7 junio, 2024

The 27 most famous magicians and illusionists in history

Between the famous magicians and illusionists of history the classics Houdini, Copperfield or Fu-Manchu stand out, but there are many more who, thanks to their tricks and their innovation in this art, have managed to keep alive a cultural sector that was born thousands of years ago.

Illusionists, or magicians, are in the business of entertaining the public, whether in a theater, on the street, on television or at a private party, with their amazing tricks and actions that sometimes seem to break all the laws of magic. physics, logic and common sense.

There are several types of magicians: card magicians (those who use cards for their tricks), numismagos (they use coins), escapists (magicians specialized in escaping from traps, boxes, cages, straitjackets, releasing handcuffs or chains, etc.), mentalists (diviners of the thoughts of the spectators through questions or missions that they entrust to the public), etc.

These trick artists, specialists in illusion, aces of the trick, have always attracted the attention of the human being. As soon as there is a magician in a room or in a group of friends, the others will drop everything they are doing to give him immediate attention.

Illusionism was known throughout history as white magic (to distinguish it from satanic black magic), simulated magic, or conjuring.

Most famous magicians and illusionists

1. The Great Houdini (Hungary, 1874-1926)

Very famous Hungarian escapist, emigrated to the United States, where he joined a circus to show his amazing and incredible escapades. Houdini was able to escape from chains, handcuffs, straitjackets, barred boxes, cages, etc.

His most famous trick was «the metamorphosis». It consisted of being put in a sack and then in a box, all tied up with padlocks and chains. Afterwards, a girl or an assistant would climb on top of the box and put up a curtain for a few seconds. Then Houdini would appear released, out of the bag, and the girl or the assistant inside the bag and inside the box.

Without a doubt, he is the number 1 magician par excellence. Books have been written about him, movies have been made, and much ink circulated discussing his impossible feats.

2. Fu-Manchu (United Kingdom, 1904-1974)

He is remembered for his famous “shadow puppets”, figures he made with his hands that resembled scenes from a movie, done with great skill and speed in front of the public.

He mastered many classic magic tricks. She was a polyglot (she spoke several languages) and a great mass communicator. She worked with many assistants and humor was always present in her shows.

3. Richiardi Jr. (Peru, 1923-1985)

He always began his performances with the rice cup trick, which he invented at the age of 4. He turned cups of water into cups of rice. He considered that starting this trick gave him luck for the rest of the show.

In addition to being a magician and illusionist, he was a singer, dancer and actor. His shows were very complete and the staging almost unbeatable due to this great versatility.

4. Jasper Maskelyne (UK, 1902-1970)

He was known as «the magician of war» because he participated in World War II. This British illusionist was the inventor of a trick that would not be for the classic public sitting in his seats, but for the Nazis.

He prepared a great deception for them in el-Alamein, in northern Egypt, creating the illusion of a fake army using cardboard tanks, fake train tracks, barracks, water tanks… All fake! A fake, as the Anglo-Saxons would say. The ploy worked and the Nazis moved to avoid the attack by these «big troops», leading the Allies to win the Battle of el-Alamein.

5. Dai Vernon (Canada, 1894-1992)

He was known as «the professor» by the rest of the world’s magicians. This Canadian illusionist became famous for being the only one who managed to fool the Great Houdini, who had challenged all magicians, assuring that he was capable of discovering any trick of any magician, as long as they allowed him to see it three times in a row.

Dai Vernon used, to deceive the Great Houdini, the trick of the letter, called «the ambitious letter». It was a simple trick where a card was introduced through the center of the deck and then that card was the one that was right on top, which was turned over.

Well, Houdini couldn’t figure out what the trick was when he saw it three times. Confident of his ability, Dai allowed him to see the trick five more times, making a total of eight. Houdini gave up. He was also a specialist in improving tricks of other magicians.

6. David Blaine (United States, 1973)

At the end of the 90s of the 20th century, this spectacular magician appeared who, among other tricks, had himself burned alive or placed in a block of ice for 63 hours. Those and other physical feats of the style are the mark of this illusionist.

7. Siegfried Fischbacher (Germany, 1939-2021)

This German magician used white Siberian tigers (the biggest and strongest) and lions to practice his magic. Unfortunately, at one show, one of the tigers bit him on the neck when he was putting his head in its mouth, shattering most of his skull, as well as inflicting severe injuries that caused him to lose a great deal of blood. They managed to save his life, but obviously the show disappeared.

8. David Copperfield (United States, 1956)

It is possible that he is the most famous modern magician. He acted alone and some of his tricks were making the Statue of Liberty disappear, going through the Great Wall of China or floating over the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.

9. Criss Angel (United States, 1967)

An illusionist and escape artist, capable of walking between two buildings in front of a crowd, walking on water, or cutting himself in two. He is also an expert in levitation tricks.

10. Penn and Teller (United States, 1955, 1948)

Penn Jillete and Raymond Teller are a duo that made it big in the late 1980s. They were humorous magicians and would sometimes show audiences how they performed the trick, explaining it, like their famous “Balls and Cups” trick. Teller never spoke during performances.

11. Dynamo (UK, 1982)

For many fans, he is the best magician today. As Criss Angel, he walks on water, walks through windows, or reads the public’s mind.

12. Herbert Becker (United States, 1958)

Famous magician who created several television shows. In the 1970s he was named America’s Best Magician.

13. Uri Geller (Israel, 1946)

Known throughout the world during the 70s and 80s, also in Spain, he rose to fame for bending spoons with his mind in front of the television camera, giving instructions so that viewers could also do it at home, like him. .

In Spain he participated for the first time in the program very direct, by José María Íñigo. The next day, the whole country talked about nothing else.

14. Nicolae Filipp Ladru (1926, without further information)

The scientific wizard. Actually, he was a renowned physicist who used illusionism to show the effects of light, sound, electricity or magnetism.

His tricks were very popular in France and other European countries. In Paris a special room was built for him, so that he could safely carry out all his trick-experiments.

15. Kyo (Soviet Union, 1894-1965)

Emil Teodorovich Girshfeld Renard, first a miniature theater actor, then a circus artist and finally an illusionist. This Russian did unique numbers with aquariums, turned women into lions or made grand pianos fly.

16. Tamariz (Spain, 1942)

Juan Tamariz specialized in card magic, coin magic and close-up magic. This man from Madrid has performed in venues all over the world, always obtaining public recognition. He is a very important magician and highly valued internationally.

He is considered a great magic theorist, having created a large number of magical passes and routines used by many modern magicians.

He created the «red herring» method, through which the viewer must abandon the desire to discover the secret of the magic trick and focus only on enjoying it and living it.

17. Jorge Blass (Spain, 1980)

Actor and magician, this Spanish illusionist sold one of his tricks to the famous David Copperfield.

18. Inés «the magician» (Spain, 1976)

There aren’t too many women in this world, but here’s one. She practices close-up magic with cards, coins, rings and other small objects that she places very close to the viewer.

19. The pop magician (Spain, 1986)

Antonio Díaz, better known as the pop magician, is a young illusionist and magician who has great success with his teleportation show.

20. Paulino Gil (Spain)

This veteran from Zamora continues to dazzle audiences of all ages with his fast, fun tricks and his connection with the crowd.

A few years ago he received an important international prize in recognition of his long artistic work. His show is titled check, is the story of a traveler who arrives at a hotel. From there, magic is the protagonist.

21. Yunke (Spain)

Very popular current Spanish magician, who surprises everyone with a totally different way of understanding magic than what is conventional. He creates magical spaces that will surprise and agitate the viewer.

22. Hector Mancha (Spain, 1977)

Interesting Spanish magician, from the Canary Islands, known for a brilliant trick where he makes bills appear and disappear. He was World Magic Champion in 2015. He admits to liking the «pickpocket», tricks that consist of taking objects from the spectators without them noticing.

Other famous magicians and illusionists

Alexander Herrmann (French, 1844-1896). Apollo Robbins (United States, 1974). The Great Randi (Canada, 1928-2020). Robert Houdin (French, 1805-1871). Dante the Magician (Denmark, 1883-1955).


The Top Tens (Ten Magicians of the 20th Century).
EL PAÍS, Leisure Guide. The Spanish magicians that you should know.

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