1. Harry Houdini, 2. David Blaine, 3. David Copperfield, 4. Criss Angel, 5. Penn And Teller, 6. Dynamo, 7. The Great Lafayette, 8. Jonathan Todd, 9. Jules Lenier, 10. David Devant. Magic stone our world. I looked at some of these vision scientists in amazement, and gaped in astonishment. It is an art as old as Di Vinci but has become more known to the general public with the advent of television, and Las Vegas. Some magicians considered "the best" were overrated and others were ignored. Magic is a staple here at Abracadabra NYC, and here's a list of the most famous magicians.
- Harry Houdini
- David Blaine
- David Copperfield
- Criss Angel
- Penn And Teller
- The Great Lafayette
- Jonathan Todd
- Jules Lenier
- David Devant
At the top of my list of famous magicians is Harry Houdini, apart from just being extremely famous for his escape stunts (one of which almost cost him a nervous breakdown), Houdini was a Jewish immigrant from Hungary back in the late 1800s. He starred in movies and even earned the right to be a pilot later on in life. Houdini is so famous that when someone disappears from our view, we’re quick to go “They pulled a Houdini.”
While acting didn’t pay off for him, Harry Houdini succeeded in burying himself alive and clawing out and getting out of a ton of full-body locks within about an hour. He was quick to sue those who imitated his stunts (rightfully so) and spent a lot of time exposing false illusionists who had little to no standards on what they performed.
Harry was born with a different name and drew inspiration from Jean Eugene Robert Houdin, where he built his name from. There are several spellings of his original name, Erich Weiss (such as Erik Weisz). When he died, a bust was placed at his grave, which was extremely uncommon for any Jewish cemetery.
Born: March 24, 1874
Died: October 31, 1926
David Blaine may not be the greatest magician of all time, but he is certainly the greatest endurance artist, is the second most famous magician on this list. He’s most known for spending 44 days suspended in a box in the air, which admittedly did not go over well with people nearby. Blaine’s time has been spent on specials and street magic, including Frozen in Time, Revolution, Drowned Alive, and Beyond Magic.
He’s starting to phase out slightly, which is why he’s made appearances in private performances as of late.
He grew up in New York with his mother and father, where he saw a magician performing in the subway one day when he was just four years old. It was basically the beginning of his interest in magic, and he’s spent his entire life devoted to it ever since.
Born: April 4, 1973
David’s early life started with him finding a love of magic when he was ten, and then from there, he excelled at it exponentially. He’s spent time in movies, such as roles of The Magician in the movie Terror Train, as well as tons of television appearances and specials. In 2019, a film about his life titled The Personal History of David Copperfield was released. While it didn’t do as well as people thought, it’s still the most commercially successful film about a real magician ever to date. His greatest achievement came from flying on stage, and those secrets have yet to be revealed.
Born: September 16, 1956
Nationality: United States
Love him or hate him (and there’s a mixed review on this guy), he’s right up there with Blaine and Copperfield in terms of finesse and trickery. Born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, Criss Angel stunned audiences with his show Mindfreak. He’s gone on to sell-out shows in Las Vegas, create magic kits for adults to get started, and continues to premiere in stage shows and specials from time to time.
While most of his career has settled down over recent years, his success spilled over into books, toys, and internet information that divulged some of his secrets. He’s been awarded as the Magician of the Year in 2001, ‘04, ‘05, 07’ and ‘08 by the International Magicians Society.
As one of the most famous magicians, that is why his performances are sold out. That popularity has created a small revenue for him. Not only that, but he was also awarded the Magician Award many years.
Born: December 19, 1967
Penn And Teller
It was a fantastic program, where they ironically broke down a lot of paranormal mumbo jumbo and other superstitions. Watching illusionists do this was wildly entertaining, and the show still does well on HBO’s streaming service. But their expertise goes beyond the television. Penn and Teller still do shows and have recently begun their own Masterclass where they explain a lot of trade secrets and how to become a magician (it’s definitely worth a look).
Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller have performed some truly fantastic stunts together, from catching bullets in their teeth to using nail guns and somehow not puncturing each other in the process. It may be hard to believe, but at the time of writing this in 2020, Penn is 64 and teller is 71, yet their stage presence helps them maintain a somewhat younger aesthetic. Their matching gray pinstripe suits are basically canon with their entire performance. They are also known as one of famous magicians.
Born: March 5, 1955
The man named Steven Frayne, who created the persona of Dynamo, is one of the more recent famous magicians of our time. He’s mostly known for his show Dynami: Magician Impossible which ran for a few years in the UK, as well as other name-branded television shows, like Revealed and A-Z.
Dynamo actually received most of his notoriety from a show at Houdini’s Centenary Celebration in New York City back in 2001, where he caught the eye of a lot of people. He wanted to keep that momentum going, so like anyone living in the 2000s, he decided to take his presence to the internet. Dynamo moved to London and spent loaned money on camera equipment to build his persona and online personality. There’s not as much history on him as you would see for some of these other magicians, but his illusionary skills continue to impress. With his masterful magic skills, his performances have attracted thousands of participants to see him perform. This created a big attraction.
Born: December 17, 1982
The Great Lafayette
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a man by the name of Sigmund Neuberger stunned the world. He raked in money and fame by the bucketful, and literally went down in history with a very dramatic death.
There are conspiracy theories surrounding his death, and if they are true, it means he pulled off one of the greatest feigns ever.
In 1911, the Empire Palace Theater caught fire with a full house witnessing Neuberger’s tricks. He was in the process of trading places with a real live lion when the fire broke out. There are reports of his candles on stage being knocked over without anyone being near them, which ignited the fire.
He bowed. Like a champion, he bowed, and people thought it was all part of his act. The fire killed over ten people, and the theater burned up. Because of the bodies and the lack of coronary reports and technology during that time, it’s impossible to know if any of those bodies were actually his or not. It’s another great mystery, but he will forever be known as the most dramatic magician ever.
Born: 25 February 1871
Died: 9 May 1911
Jonathan Todd was an amateur magician starting out at the tender age of 15, being the ninth most famous magician on my list. At 21, he became the premier Junior magic-man at the Magic Castle located in Los Angeles. He has cited Dai Vernon and Jules Lanier as his top role models while honing his craft as a close-up magic warlock.
On top of it all, Todd is considered by many to be a savvy entrepreneur. He has successfully worked on cruise ships, in bank lobbies, and even for Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame. His ultimate triumph though lies in the creation of Hotel Magic LLC. It is his major platform to bring close-up tricks to hotels and travelers around the world. He is considered not only a magical genius but also one of the biblical business proportions. Indeed, his talent is very brave, not only a magician but also as a notorious businessman.
Mr. Lenier was a magician, and this magician was in the top 10 most famous magicians, who branched out into writing his own books as a way to inform the world at large of his craft. Some of his most famous titles include The Complete Hypnotic Act (1974), From Lenier’s Lair (1977), and Mentalistic Follo II (1994).
An inspiration to many modern masters, Lenier was more a teacher than a practicing magician. He was an Associate Editor of Genii magazine in the late 1960s. He regularly contributed columns like Lennier’s Lair and Knights from the Magic Castle. And like any great friend, he often Ghost wrote for Charlie Miller for Magicana Magazine when Miller was off performing on a cruise ship.
Lenier’s third and final wife Minnette Ella Gersh, a magician in her own right, used her skills similarly to her husband. She was a woman who taught stage magic as a means to improve kids’ reading, writing, and learning efficiency and aptitude.
Source: Magicana’s Youtube Chanel
Source: Magicana’s Youtube Chanel
Devant was a very popular magician with the wealthy set and royalty in Britain during the late 1800s. He was also a total jokester who incorporated humor into his acts to further the audience’s ultimate magical experience. He was truly the first of his craft to engage his onlookers with magic plus the original personal touch of laughter to boot. According to the majority of historians, Devant is regarded as England’s greatest magician of the 20th Century.
David Devant was a representative of the world-renowned Maskelyne and Cooke Magic Company. His performances and reputation as a lover of his audience led him to become a major participant in British Royal Command Performances. The scientific, often structured methods of visual magic transformed with his mastery of humor and the ultimate engagement of the audience he was serving. Legend has it that Queen Alexandra cracked up, out loud while a spectator to Devant’s “A Boy, Girl, and Eggs” skit at his first Royal Command performance. Her laughter ensued over Devant’s assistant losing track of a never-ending number of eggs being pulled from the magician’s hat. His most famous routines included the “Magic Kettle” and “Mascot Moth” which concluded with the disappearance of his wing-clad female assistant. Milbourne Christopher, a famed magic historian, called Devant “the Master performer of his time.”
Born: February 22, 1868
Died: October 13, 1941