David Copperfield is the first living illusionist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was knighted by the French government. He-along with Steven Speilberg, Martin Scorsese and Colin Powell-received the Living Legend award from the United States Library of Congress. He has been named Magician of the Century and Magician of the Millennium. His face graces the postage stamps of six different countries, making him the only living magician to receive this honor.
He's won over 21 Emmy awards for his groundbreaking television specials. Year after year he continues to tour sold-out arenas throughout the world. He holds 11 Guinness World Records and has sold more tickets than any other solo entertainer in history, with ticket sales in the billions-more than Frank Sinatra, more than Michael Jackson, more than Elvis.
Sound impossible? David Copperfield built a reputation on making the impossible look easy. He singlehandedly redefined his art, and remains the most emulated illusionist in the history of magic.
An only child, David was born on September 16, 1956 as David Kotkin in Metuchen, New Jersey. His father, Hy, owned Korby's Men's shop. His mother, Rebecca, worked in the insurance business. A shy kid who overcame his insecurity with the help of magic, David was already an accomplished conjurer by the age of 12, when he was the invited to join the Society of American Magicians-its youngest member ever. At 16, David was an adjunct professor at New York University, where he taught a course called "the Art of Magic."
At 18 David was cast as the lead in "The Magic Man," a new musical comedy created by the producers of "Grease." The show opened in Chicago to rave reviews. It went on to become the longest running musical in Chicago's history, and gave David the invaluable experience of performing daily in front of a live audience, allowing him to develop the spontaneity and love of live performance that has him performing up to four shows a day, and doing over 500 performances every year.
When The Magic Man closed David returned to New York. He continued to develop his singular approach to magic, which was strongly influenced by his love of classic MGM musicals, the dramatic storytelling exemplified by Orson Welles and Walt Disney (two of David's heroes) and the lyrical, muscular romanticism of a Sinatra ballad. As host of "The Magic of ABC, Starring David Copperfield", he achieved top ratings and shared his unique style magic with millions of viewers. CBS immediately put David under contract for a series of yearly TV specials, which became known as "The Magic of David Copperfield".
In each special he presented new illusions on a scale never before imagined or attempted-and always in front of a live audience, without the use of camera tricks. In his fourth TV special, he "Vanished a Jet Airplane." In his fifth special he presented "The Illusion of the Century - the Disappearance of the Statue of Liberty" in front of a live audience on Liberty Island, and to millions of astonished television viewers.
For the next two decades David continued to break new ground with his annual top-rated, Emmy Award winning television specials, on which he continued to outdo himself by "Walking Through the Great Wall of China," escaping from chains and shackles just before he was plunged over Niagara Falls, surviving being locked in a safe inside an imploding building, making a daring "Escape from Alcatraz" prison, levitating and "Vanishing a 45 ton Orient Express Train Car" while surrounded by a ring of spectators, escaping while hanging upside down from burning ropes in a straight jacket 10 stories above flaming steel spikes, testing his endurance by surviving the deadly heat standing in the center of a 2,000 degree "Tornado of Fire", and flying through the air in "Flying.
In 1996 David realized a life long dream of performing on Broadway. Collaborating with Francis Ford Coppola, David created "Dreams and Nightmares", which still holds the Broadway record for most tickets sold in a week-more than Cats, The Lion King, and The Producers. The International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts.
A historian of his art, Copperfield founded The International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts, which houses the world's largest collection of historically significant magic memorabilia, posters, books, props and artifacts. The museum comprises of approximately 80,000 items of magic history, including Houdini's Water Torture Cell and his Metamorphosis Trunk, Orson Welles' Buzz Saw Illusion and automata created by Robert-Houdin, who is considered the father of modern magic. The museum also includes the only known recording of Houdini's voice-preserved on the original Edison wax cylinders.
On the literary front, Copperfield joined forces with Dean Koontz, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury and others for "David Copperfield's Tales of the Impossible," an anthology of original fiction set in the world of magic and illusion. This collections was so well received that a second volume was published, "David Copperfield's Beyond Imagination." David has been featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, Esquire, Forbes, and Architectural Digest. The word "Copperfield" has become a part of popular culture, in a manner quite apart from anything envisioned by Dickens. In today's literature and media, to "do a David Copperfield" or to "be the David Copperfield of" something has come to mean doing something magical or achieving the impossible.
Recently, Copperfield found a unique platform on which to create his newest wonders - "Musha Cay and The Islands of Copperfield Bay". Recognized by many as the most beautiful and spectacular destination in the world, Musha Cay is the ultimate private island paradise. Located in the Exumas, Bahamas, these 11 private islands have over 700 acres of lush natural beauty, 40 sugar sand beaches and a 2 mile long sandbar - truly paradise on earth. David has been developing unique magical adventures for island guests including: Dave's Drivein, where a giant silver screen "appears" on the beach, a custom designed magical Treasure Hunt adventure, and the Secret Village - a hidden sanctuary of enchanted monkeys accessed only by entering beneath a giant rising statue and journeying through an ancient, underground passage.
David's proudest achievement, however, is Project Magic, a program that uses magic as therapy in a thousand hospitals in 30 countries worldwide. This medically-certified program motivates patients to regain their dexterity, coordination and cognitive skills by learning simple magic and sleight of hand.
Famous performing magic show acts on a spectacular scale such as making the Statue of Liberty disappear.
Ended 5-year-old engagement to Claudia Schiffer, explaining that work had got in the way of their relationship. [November 1999]
Youngest person ever to be admitted to the Society of American Magicians. At age 16, he taught magic at New York University.
Started his magician career billed as "Davino, Boy Magician"
One of his schoolteachers New Jersey school days was ABC News correspondent Judy Muller.
Appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) where he presented his collection of turn-of-the-century prank devices. One, a paddle that when used to spank someone exploded powder, was used incorrectly by host O'Brien. Copperfield's pants (and behind) caught on fire, an accident from which he still carries a scar.
He has said he likes roller coasters.
In 1993, David did an on-stage illusion in which he weightlessly flew with a lady from the audience in his arms. His flight illusion was considered by many experts and historians of magic to be the greatest illusion ever performed on stage.
He gave his first performance as a magician in 1968 when he was only 12 years old.
He was a student at Fordham University in New York City in 1974.
He was named "Magician of the Year" in 1980 and 1987 by the Academy of Magical Arts.
Owns one of Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy ventriloquism dummies. He purchased it at an auction for $110,000.
Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theater at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Owns the buzz saw version of the "sawing a woman in half" illusion that used to belong to Orson Welles. Welles used to saw Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe in half. Copperfield maintains the illusion in full working order, and has occasionally used it to saw in half various celebrity assistants including Claudia Schiffer, Penélope Cruz and Cat Deeley.
Fan of Carl Ballantine.
While she was engaged to David, Claudia Schiffer sometimes used to appear in his stage shows as a special guest assistant in a number of illusions. First, he would levitate her high in the air before making her vanish and reappear. Then he would use a large guillotine to behead her. Finally, he would saw her in half inside a glass-sided box in what has sometimes been voted by other magicians as one of the most baffling versions of the sawing in half ever performed.
His hometown is Metuchen, New Jersey, which is also the hometown of Robert Hegyes.
Had his first child at age 53 in February 2010, when his girlfriend, French model Chloe Gosselin, gave birth to their daughter Sky.
(On working with Claudia Schiffer in his magic shows) I really love having Claudia with me in my shows. She's a great performer and a real natural with the illusions. And she's really trusting too - It's not every woman who'll trust someone like me enough to let me strap her to a guillotine and chop her head off. But the best thing about having her in my shows is that I can say that I spend my evenings sawing the most beautiful woman in the world in half.
Each five-minute piece you now see in my show takes two years from idea to execution. That is why - when someone steals my creations - it's very difficult to deal with.
(June 2006) He is performing his magic shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(April 2010) Appearing at the Hollywood Theater, at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.