Famous Magicians & Legendary Wizards

Legendary Wizards

Erichtho*—A legendary Thessalian witch, mentioned in Lucan’s Pharsālia, Dante’s Inferno, and Goethe’s Faust.

Jack O’Kent—A legendary wizard and hero of many folktales in Herefordshire and Gwent, who is most admired for his ability to “outwit the devil”7.

Merlin—The Wizard of Arthurian Legend, who is perhaps the most famous of all Legendary Wizards and appears in numerous works of fiction and fantasy.

Taliesin Europe—A Welsh Wizard who may have lived in the 6th Century and whose legends and poems are recorded in the Mabinogion, the first four Welsh tales contained in the collection of Lady Charlotte Guest4.

Famous Magicians

Alexander Herrmann (1844-1896) “Herrmann the Great”, a member of the famous Herrmann Family, whose appearance with wavy hair, moustache, goatee, and tailcoat became the model for other magicians3.

Carl Hertz* (1859-1924) noted for the “Phoenix” where his wife would enter a furnace and emerge unharmed.

Charles Joseph Carter* (1874-1936) “Carter the Great”

Ching Ling Foo* (1854-1922) the first modern Oriental magician to achieve world fame.

David Copperfield* (B. 9/16/56) born David Seth Kotkin, Copperfield is the first magician to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during his lifetime.

David Devant* (1868-1941) the creator of the “disappearing moth woman” Devant was renowned as a master of grand illusion and platform magic.

Douglas James Henning* (1947-2000) long-haired, bushy moustached Doug Henning changed the image of the stage magician when he rejected the traditional garb of tuxedo and top hat and opted for casual, colorful attire. Henning is credited for reviving the mass appeal
of stage magic during the 1970’s.

Eugene Laurant (1874-1944) born Eugene Lawrence Greenleaf Frank Van Hoven (1886-1929) a burlesque magician who found success by blending comedy with magic. His signature was “The Man Who Made Ice Famous” from the trick where he had an audience member hold a block of ice while he attempted to make a silk scarf appear inside of it9.

Fred Culpitt* (1877-1934) Culpitt is credited with inventing several magic tricks that are still regularly used by modern magicians. In addition to the Doll's House Illusion, the Costume Trunk Illusion and the Silk to Egg Trick, Culpitt is credited with devising methods for the Torn and restored newspaper trick.

Hamilton (1812-1877) French magician, Pierre Etienne Chocat, was the brother-in-law,
assistant and successor to Jean Robert-Houdin3.

Harry Anderson* (B. 10/14/1952) most famous for his role as judge Harry Stone on the TV sitcom, Night Court, Harry Anderson started his entertainment career as a teenage street magician on the streets of Chicago.

Harry Blackstone, Jr.* (1934-1997) the son of Harry Blackstone, Sr., his four magic kits were the best selling magic kits of all time.

Harry Blackstone, Sr.* (1885-1965) known as “The Great Blackstone”, his signature piece, “The Floating Lightbulb”, which was designed by Thomas Edison, was the first donated artifact accepted by the Smithsonian Institute in the field of magic.

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) is the name that defines “escape artist”. Born Erich Weiss, Houdini derived his name from that of idolized magician, Jean Robert-Houdin. Houdini is also noted as a ferocious debunker of fraudulent “mystics” 2, 6.

Harry Kellar (1849-1942) most remembered for the “Levitation of Princess Karnak”2.

Horace Goldin* (1873-1939)

Howard Thurston (1869-1936) called himself the “King of Cards” and was billed as “World’s Famous Magician”. Most notable for having the largest traveling Vaudeville magic show in his time, transporting his props in eight train cars.

Jean Robert-Houdin (1805-1871) credited as the “Father of modern magic”, Robert-Houdin is noted as one of the first magicians to attribute his magic to the natural as opposed to the supernatural. Robert-Houdin was also the first magician to use electromagnetic effects in his performance.

Jeff McBride* (B. 9/11/1959) also known as “Magnus” noted for his sleight of hand and manipulation of small objects and his contributions to Bizarre Magick.

Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser (1806-1875) a specialist in card tricks and inventor of several card manipulations, which magicians still use today.

John Henry Anderson* (1814-1874) born in Scotland, the “Great Wizard of the North” brought magic from the streets into the theaters.

John Nevil Maskelyne* (1839-1917) an English stage magician, the patriarch of the Maskelyne Family, father to magician Nevil (1863-1924) and grandfather to Nevil’s son, Jasper (1902-1973). Also a debunker of fraudulent spiritualists.

Johnny Carson (1925-1992) as a young man Carson performed as the “Great Carsoni” and although he never lost his love of the art of magic, he is most remembered for the television magic he created during his 30-year stint as the “King of Late Night Television” on the
Tonight Show2.

Julius Zancig* (1857-1929) born Julius Jörgensen, with his wife, Agnes, Zancig was a stage magician most noted for a spectacular mentalism act during the late 19th and early 20th centuries wherein they used an elaborate code called the “Zancig Code”.

Lance Burton* (B. 3/10/1960) in 1982, Burton became the youngest magician and only American to win the Grand Prix Award at FISM.

Louis Apollinaire Christien Emmanuel Comte* (1788-1859) "The Conjurer of the Three Kings" (Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe) 1

Nate Leipzig (1873-1939)

Nicola the Great (1880-1946), born William Mozart Nicol (in Burlington, Iowa, USA), toured the world from 1910 to 1939 and was billed as the “World’s Master Magician”8.

P. T. Selbit (1881 - 1938) an English magician credited with being the first person to perform the illusion of sawing a woman in half.

Paul Daniels (B. 1938) British magician born, born Newton Edward Daniels was the first magician outside of the United States to receive the prestigious "Magician of the Year’" Award in 1983.

Penn and Teller* today recognized as the greatest magicians of their time, Raymond Joseph Teller (B. 1948) and Penn Frazer Jillette (B. 1955) have delighted audiences for over thirty years with a unique blend of wry comedy and magic.

Richard Valentine Pitchford* (1895-1973) billed as “Cardini”, in 1958 the New England Magic Society proclaimed him as the "greatest exponent of pure sleight of hand the world has ever known".

Servais Le Roy* (1865-1953) famous for the development of the Asrah Levitation.

Siegfried & Roy until 1992, Siegfried Fischbacher (b. June 13, 1939) and Roy Horn (b. October 3, 1944) wowed Las Vegas audiences with by creating extraordinary illusions using their hand-raised white tigers.

Thomas Nelson Downs* (1867-1938) the “King of Koins” was a master of manipulation.

Tobias "Theo" Leendert Bamberg* (1875-1963) performed under “Okito, the Mystic”.

Will Goldston* (1878-1948) a popular magician in his time, most notable as the person who cracked the "Zancig Code" used by the Danish illusionists of that name.

*Wikipedia. 2009. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 Apr. 2002. <http://en.wikipedia.org/>
1. Jacques Voignier. "The Magic of Robert Houdin-Preface." The Miracle Factory. 2009. 21 Apr. 2009 <http://www.miraclefactory.net/roberthoudinpreface.htm>.
2. “Harry Houdini.”—“Harry Kellar”--"Johnny Carson." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Thomson Gale. 2004. HighBeam Research. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.highbeam.com>.
3. “Hamilton”--"Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin"-- "magic." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. HighBeam Research. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.highbeam.com>.
4. ARTHUR COTTERELL. "Taliesin." A Dictionary of World Mythology. 1997. HighBeam Research. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.highbeam.com>.
5. “Biographies” Magic Tricks. 2008. 22 Apr. 2009. http://www.magictricks.com/bios/whoswho-h.htm
6. "Houdini, Harry." U*X*L Encyclopedia of World Biography. The Gale Group, Inc. 2003. HighBeam Research. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.highbeam.com>.
7. JACQUELINE SIMPSON and STEVE ROUD. "Jack o' Kent." A Dictionary of English Folklore. 2000. HighBeam Research. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.highbeam.com>.
8. “Nicola the Great – world’s master magician” National Library of New Zealand. N.D. 22 Apr. 2009. <http://www.natlib.govt.nz/collections/highlighted-items/nicola-the-great>.
9. “Questions and Answers”. The Mollianus close up magic performer. N.D. 22 April, 2009. <http://www.themollianus.nl/questions_and_answers.html>