Top 10 Most Famous Magicians In Vegas Throughout The Years


Magicians In Vegas

In this article I have looked at rankings for four random years in the last ten, to see which magicians were most popular in Las Vegas the Capital of Magic.

This ranking only applies to each magician’s ranking in Las Vegas, so certain megastars, like David Blaine, are not shown, as they have not gone the Vegas route in their career.

Let’s take a look at Best Magicians that performed in Las Vegas.

10 Best Magicians In Vegas:

  • David Copperfield
  • Penn And Teller
  • Criss Angel
  • Nathan Burton
  • Mac King
  • Piff (The Magic Dragon)
  • Gerry McCambridge
  • Xavier Mortimer
  • Matt Franco
  • David Goldrake

David Copperfield

David Copperfield is by far the most famous magician in the world today. original name David Seth Kotkin, Forbes described him as the most financially successful magician in history. His career has spanned over 40 years.

Early Life

He was born in Metuchen, New Jersey to Jewish parents. Copperfield started to practice magic at the age of ten, as “Divino, the boy magician.”

Just two years later, at the age of 12, he was the youngest person admitted to the Society of American Magicians.

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As a teenager, Copperfield was often found sneaking into Broadway musicals. At the age of sixteen, he was teaching a course in magic at New York University.

Early Career

David adopted the stage name David Copperfield at the start of his professional career when he left college to play the lead in The Magic Man, in Chicago.

This show ended up as the longest-running musical in Chicago’s history.

At only 19 he headlined at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu with his show: “Magic of David Copperfield.”

After this Copperfield was discovered by Joseph Cates and he appeared in a series of TV Specials.

Illusions

David Copperfield’s fame is primarily through the large-scale illusions he has staged, including:

  1. Making the Statue of Liberty disappear and reappear
  2. Walking through the Great Wall of China
  3. Escaping from Alcatraz
  4. Disappearing a dining car of the Orient Express
  5. Flying on stage

Capitalizing on these amazing illusions Copperfield has undertaken a residency at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas which has lasted 13 years and has provided a great deal of David Copperfield’s wealth.

He works hard, and performs up to three shows a day, seven days a week, for 42 weeks each year.

Penn And Teller

Penn & Teller are a duo of American Magicians who have performed together since the 1990s.

Their act has a unique flavor, containing comedy elements with the magic.

Early Life

Born Penn Fraser Jillette, and Raymond Joseph Teller. Initially (the Late 1970s – 1981) they were a trio called “The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society,” with Weir Chrisemer as the third element.

In 1981 Chrisemer quit show business, and the pair continued as a duo.

By 1985 they were appearing in a successful “off-Broadway” show and getting their first TV appearances. In the 1990s they appeared on Letterman, Saturday Night Live, and shows of that ilk.

The two are very close business partners but have very little common interest in their private lives and rarely socialize.

TV Career

Penn & Teller have appeared in far too many TV shows to mention.

In recent years they have also hosted Penn & Teller: Fool Us since 2011. The show started on British TV channel ITV and then moved to American Channel the CW.

Las Vegas

The Magic duo has a combined net worth of approx. $400 million, much of which was earned through their residency in Las Vegas.

Penn & Teller have appeared at the Rio in Las Vegas since 2011, which is the longest-running residency in one venue in Las Vegas ever.

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Criss Angel

Chriss Angel was born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, on December 17th, 1967.

He is an American Magician, musician, and illusionist.

He was born in Hempstead, New York

Early Career

His first appearance on TV was as part of a one hour, ABC special called “Secrets.”

He then went on to work with Horror movie director Clive Barker on his movie “Lord of Illusions.”

In the mid-90s Angell went on to work with musician, Klayton, in the band/show Angeldust.

This was a show that combined music with magic.

They released their first album, Musical Conjurings from the World of Illusions in 1998.

Two television movies followed “The Science of Magic”, and “Science of Magic 2.”

Chriss Angel Mindfreak, which was originally an off-Broadway show later became the title of his first television series.

Stunts

In 2002 Chriss Angel did a 24-hour stunt in Time s Square where he was shackled and submerged in a telephone box sized tank, breathing through a tube.

He had to endure the 24 hours and then free himself of the shackles.

He succeeded but he ended up in the hospital immediately after, oddly with severe dehydration.

Between 2002 and 2005 Chriss made several high-profile performances which included setting himself on fire and making a Tarantula appear out of an audience member’s soda can.

Mindfreak TV Show

In 2005 Chriss Angel became the creator and director of Mindfreak, a TV series filmed in Las Vegas, The first two series were filmed at the Aladdin and the third series in the Luxor.

This show included many high-quality illusions and made his name.

This show was the first weekly magic show to air on TV in over 40 years and signaled a resurgence in magic.

Believe

This show premiered at the Luxor in Las Vegas and initially received poor reviews from the critics, causing the format of the show to change slightly after which is received glowing reviews.

The show was contracted to play at the Luxor until 2019.

There was a slight hiccup in 2009 when Angell ended his show throwing blunt jibes at blogger Paris Hilton who had posted that the show was unbelievably bad.

Angel and his sponsors subsequently apologized.

Nathan Burton

Nathan Burton first came to prominence in series 1 or America’s got talent, where he reached the semi-finals.

However, he was called back to the wildcard show but was eliminated again.

He tried again in series 4 but was eliminated in the Las Vegas round.

Early Life

Nathan was born in Oakland California and first became interested in magic at the age of four.

His first performance was at Kindergarten in Palm Desert California.

Between 1987 and 1991 Nathan won four first places at international magic competitions and in 1996 he had his first TV appearance.

This success was to continue and he managed to get work as the headline act in Atlantic City, in the Showboat Hotel and Casino.

International Career

After Atlantic City, Nathan headed to Europe where he had successes in Germany, France, Greece, and Portugal.

From Europe he moved on to South Korea where he had a residency for 12 months at Hotel Lotte, amazing the Koreans by disappearing an Elephant every night in his show.

Las Vegas

Returning from his success in Asia Nathan returned to Las Vegas where he was featured in the “all-new Showgirls of Magic in Las Vegas.”

A short break in Reno and he was back in Las Vegas again to be part of the “V – The Ultimate Variety Show” at The Venetian Hotel, and then Aladdin Hotel and Casino.

Nathan’s first experience of headlining a show in Vegas was at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, then the Flamingo.

Nathan has been appearing at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas since 2012.

Mac King

Mac King was born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1959.

After college, he started out his magic career in the comedy clubs as a one-man comedy magic show.

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He was moderately successful and was performing over 200 shows every year.

This continued until the 1990s when he started to do television specials and to appear in Las Vegas casinos.

Compared to some of the other magicians in this list, Matt is fairly low-profile but nevertheless, some 600 people turned out in January 2020 to honor him at the Society of American Magicians Convention.

Most of them were in some way connected to the Magic industry.

Las Vegas

Mac King has been appearing at Harrah’s in Las Vegas for over twenty years now.

He started in the small room and then transferred to the big room.

Twenty years of working two shows, five days a week, a true professional.

King’s act is suitable for all members of the family and he has a friendly manner which produces a really relaxed atmosphere in his shows.

Piff (The Magic Dragon)

John van der Put, stage name Piff the Magic Dragon is a magician and comedian from the UK.

Piff raised in SE. London. His interest in magic started as a teenager and when he was 18 he became a member of the Magic Circle.

After a bout of sickness, he gave up his job in IT and went to study as a drama student at the Central School of Speech and Drama.

After graduating, together with other alumni, he co-founded “standnotamazed” a cabaret company.

He also had a small part performing in the burial at Thebes at the Globe Theater.

He did a lot of close-up magic work at restaurants and other similar venues. Early on he wanted his magic to have a comedic side.

His Career

It was in 2008 that Van De Put created the Piff the Magic Dragon persona.

He started to dress in a yellow and green dragon costume.

The persona came about by accident when he was invited to a fancy-dress party (costume party) and nobody else turned up in costume.

His brother suggested that he should use this persona in the act.

Piff has been a performer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival many times and in 2009 was recognized as the show with the highest takings for a night. He later added a Chihuahua to the act, dressed in a dinosaur outfit.

The next stage was performing as a support act for the band Mumford and Son, who he had met at The Secret Policeman’s Ball 2012, where they both had appeared.

Las Vegas

In 2014 he moved to Las Vegas. In December 2014 he appeared as show opener for Human Nature at the Christmas Show at the Venetian.

In May 2015 Piff was featured in the 10th Season of America’s Got Talent where the guest judge used his Golden Buzzer to send Piff directly to the finals.

He got through to the final round but did not win. In late 2015 the Flamingo renamed its Bugsy’s Cabaret Theater, the Piff the Magic Drago Theater, and Piff took up residency.

Gerry McCambridge

Gerry McCambridge was born Scott Thomas Burns in Brooklyn New York in 1962.

Straight after his birth, he was moved into care and adopted by the McCambridge’s.

They changed his name to Gerard Alexander McCambridge Jr.

His interest in magic began at the age of nine and at the age of 12, he performed his first magic show at a neighbor’s party.

Career

By 1980 he was headlining as Gerry McCambridge – The Mentalist, in comedy clubs across the USA.

This went so well that by 1989 the International magician’s Society awarded him the Merlin Award” for “Mentalist of the Decade.”

In 2002 he took his idea for a TV show called “The Mentalist” to Los Angeles to try and sell it to major networks.

They bought it and he spent a couple of years working to create the show which was aired in many countries worldwide after it was licensed by NBC.

In 2004 Gerry had created a one-man show called “The Mentalist” which played in New York in an off-Broadway theater.

This show transferred to Las Vegas in the Rampart Theater, before transferring to Stardust Casino.

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Following the closure of Stardust, the show moved to Hooters.

Gerry McCambridge has now been in Las Vegas for fifteen years in addition to his TV work.

Xavier Mortimer

Born in Briançon, France, in 1980, Xavier Mortimer is a magician who has won many awards, internationally.

Early Life

He studied at the Music and Dance Conservatory in Rochelle, France.

He also studied at an acting school in London and was also a student at the Jacques Lecoq Conservatory in Paris.

He worked in the market selling flowers to afford his first magic props and joined the Magic Circle in France at the age of 15.

As a teenager, he also took up the accordion, juggling, and acrobatics.

From these humble beginnings, he now has a net worth of $1.5 million.

Career

His career began as part of a duo called Les Fréres (The Brothers).

They performed at events and concerts and thin in 2005 Xavier began a one-man show called L’Ombre Orchestre (The Shadow Orchestra) at Theatre Le Temple in Paris.

He toured his show and was spotted by Cirque du Soleil in 2009 and took a role in their production of Michael Jackson’s ONE in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas

Xavier stayed with ONE for three years. During this time he was approached by producer Alex Goude and they developed a new show “Magical Dream.”

The new show opened at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood Casino in June 2016.

In 2019 the show transferred to Baileys and it is still there.

Matt Franco

Born in Rhode Island in 1988, Matt Franco is an American born magician.

He became the first magician in history to win America’s Got Talent, in the ninth series.

This came with prize money of $1 million.

Early Life

At the age of four, he begged his parents for a magic set and he began performing magic tricks in kindergarten.

He was encouraged by his grandmother who became his first assistant.

As a child, he performed whenever he could, and by the age of 12, he had saved enough of his earnings to fly to Las Vegas to study performance Art watching his idols.

He attended the University of Rhode Island where he got a business degree.

Career

At the tender age of fifteen, Matt was good enough to be invited to perform at Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in a show called “Stars of Tomorrow.” Starting in 2010, when he graduated, Matt started to perform on the college circuit. In the 2014/15 season, he won Americas Got Talent.

Las Vegas

Because of his high profile on Americas Got Talent, he was offered a headline in LINQ Hotel and Casino with a show called “Mat Franco: Magic Reinvented Nightly”. This received excellent reviews and in 2017 they renamed the theater “Mat Franco Theater.” This contract was renewed in 2020 with a five-year extension of his residency.

David Goldrake

David Goldrake is a magician from Luxembourg.

In 1997 he had his own weekly show on RTL called “Magic with David Goldrake.”

He speaks seven languages fluently. He has performed all over the world, including for royalty, and fortune 500 companies.

He has performed at the world’s largest indoor stage at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.

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Final Thought

This amalgamation of various rankings over the last decade in Las Vegas has been used to create a single list of the most famous magicians in Las Vegas from the last decade.

It is not a list of the best magicians, nor does it attempt to say who most famous today.

Let’s take the inspiration from these life stories because as you can see, magic is not only great entertainment but also a great career to choose

Improve Magic

I believe that life is magic. I'm a playing cards collector, I love performing magic tricks and I'm also the owner of a small magic shop. Apart from that I like to explore different kinds of supernatural magic that we all have in our lives and I like to share what I learn... I'm great fan of Harry Potter...

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