Known for his mysterious, theatrical style and his deep, monotone voice, magician David Blaine became fascinated by magic at a young age. Born in Brooklyn and later raised in New Jersey, he soon began taking particular inspiration from the likes of Orson Welles and Titanic Thompson, who were pioneers in the niche field of street magic: tricks designed to be performed up close without the aid of a distant stage and dark theater. Blaine was able to hone his skills at the craft virtually anywhere, and by 1996 his act scored him a deal with ABC for a TV special titled David Blaine: Street Magic. The program captured him performing illusions for impressed and frequently terrified people in public places and was such a hit with audiences that he would go on to film several more specials in the years to come, each one capturing a new and seemingly more dangerous stunt, such as being encased in a block of ice for 63 hours and hanging upside down for a day and a half. Other stunts involved the extreme deprivation of oxygen, food, and water.
Biography by Cammila Collar
- Interest in magic was spurred at age 4 by his mother, who gave him a magic trick that involved a pencil passing through a playing card.
- Began his magic career as a street performer; later performed in nightclubs and at private parties.
- Studied acting at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse.
- Influenced by 19th-century French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, who is included in his 2002 book Mysterious Stranger.
- Body tattoos include a large crucifixion on his back, which is a recreation of Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali.
- Welcomed his first child, his daughter Dessa, with then-fiancée Alizee Guinochet on January 27, 2011, when New York City was experiencing a blizzard; Blaine resorted to hailing a snow plow to rush them to the hospital when taxis and public transit were unavailable.