12.2k voters

The Greatest Famous Magicians

Updated March 16, 2020 64.6k votes 12.2k voters 750.7k 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.

  • Harry Houdini1

    Harry Houdini

    Dec. at 52 (1874-1926)

    BirthplaceBudapest, Hungary

    Harry Houdini (; born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October... more on Wikipedia
  • Teller2


    Age: 72

    BirthplaceUSA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Teller (born Raymond Joseph Teller on February 14, 1948) is an American magician, illusionist,... more on Wikipedia
  • Penn Jillette3

    BirthplaceUSA, Massachusetts, Greenfield

    Penn Fraser Jillette (born March 5, 1955) is an American magician, actor, musician, inventor,... more on Wikipedia
  • David Copperfield4

    BirthplaceMetuchen, New Jersey, United States of America

    David Seth Kotkin (born September 16, 1956), known professionally as David Copperfield, is an... more on Wikipedia
  • Johnny Thompson5

    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.

  • David Blaine6

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    David Blaine White (born April 4, 1973) is an American illusionist, endurance artist and... more on Wikipedia
  • Harry Blackstone, Sr.7

    Harry Blackstone, Sr.

    Dec. at 80 (1885-1965)

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Harry Bouton Blackstone (born Henry Boughton; September 27, 1885 – November 16, 1965) was a... more on Wikipedia
  • Lance Burton8

    Lance Burton

    Age: 60

    BirthplaceColumbia, Kentucky, United States of America

    William Lance Burton (born March 10, 1960 in Columbia, Kentucky) is an American stage... more on Wikipedia
  • Shin Lim9

    Shin Lim

  • Harry Blackstone, Jr.10

    Harry Blackstone, Jr.

    Dec. at 63 (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.
  • James Randi11

    BirthplaceToronto, Canada

    James Randi (August 7, 1928 – October 20, 2020) was a Canadian-American retired stage magician... more on Wikipedia
  • Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin12

    Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

    Dec. at 66 (1805-1871)

    BirthplaceBlois, France

    Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin (December 7, 1805 – June 13, 1871) was a French watchmaker, magician... more on Wikipedia
  • Ricky Jay13

    Ricky Jay

    Age: 72

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Richard Jay Potash (June 26, 1946 – November 24, 2018), known professionally as Ricky Jay, was... more on Wikipedia
  • Derren Brown14

    Derren Brown

    Age: 49

    BirthplacePurley, London, London, United Kingdom

    Derren Brown (born 27 February 1971) is an English mentalist, illusionist, and author. Since... more on Wikipedia
  • Dai Vernon15

    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,... more on Wikipedia
  • Eugene Burger16

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois

    Eugene Burger (June 1, 1939 – August 8, 2017) was an American magician. He was born in 1939... more on Wikipedia
  • Mac King17

    Mac King

    Age: 60

    BirthplaceHopkinsville, Kentucky, United States of America

    Mac King (born December 2, 1959) is an American magician who has performed on television... more on Wikipedia
  • Doug Henning18

    Doug Henning

    Dec. at 53 (1947-2000)

    BirthplaceWinnipeg, Canada

    Douglas James Henning (May 3, 1947 – February 7, 2000) was a Canadian magician, illusionist,... more on Wikipedia
  • Harry Anderson19

    BirthplaceNewport, Rhode Island, United States of America

    Harry Laverne Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) was an American actor, comedian,... more on Wikipedia
  • Howard Thurston20

    Howard Thurston

    Dec. at 67 (1869-1936)

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio

    Howard Thurston (July 20, 1869 – April 13, 1936) was a stage magician from Columbus, Ohio,... more on Wikipedia
  • Michael Ammar21

    BirthplaceLogan, West Virginia

    Michael Ammar (born June 25, 1956) is an American close-up magician. He is recognized... more on Wikipedia
  • Justin Miller22

    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. 

  • Paul Daniels23

    BirthplaceSouth Bank, United Kingdom

    Newton Edward Daniels (6 April 1938 – 17 March 2016), known professionally as Paul Daniels,... more on Wikipedia
  • Dante24


    Dec. at 72 (1883-1955)

    BirthplaceCopenhagen, Denmark

    Harry August Jansen (October 3, 1883 – June 15, 1955) was a Danish-born entertainer who... more on Wikipedia
  • Siegfried Fischbacher25

    BirthplaceRosenheim, Germany

    Siegfried Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021) was a magician, and one-half of the... more on Wikipedia