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Things We Just Learned About David Copperfield

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Magic has fascinated us throughout history. When something extraordinary happens right before our eyes that we can't readily explain, we're not only amazed, but also immediately curious to know how they did that. In recent history, the most successful magicians have developed elaborate stage shows performed on tour, in tourist destinations, or on TV. Illusionist David Copperfield is one of the most well-known and commercially successful magicians. 

Copperfield, born David Kotkin, took to performing at a young age. His flashy illusions grew even larger as he performed a string of CBS television specials throughout the 1980s, making him a household name. In the '90s, he played Las Vegas, Broadway, and toured the nation. Although everything he's involved in has a magical touch, his success is real.

  • Photo: Amazon

    Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the hottest acts around in the late '70s. When the group released its greatest hits album and followed with a tour, nearly every venue was sold out. The show was a spectacle featuring wild costumes, lights, lasers, choreography - and the magic of a very young David Copperfield.

    For one trick, the magician made the band disappear only to show up in a monolith over the heads of the audience.

  • Photo: Bart Sherkow / Shutterstock.com

    David Copperfield and supermodel Claudia Schiffer dated for six years and were briefly engaged during the '90s. But Paris Match magazine did not believe the couple was legitimate.

    The French periodical ran a story saying Copperfield was paying Schiffer to appear as his girlfriend. Copperfield sued for $30 million and received a retraction and undisclosed settlement.

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    He Had A Close Call When Rehearsal Of An Underwater Trick Went Wrong

    Video: YouTube

    Magic tricks where someone appears to be in danger are a classic of the art form: They get people emotionally involved and their adrenaline pumping. But often, danger really is involved.

    For his "Escape From Death" illusion, David Copperfield, bound in chains and shackles, is dropped into a water tank. After several minutes, if he doesn't extract himself, a giant spike comes down. But once during a rehearsal, he got tangled in the chains. He recalled:

    [T]he spike came down, and they had to get me out of the water fast. I suffered severe bruises and lacerations. I took in a lot of water, and I was bound to a wheelchair for a while. But we went ahead and did the show on schedule [a few weeks later].

  • Photo: David Copperfield - Illusion / CBS

    He Walked Through The Great Wall Of China

    In 1986, David Copperfield released his eighth CBS TV special, this one containing one of his most well-known stunts, walking through the Great Wall of China. Assistants set up a staircase and platform on one side as Copperfield stood and touched the wall. The assistants then dropped a curtain around the platform's structure, and Copperfield's silhouette appeared to disappear into the wall.

    The curtain dropped, revealing he was gone, and the platform was wheeled to the other side. Copperfield dramatically pushed through the curtain and reemerged. The trick was accomplished by Copperfield hiding in the hollowed platform, and some creative switches and puppetry from his assistants.