Magic The Greatest Famous Magicians  

Lawrence Wong
Originally by
66.7k votes 10.3k voters 687.5k views 105 items

List Rules Must be magicians or illusionists that exist(ed) in real life

The most famous magicians in the world are known for performing amazing magic tricks, stunning illusions, and starring in mesmerizing magic shows. The list of the greatest magicians includes famous illusionists like Criss Angel and David Copperfield, endurance artists like David Blaine, and old school magicians like Penn & Teller, and many Vegas magicians. Whatever your favorite magic style, this list of illusionists and magicians has all the greatest magic men and women in history.

The world of magic is a skilled and complicated place, shrouded in secrecy and mystery. The secrets of the world's greatest magic tricks are known by few, revered by many, and shared by almost no one. From the granddaddy of all magicians, Harry Houdini, to the new school of comic magicians and Las Vegas staples like The Amazing Johnathan, there are always new magicians coming up making their audience ponder the question of "how'd they do that?" From huge magician names, to lesser known illusionists, and arguably the best magicians ever, the world of magic isn't just for Harry Potter books. Us muggles can enjoy it too.

Who is the best magician in the world? This is not a complete list of all magicians, so if you don't see your favorite magician or the best illusionist (according to you) on here, make sure to add them to this magicians list so others can vote for them as their new favorite illusionist. 

If all this magic has raised your desire to see some great magic, get inspired with film quotes and movie clips from magic films like Now You See Me and The Prestige. And don't forget to see what these great magicians have inspired on the list of the greatest fictional magicians.

list ordered by

1
3,165 622
Harry Houdini is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Dec. at 52 (1874-1926) Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry Handcuff ...more

2
2,503 1,131
David Blaine is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 45 David Blaine is an American magician, illusionist and endurance artist. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has made his name as a performer of street and close-up ...more

3
2,311 1,035
David Copperfield is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 62 David Copperfield is an American illusionist, and has been described by Forbes as the most commercially successful magician in history. Copperfield's television specials have won 21 Emmy Awards ...more

4
1,881 1,704
Criss Angel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 51 Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, better known by the stage name Criss Angel, is an American magician and illusionist. Angel began his career in New York City, before moving his base of ...more

5
1,581 653
Penn Jillette is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 63 Penn Fraser Jillette is an American magician, juggler, comedian, musician, inventor, actor, and best-selling author known for his work with fellow magician Teller in the team Penn & Teller. ...more

6
533 256
Shin Lim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
AmigoBomb added Shin Lim

7
1,666 642
Teller is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 71 Teller is an American magician, illusionist, actor, comedian, writer, director and usually silent half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with Penn Jillette. Teller is an atheist, ...more

8
631 402
Harry Blackstone, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Dec. at 80 (1885-1965) Harry Blackstone was a famed stage magician and illusionist of the 20th century. Blackstone was born Harry Bouton in Chicago, Illinois, he began his career as a magician in his teens and was ...more

9
831 812
Doug Henning is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
VinceVargas added Dec. at 53 (1947-2000) Douglas James Henning was a Canadian magician, illusionist, escape artist and politician.

10
895 686
Lance Burton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 58 William Lance Burton is an American stage magician. He performed more than 5,000 shows in Las Vegas for over 5,000,000 people. In 2010 he ended his 31-year career.

11
172 173
Mat Franco is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
PixarAnimate added Mat Franco

12
642 633
Harry Anderson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 66 Harry Laverne Anderson is an American actor, writer, director and magician. He is best known for the role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984-1992 television series Night Court. In addition to ...more

13
1,452 1,072
Dynamo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 36 Steven Frayne, commonly known by his stage name "Dynamo", is an English magician, best known for his show Dynamo: Magician Impossible. Dynamo was born in Bradford, England.

14
571 700
The Amazing Johnathan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 60 John Edward Szeles, better known by the stage name The Amazing Johnathan, is an American stand-up comedian/magician. His act is mostly composed of hijinks, interaction with one specific audience ...more

15
478 329
Harry Blackstone, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
JimmyHale added Dec. at 63 (1934-1997) I would rank the Amazing Blackstones, Harry Jr and Harry Sr as number three and four respectively behind Houdini and Copperfield.  Classic magic, fantastic showmanship; Jr was a consummate performer. Harry Blackstone, Jr. was an American stage magician, author, and television performer.

16
539 393
Dai Vernon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
ZachMerriman added Dec. at 98 (1894-1992) Dai Vernon, aka The Professor, was a Canadian magician. His expert sleight of hand technique and extensive knowledge garnered him respect among fellow magicians. His influence was considerable ...more

17
373 359
Howard Thurston is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
ChristopherHartnett added Dec. at 67 (1869-1936) Howard Thurston was a stage magician from Columbus, Ohio, United States. His childhood was unhappy and he ran away to join the circus, where his future partner Harry Kellar also performed. ...more

18
653 563
Derren Brown is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 47 Derren Brown is an English illusionist, mentalist, trickster, hypnotist, painter, writer, and sceptic. He is known for his appearances in television specials, stage productions, and British ...more

19
419 474
Mac King is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 59 Mac King is a comedy magician who has performed on television specials, often as a co-host. He has his own family-friendly show, "The Mac King Comedy Magic Show," at the Harrah's Las ...more

20
484 430
Ricky Jay is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 71 Richard Jay Potash (June 26, 1946 - November 24, 2018), known professionally as Ricky Jay, was an American stage magician, actor, bibliophile, and writer. In a profile for The New Yorker, Mark ...more

21
216 86
Johnny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
JakeySmith added 83

Along with his wife Pamela Hayes, he performs a slapstick comic magical act in which he plays the role of a dapper but buffoonish vaudeville gentleman, with a gum-popping assistant, and they endure various mishaps during their performance. One of his trademarks is producing pure white doves on stage, which are trained to play along with the act once they have appeared.

Johnny Thompson is a Polish American Las Vegas illusionist who performs under the stage name The Great Tomsoni with his wife, Pamela Hayes. They have a comedic slapstick act with the ...more

22
312 515
Smoothini is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Magic Man added Smoothini America's Got Talent

23
296 199
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Dec. at 66 (1805-1871) Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin was a French magician. He is widely considered the father of the modern style of conjuring.

24
352 514
Mark Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 90 James "Mark" Wilson is an American magician and author. He is widely credited as becoming the first major "television magician" and in the process establishing the viability ...more

25
421 464
Jeff McBride is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 59 Jeff McBride is an American magician from Monticello, New York. He is known for his sleight of hand skills and specializes in the manipulation of playing cards, coins, and other small objects. ...more