Entertainment
12.4k voters

The Greatest Famous Magicians

Updated March 16, 2020 61.2k votes 12.4k voters 758.5k views87 items

List RulesMust 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 and the best movies about magicians.

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    Harry Houdini

    Dec. at 52 (1874-1926)

    BirthplaceBudapest, Hungary

    Harry Houdini (; born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational...  more
  • 2
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    Teller

    Age: 73

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller on February 14, 1948) is an American magician, illusionist, writer, actor, painter, and film director. He is half of the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, along with...  more
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    1,694
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    BirthplaceGreenfield, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Penn Fraser Jillette (born March 5, 1955) is an American magician, actor, musician, inventor, television personality, and best-selling author best known for his work with fellow magician Teller as...  more
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    BirthplaceMetuchen, New Jersey, USA

    David Seth Kotkin (born September 16, 1956), known professionally as David Copperfield, is an American magician, described by Forbes as the most commercially successful magician in...  more
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    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.

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    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    David Blaine White (born April 4, 1973) is an American illusionist, endurance artist and extreme performer. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has set and broken several...  more
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    700
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    Harry Blackstone, Sr.

    Dec. at 80 (1885-1965)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Harry Bouton Blackstone (born Henry Boughton; September 27, 1885 – November 16, 1965) was a famed stage magician and illusionist of the 20th century. Blackstone was born Harry Bouton in Chicago,...  more
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    Lance Burton

    Age: 61

    BirthplaceColumbia, Kentucky, USA

    William Lance Burton (born March 10, 1960 in Columbia, Kentucky) is an American stage magician. He performed more than 15,000 shows in Las Vegas for over 5,000,000 people. In 2010 he ended his...  more
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    Shin Lim

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    Harry Blackstone, Jr.

    Dec. at 62 (1934-1997)

    BirthplaceThree Rivers, Michigan

    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.
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    BirthplaceToronto, Canada

    James Randi (August 7, 1928 – October 20, 2020) was a Canadian-American retired stage magician and a scientific skeptic who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi was...  more
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    Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

    Dec. at 65 (1805-1871)

    BirthplaceBlois, France

    Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (December 7, 1805 – June 13, 1871) was a French watchmaker, magician and illusionist, widely recognized as the father of the modern style of conjuring. He transformed magic...  more
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    587
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    Ricky Jay

    Age: 73

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA

    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 Singer...  more
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    Dai Vernon

    Dec. at 98 (1894-1992)

    BirthplaceOttawa, Canada

    Dai Vernon (pronounced alternatively as DIE or as DAY as in David) (June 11, 1894 – August 21, 1992), a.k.a. The Professor, was a Canadian magician. His expert sleight of hand technique and...  more
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    Derren Brown

    Age: 50

    BirthplaceCroydon, Surrey, England, UK

    Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English mentalist, illusionist, and author. Since his television debut with Derren Brown: Mind Control in 2000, Brown has produced several other shows for...  more
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    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Eugene Burger (June 1, 1939 – August 8, 2017) was an American magician. He was born in 1939 and was based in Chicago, Illinois. He was reputed for his close-up skills and his work in mentalism and...  more
  • 17
    509
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    Mac King

    Age: 61

    BirthplaceHopkinsville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Mac King (born December 2, 1959) is an American 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...  more
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    Doug Henning

    Dec. at 52 (1947-2000)

    BirthplaceWinnipeg, Canada

    Douglas James Henning (May 3, 1947 – February 7, 2000) was a Canadian magician, illusionist, escape artist and politician....  more
  • 19
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    Harry Anderson

    Dec. at 65 (1952-2018)

    BirthplaceNewport, Rhode Island, United States of America

    Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian, and magician. He is best known for the lead role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–1992 television series...  more
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    Howard Thurston

    Dec. at 66 (1869-1936)

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio

    Howard Thurston (July 20, 1869 – April 13, 1936) 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...  more
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    BirthplaceLogan, West Virginia

    Michael Ammar (born June 25, 1956) is an American close-up magician. He is recognized worldwide as one of the greatest living magicians....  more
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    Dante

    Dec. at 71 (1883-1955)

    BirthplaceCopenhagen, Denmark

    Harry August Jansen (October 3, 1883 – June 15, 1955) was a Danish-born entertainer who settled in the United States. He traveled the world as a professional magician under the name Dante the...  more
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    BirthplaceSouth Bank, United Kingdom

    Newton Edward Daniels (6 April 1938 – 17 March 2016), known professionally as Paul Daniels, was an English magician and television presenter. He achieved international fame through his television...  more
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    BirthplaceRosenheim, Germany

    Siegfried Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021) was a magician, and one-half of the Siegfried & Roy duo, a pair of German-American magicians and entertainers, best known for their...  more
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    Justin Miller

    If you have been in magic more than 1 week..you know who Justin Miller is!

    Justin Miller has created some of the most astounding and visual effects for the magic and mentalism community. With over 41 DVD's, over 4k effects created, Justin has made his mark on the community of wizards. His original magic and mentalism been seen on SyFy's Wizard Wars, Americas Got Talent, FOX News, The world Famous Magic Castle and many T.V. and Movies. His influence has been hailed as game changing energy by his students at his ORIGINAL On-Line School, Meeting Of The Minds.