Magician David Copperfield (David Seth Kotkin) was born in Metuchen, New Jersey on this day in 1956. Copperfield began practicing magic as “Davino the Boy Magician” at the age of 10, and two years later became the youngest person ever admitted to the Society of American Magicians. He became world-famous with twenty television specials beginning in 1977, and is by far the most commercially successful magician in history. Copperfield’s most famous illusions have included making the Statue of Liberty disappear, levitating over the Grand Canyon, walking through the Great Wall of China, and flying without strings or other visible means of support, and he has fused theatrical narratives with magic tricks in a style that elevates magic to art. “My idols,” he says, “were Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Orson Welles and Walt Disney . . . they took their individual art forms and they moved people with them . . . I wanted to do the same thing with magic . . . to take magic and make it romantic and make it sexy and make it funny and make it goofy . . . all the different things that a songwriter gets to express or a filmmaker gets to express . . .” Copperfield is also the founder of Project Magic, a program that helps disabled people regain dexterity skills with sleight-of-hand. The program is in use as a form of physical therapy in more than a thousand hospitals and thirty countries worldwide. To see him flying, click here. To see him scaring children, click here.
“There is a safe spot within every tornado. My job is to find it.” —David Copperfield