Entertainment

The Greatest Famous Magicians 

Lawrence Wong
Originally by
Updated March 16, 2020 74.5k votes 11.6k voters 733.7k views 92 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)

Birthplace: Budapest, 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
Teller is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Teller Age: 71

Birthplace: Philadelphia, 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, ...more
3
David Copperfield is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 62

Birthplace: Metuchen, 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
4
Penn Jillette is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 63

Birthplace: USA, Massachusetts, Greenfield

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 ...more
5
David Blaine is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 45

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

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 ...more
6
Harry Blackstone, Sr. is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Dec. at 80 (1885-1965)

Birthplace: Chicago, 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
7
Lance Burton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Lance Burton Age: 58

Birthplace: Columbia, Kentucky, United States of America

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
8
Johnny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
JakeySmith added Age: 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.

9
Shin Lim is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
AmigoBomb added Shin Lim
10
Harry Blackstone, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
JimmyHale added Dec. at 63 (1934-1997)

Birthplace: Three 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.
11
Derren Brown is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Derren Brown Age: 47

Birthplace: Purley, London, London, United Kingdom

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 ...more
12
James Randi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 90

Birthplace: Toronto, Canada

James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American retired stage magician and a scientific skeptic who has extensively challenged paranormal and ...more
13
Ricky Jay is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 71

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

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
14
Dai Vernon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
ZachMerriman added Dec. at 98 (1894-1992)

Birthplace: Ottawa, 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
15
Doug Henning is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
VinceVargas added Doug Henning Dec. at 53 (1947-2000)

Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Douglas James Henning (May 3, 1947 – February 7, 2000) was a Canadian magician, illusionist, escape artist and politician.
16
Harry Anderson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 66

Birthplace: Newport, 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 ...more
17
Jean Eugène Rober... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Dec. at 66 (1805-1871)

Birthplace: Blois, 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 ...more
18
Mac King is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 59

Birthplace: Hopkinsville, 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 ...more
19
Howard Thurston is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
ChristopherHartnett added Dec. at 67 (1869-1936)

Birthplace: Columbus, 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 ...more
20
Eugene Burger is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Christian Sheppard added Age: 79

Birthplace: Chicago, 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 ...more
21
Siegfried Fischbacher is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 79

Birthplace: Rosenheim, Germany

Siegfried Fischbacher is a magician.
22
Dynamo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 36

Birthplace: Bradford, United Kingdom

Steven Frayne (born 17 December 1982), better known by his stage name Dynamo, is an English magician born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. His television show Dynamo: Magician Impossible ran from ...more
23
Michael Ammar is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
AddWilson added Age: 62

Birthplace: Logan, 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.
24
Criss Angel is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Age: 51

Birthplace: Town of Hempstead, New York, United States of America

Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos (Greek: Χριστόφορος Νικόλαος Σαραντάκος; born December 19, 1967), known by the stage name Criss Angel, is an American magician, illusionist and musician. Angel ...more
25
Piff the Magic Dragon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Famous Magicians
Liz Zam added Age: 38

Birthplace: London, United Kingdom

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.