March 6, 1965 |
|Other names||Melinda Evensvold
"The First Lady of Magic"
|Years active||1983 - present|
|Spouse(s)||Lance Burton (m. 1993; d. 1994)
Mark Evensvold (m. 2000)
Melinda Saxe (born March 6, 1965) is a magician from Las Vegas, Nevada, best known for her television performances and Las Vegas stage shows in which she was billed as "The First Lady of Magic". She is often associated with the "Drill of Death" illusion, which was a signature trick developed for her by Andre Kole. Although derided by some critics as a stereotypical blonde who achieved success because of her looks, Saxe is also respected by many in the magic business as a highly professional and likeable performer.
Saxe was born in Tennessee on March 6, 1965 to band leader Richard Saxe (born 1933) and dancer/show producer Bonnie Saxe (born 1941). Many sources cite Saxe's birth place as Las Vegas, however she was born in a small town in Tennessee. At the age of three, Saxe moved to Las Vegas, after her mother, Bonnie, landed a spot as a showgirl in the Folies Bergere show at the Tropicana. Saxe graduated from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas as a junior in 1982. At the age of 17, she joined the Siegfried and Roy magic show as a dancer.
Her self-styled title, "The First Lady of Magic", originated as the billing for the various shows she presented in a succession of Las Vegas venues. Saxe is the first woman magician to be performing in Las Vegas. Saxe starred in her first show at the Bourbon Street Hotel, when she was 19 years old. At the height of her fame she was starring in big shows with large supporting casts at some of the city's best known locations. She also had a residency at the Trump Castle in Atlantic City, New Jersey and enjoyed a four-year run in her own 3,000-seat theatre in Branson, Missouri. In 1995 she was chosen by producer Gary Ouellet as one of the acts for the second of his World's Greatest Magic television specials broadcast on the NBC network. The show featured the television debut of the Drill of Death illusion, in which Saxe was chained up in front of a giant drill which appeared to advance and impale her before lifting her up and spinning her limp body high above the stage. Ouellet was again influential in promoting Saxe's career when she starred in her own special for Disney in 1997. Ouellet was producer for the show, which, like her stage shows, was titled Melinda: First Lady of Magic. She also featured in the first of Ouellet's World's Most Dangerous Magic specials in 1998, in which she escaped using levitation after being tied up and placed in a glass tank that was filled with snakes.
Saxe stopped performing in 2002 saying she intended to devote herself to starting a family with her new husband.
In 2012, Melinda returned to the stage in V: The Ultimate Variety show, one of several Strip productions helmed by her brother David. 
Saxe married fellow magician Lance Burton on August 30, 1993. However, the marriage was short-lived and they divorced a year later. On June 1, 2000 she married Mark Evensvold, a managing partner in the P. F. Chang's restaurant chain. On August 24, 2003, Saxe gave birth to a son named Mason Ray Evensvold. She had her second child, a girl named Mallory Rose, on August 3, 2007. Saxe now lives in Las Vegas.
- Flint, James (10 March 2002). "That old Vegas magic makes reality vanish". The Observer (Guardian Newspapers).
- "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby: Disney's "Melinda, First Lady of Magic"". Little Egypt Gazette. June 1997. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Melinda Saxe at the Internet Movie Database
- Fernelius, Katherine. "Reappearing Act". Vegas Seven Magazine. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Merlin Award Recipients". International Magicians Society. Retrieved 2008-08-18.