Harry Houdini

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Harry Houdini
BornErik Weisz
March 24, 1874
Budapest, Hungary
DiedOctober 31, 1926 (age 52)
Detroit, Michigan
Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) whose birth name in Hungary was Erik Weisz (which was changed to Ehrich Weiss when he immigrated to the United States), was a Hungarian American magician, escapologist (widely regarded as one of the greatest ever), stunt performer, as well as a skeptic and investigator of spiritualists, film producer, and actor.


Initially, Houdini's magic career resulted in little success. He performed in dime museums and sideshows, and even doubled as "the Wild Man" at a circus. Houdini initially focused on traditional card tricks. At one point, he billed himself as the "King of Cards". But he soon began experimenting with escape acts. In 1893, while performing with his brother "Dash" at Coney Island as "The Brothers Houdini", Harry met and married fellow performer Bess (Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner). Bess replaced Dash in the act, which became known as "The Houdinis". For the rest of Houdini's performing career, Bess would work as his stage assistant as well as get married.

Harry Houdini is the one of the most famous escape artists/magicians who has ever lived. He changed it to Harry Houdini because Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin was one of his biggest inspirations.

Houdini escaped from many unique situations and invented some of the most memorable escapes in the history of magic like the "Chinese Torture Cell", "Metamorphosis" and much more.

Houdini published his Conjurers' Monthly Magazine, that only ran for one year from September 1906 until August 1907 as a competitor to the Sphinx.

The magazine touted Houdini's importance to the world of magic, gossip about magicians he did not like and criticism of his imitators.

During his career, Houdini inspired many imitators, men and women. Some duplicated his escapes and others during the height of his fame were just trying to capitalize on his name. Houdini often ruthlessly defended his domain by challenging these imitators, advertising that his act was "patented" with threats to sue them, exposing them, or training someone of his own liking (including his brother Hardeen). [1]

Quotes

"It's not the trick. It's the magician." --Harry Houdini

Books

References

  1. The secret life of Houdini: the making of America's first superhero By William Kalush, Larry Sloman (2006)
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