Top 10 Best Magicians of all Time

Magic means an illusionary art; an art that deludes the audience and sleight-of-hands that confuses as well as bewitches the audience, leaves them spellbound and content with happiness. That is what many great magicians have given us since centuries, decade after decade. Every era had seen an entertainer that not only entertained people but also, gave an art a whole new form and perspective. Lets have a look at top 10 such great magicians of all time.

Top 10 Magicians of all time:

10. Mac King

Mac King

Birth Name: Mac King

Nationality: American

Birth: December 2, 1959 (age 53)
Active since: 1981

Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Magical Consultant, Inventor, Actor, Writer

Magic fused with upbeat comedy is best known style statement for well known Mac King. After inheriting the interest in magic from his grandfather, Mac taught himself magic through incessant reading of magic books from local library and continuous practice led him to become “Magician of the year” and got him appreciation from all around the world. Some of his well known acts are Fig Newtons, Cloak of invisibility his signature illusion if swallowing of goldfish. He also runs his own show: The Mac King Comedy Magic Show.

9. Doug Henning

Doug Henning

Birth Name: Douglas James Henning

Nationality: Canadian

Birth: May 3, 1947

Death: February 7, 2000 (aged 52)
Active: 1961 – mid 1980s

Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Politician, Escape Artist

Best known magician of 1970s, Doug Henning had been a sensation in the world of magic and entertainment. His pose & personality had become a raging fever among audience all around the world and he is said to have revived magic as popular theatrical art form. He is best known for stage illusions, escapology, and master of misdirection. At the age of 52, his body succumbed to liver cancer and he eventually died.

8. Criss Angel

Criss Angel

Birth Name: Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos

Nationality: American

Birth: December 19, 1967 (age 44)
Active since: 1997

Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Entertainer

Criss Angel, who was fascinated by magic from a very young age, decided to make his career as magician despite of the opposition from his family and today he is another highly recognized magician of American origin. He is famously known through his successful show Criss Angel Mindfreak. His signature act is levitation and his main art involves materializing, dematerializing, transposing, levitating & manipulating matter and time. He is currently in a 10 year contract with Canadian Entertainment Company: Cirque du Soleil.

7. Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller

Penn:

Birth Name: Penn Fraser Jillette

Nationality: American

Birth: March 5, 1955 (age 57)
Active since: 1974

Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Actor, Inventor, Comedian, Musician, Writer

 

Teller:

Birth Name: Raymond Joseph Teller

Nationality: American
Birth: February 14, 1948 (age 64)
Active since: 1974

Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Painter, Writer, Actor

This duo has been raging the world of entertainment since the time they started. They met through a mutual friend and started acting as trio. They performed an act “Asparagus Valley Cultural Society” which was there first chance of getting recognized in the world of magic. However, later on this duo started their acts together and has entertained millions through TV & stage shows. They are famous for performing canny pranks, exposing frauds & gory tricks. In their acts, Penn is the raconteur & Teller is the one who usually performs and they both always put up an applauding show. They also adorn the famous TV show: Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

6. Harry Blackstone Sr.

Harry Blackstone Sr

Birth Name: Harry Bouton

Nationality: American
Birth: September 27, 1885
Death: November 16, 1965 (aged 80)
Active since: 1900 – 1965

Forte: Magician, Illusionist

Famously known as “The Great Blackstone” & “Fredrick the Great”, he was the 20th century magician who found his love for magic at the age of eight and vowed to make his name in the world of magic at the age of twelve when he saw legendary magician Harry Keller performing. He was an autodidact who read books on magic and practiced on his own. His main breakthrough was during World War II as USO entertainer who toured his show across 165 military bases. His popular magic tricks are The Garden of Flowers, sawing a woman in half, The Vanishing Birdcage, The Floating Light Bulb, Dancing Handkerchief etc.

5. Jean Eugéne Robert-Houdin 

Jean Eugene
Birth Name: Jean Eugène Robert
• Nationality: French
Birth: December 6, 1805
Death: June 13, 1871 (aged 65)
Active since: 1820(approx.) – 1855
Forte: Magician, Writer, Illusionist, Clockmaker, Inventor

Jean Eugéne Robert-Houdin has been widely famous for his adroitness in art of conjuring. Revered as “Father of Modern Magic” and born as Jean Eugene Robert, this man is another example of excellence in the field of magic and illusion. He got his present name from his beloved wife Josèphe Cecile Houdin whose name he hyphenated with his own to show his love for her. Magic had come to him perchance when he bought wrong books from a bookseller and those books were about magic which fascinated him so much, he started training under a local magician & as taught, worked incessantly from there own and made history. Some of his most recognized illusions are The Ethereal Suspension, The Marvellous Orange Tree, Robert-Houdin’s Portfolio, and The Light & Heavy Chest. His son’s death led to stress which further led to pneumonia and he passed away at the age of 65 leaving behind his name & his art for the world to remember.

4. Lance Burton

Lance Burton

Birth Name: William Lance Burton
Nationality: American
Birth: March 10, 1960 (age 52)
Active since: 1977 – 2010
Forte: Stage Magician, Illusionist, Entertainer

Fascinated by magic at the age of 5, this young child discovered the love of life that led him to such soaring heights that world wasn’t aware of, at that point of time. Walking on footsteps of a recognized magician, Harry Collins at that time, he started his journey into the world of magic in 1977 & after 3 years in 1980, he earned his first award which was “Gold Medal of Excellence” from International Brotherhood of Magicians. From then on, he never stopped performing and during this journey, he even signed the longest contract of 13 years ever given to anybody in history for entertainment, with Monte Carlo resort in Las Vegas. Another highly recognized achievement of his life have been in 1982, when he made a new record of being the youngest magician and first American to win the “Grand Prix” prize of Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM) competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has also performed for 5 million audiences at Monte Carlo which grossed more than $200 million.

3. David Blaine

David Blaine

Birth Name: David Blaine White
Nationality: American
Birth: April 4, 1973 (age 39)
Active since: 1997 – Present
Forte: Illusionist, Endurance Artist

Unlike his many counterparts, David Blaine one of those few celebrities who choose to live a very simple and low-profile life. Born to a school teacher mother and wartime soldier, David Blaine started taking interest in magic when he was only 4 years old. David Blaine shot to fame with his show “David Magic: Street Magic” where he was shown roaming around in various cities around the world and entertaining strangers on the street with his illusions. From 1999, David has been actively performing activities displaying super-human endurance. Some of his accomplished feats are:
Buried in a transparent box under 3 ton water without any food supply for seven days. He ate nothing during this time and drank 2 or 3 teaspoons of water every day.

  • Stayed in a 3’ x 7’ feet glass box for 44 days. The box was suspended over river Thames in London. During these 44 days David did not eat anything and drank 4 – 5 litres water a day. David lost 26 kgs of wait during this stunt.
  • Held world record for holding breath for 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds under water.
  • Got himself chained to a gyroscope that rotated at speed of 8 rotations per minute for 52 hours without food or water supply. In the end he performed an escape and jumped on a surface that was 30’ below him.
  • In October 2012 David Blaine started a 72 hour long endurance performance during which he wore a heavy mail suit and stood under a direct discharge of 1 million volts. The discharged was never disrupted throughout the performance. However at the end of the performance, David announced his retirement from endurance stunts.

2. Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini

Birth Name: Erik Weisz
Nationality: American
Birth: March 24, 1874
Died: October 31, 1926
Active Years: 1891 – 1926
Forte: Magician, Illusionist, Escapologist

Even after 84 years of his death, born in Budapest and brought up in America, Harry Houdini is still world’s most admired escape artist. Harry Houdini started as a street trapeze artist, tried various forms of street magic and found his fame in art of escapism. Throughout the world he was known as “The Handcuff King” or “Handcuff Houdini”. Houdini shot to fame in 1891 when, on a tour of European countries, he challenged police department of every city he stayed in. He challenged the police officers to lock in him their strictest and trickiest shackles or cell. He came out as a winner at the end of every such contest. In 1912, Houdini performed his most famous act: “The Chinese Water Torture Cell’. In this act he escaped from a closed glass chamber filled with water in which he was suspended upside down. His legs and top of the chamber were locked with shackles. He later performed many more great escapes: escape from a grave, escape from a crate dipped in river, etc. Harry Houdini is considered one of the biggest escapists and has numerous of museums and movies after his life.

1. David Copperfield

David Cooperfield

Birth Name: David Seth Kotkin
Nationality: American
Birth: September 16, 1956 (age 56)
Active since: 1974
Forte: Magician, Illusionist

With the onset of practicing magic at the age of 10, this living legend is considered to be the best magician of all times. At the beginning of his career 46 years ago, he was known as “Davino the boy magician”, who started studying at Society of American Magicians (it is the oldest fraternal organization for magic) and moved on to teaching magic at the age of 16. His stature can be proven with a fact that he has been able to get his name registered in Guinness Book of Records 11 times for various reasons (largest audience, largest illusion etc). He has won 21 Emmy awards and is the only living magician to have a star on his name Hollywood walk of fame. He has been on Forbes list of most powerful celebrities around the globe. His biggest tricks include: walking through the Great Wall of China, making the Statue of Liberty disappear.

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