Top 10 Famous Magicians

Famous magicians. Who springs to mind? Is it a magician that waves a wand to change world events? Is it a professional magician who practices tricking the eye? Magicians have practiced their art for centuries, charming, awing and scaring generations of people. Who might be ranked among the famous magicians of the world?

Ten Most Famous Magicians in the World

Who could think of magicians without considering Merlin? While the stories of King Arthur and his relationship with Merlin are not "factually correct," they have ensnared people for centuries. Based on more ancient writings, Merlin first appeared in literature c. 1135 in Historia Regnum Britanniae.

Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (1805-1871) was a French magician who was famous for his act "Second Sight." During "Second Sight," Robert-Houdin's son, blindfolded, would identify objects that Robert-Houdin was holding.

Ching Ling Foo (1854-1922) was one of the first Asian magicians to gain international acclaim. Born near Beijing, Foo amazed audiences by breathing smoke and fire, conjuring up a large bowl filled with water and then making a child appear in the bowl.

Erich Weiss (1874-1926) was inspired, in part, by Robert-Houdin to become Harry Houdini, one of the most famous American magicians. Among Houdini's accomplishments were escaping from the jail that held the assassin of President James A. Garfield, the Chinese Water Torture Escape and escaping from a box submerged in New York's East River.

Harry Blackstone, Sr. (1885-1965) may have been the epitome of the elegant professional magician, although some of his acts could be rather gruesome, such as sawing a shrieking woman in half. Blackstone was also known for "Vanishing Bird Cage," where he made a bird cage and canary disappear amongst a group of children and "The Floating Light Bulb," which involved a floating light bulb and lamp.

Johnny Carson (1925-2005) sometimes performed on The Tonight Show as the comical "Carnac the Magnificent" with deliberate mixed results. Carson was an amateur magician before becoming famous. He also hosted a number of magicians on the program. Among these was Israeli "psychic" Uri Geller (1946- ) in 1973. Geller was unwilling to try to bend spoons, or perform other tricks, after Carson prevented Geller from using his own props.

Move, now, to the magic of the silver screen. Disney's Fantasia debuted in 1940. Among the segments was "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which starred Mickey Mouse. Mickey is learning magic, but hasn't quite gotten control of his talents yet. In an attempt to avoid doing his chores, he animates a broom to get water from the well. This ultimately results in flooding the Sorcerer's laboratory, much to the Master Magician's displeasure.

David Copperfield was born in 1956. Famous for his television and stage shows, Copperfield's performances include making the Statue of Liberty disappear, walking through the Great Wall of China, and "walking" across the Grand Canyon. Copperfield also started Project Magic, an organization that helps rehabilitate those with disabilities through learning magic tricks.

Lance Burton (1960- ) has been awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence by the International Brotherhood of Magicians (1980) and the Grand Prix by the Federation International Society de Magic (1982). He has preformed on television and appears in Las Vegas.

David Blaine (1973- ) performs not only magic but also tests of endurance. Blaine's first television show, David Blaine: Street Magic was not "staged"; it was filmed on the street. Among his feats are being frozen alive and buried for seven days.

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The Harry Houdini biography continues to inspire magicians and skeptics to this day. 

The David Copperfield biography is an inspiring one. David Copperfield, or David Seth Kotkin, was born in New Jersey on September 16, 1956. He credits his grandfather for his interest in magic.

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