Entertainment

The Greatest Famous Magicians  

Lawrence Wong
Originally by
72k votes 11.2k voters 716.9k views 103 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 and the best movies about magicians.

list ordered by
1
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
Penn Jillette is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Teller is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
David Blaine is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
David Copperfield is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Shin Lim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
AmigoBomb added Shin Lim
7
Lance Burton is listed (or ranked) 7 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.
8
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
Criss Angel is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
Johnny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
Ricky Jay is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
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
Harry Blackstone, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 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.
14
Doug Henning is listed (or ranked) 14 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.
15
Mac King is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
James Randi is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 90
James Randi is a Canadian-American retired stage magician and scientific skeptic best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the co-founder of Committee for ...more
17
Derren Brown is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
Dai Vernon is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Mat Franco is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Fanimation03 added Mat Franco
20
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin is listed (or ranked) 20 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.
21
Howard Thurston is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Piff the Magic Dragon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Liz Zam added age 38
John van der Put, known as Piff the Magic Dragon, is a magician and comedian from the United Kingdom. He currently lives in Las Vegas with Mr Piffles, his magic performing Chihuahua.
23
The Amazing Johnathan is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Eugene Burger is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Christian Sheppard added age 79
Eugene Burger is an American magician. He was born in 1939 and is based in Chicago, Illinois. He is reputed for his close-up skills and his work in mentalism and bizarre magic. He is also a ...more
25
Neil Patrick Harris is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
age 45
Neil Patrick Harris is an American actor, writer, producer, director, comedian, magician, singer, and television host. He is known for playing Barney Stinson in the television comedy series How ...more