he was given a magic set from a magic shop in his home town of London. He married well: Jean Davenport was the daughter of the owner of the Tam Shepherds Trick Shop on Queen Street in Glasgow, Scotland, which was opened in 1886. In 1965, the couple was asked to mind the shop for a couple of weeks. They stayed, and they and their children have run it since. Rather than perform tricks himself, Walton created magic tricks for other magicians, and was an expert in magic and illusions — particularly sleight of hand and card tricks. He wrote hundreds of articles and books, starting in 1949; two different magic industry magazines devoted entire issues to his work.
“He created some of the greatest magic you’ll have seen performed on TV,” says Las Vegas mentalist Colin Cloud, who was born in Scotland. “He spent hours telling me about historic mentalists.” Close-up magician and comic Jerry Sadowitz agrees. “A typical Roy Walton trick is so perfect that to alter it in any way usually diminishes its impact,” he said, calling Walton “the greatest card magician and the most exemplary human being I ever knew.” Walton’s many tricks have been compiled into books: it took three volumes to explain them all. His family promises to keep the shop open. Walton died from cancer on February 3 in Glasgow. He was 87.