LOS ANGELES – Glenn Falkenstein, a renowned mentalist who came to fame in the early 1970s when he was a staple at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and hosted his own Los Angeles call-in radio show, has died. He was 78.

Falkenstein, a former longtime Los Angeles resident who had struggled with Alzheimer’s disease since 2006, died July 4, several days after entering a memory-care unit at an assisted-living facility in San Antonio, said his wife and performing partner, Frances Willard.

“He was the consummate showman, a showman of the old school,” said magician David Charvet, who hosted a memorial for Falkenstein at the Magic Castle last Sunday. “The things he did were baffling, certainly, even to many magicians.”

A fast-paced, dynamic performer with crisp diction, Falkenstein was known for his signature blindfold mind-reading act, which he performed around the world, including in Las Vegas and on “The Tonight Show” and other TV shows.

With half dollars secured over each eye with adhesive tape and wearing a curved steel mask, Falkenstein would pick up a card that had an audience member’s name and a question written on it, crumple it and hold it over his head.

He’d then answer the question on the card and proceed to recite the audience member’s Social Security number or address, give the maiden name of the person’s mother and answer personal questions they were thinking, such as naming a favorite food or movie.

“Although Falkenstein employed magicians’ techniques, the performance gave every appearance to the audience of being genuine mind-reading,” Charvet said.

In 1972, Falkenstein was named Stage Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts, the parent organization of the Magic Castle.

In 1978, he teamed with Willard, the daughter of acclaimed magician Harry Willard, aka “Willard the Wizard,” of the 1920s through the ’60s.

Together, Falkenstein and Frances Willard began performing the “Spirit Cabinet,” a re-creation of the classic effect in magic that Willard’s father and mother did for many years.

With the tuxedoed Falkenstein conducting the seance and Willard serving as the medium, she would have her wrists and neck bound with cotton cloth that was nailed to an upright board in a curtained enclosure where she was seated and put into a trance.

The act included bells and tambourines that had been placed in the cabinet mysteriously flying over the top after the curtains were closed.

“The amazing part of it was the speed at which the manifestations occurred,” Charvet said. “For instance, a borrowed coat was tossed into the cabinet and instantly Glenn opened the front curtain and Frances was seen wearing the coat, her arms through the sleeves and still secured to the board.

“It was one of the greatest pieces of magic ever.”