Suburban New York native Criss Angel began cultivating an interest in music and in magic at an early age. He began by performing tricks for his family, but soon moved on to showcasing his abilities at nightclubs. He also formed a band called AngelDust, and played in local bars and clubs. Eventually, Angel's skill and notoriety as an illusionist earned him a gig in the World of Illusion show at Madison Square Garden in 1998. This led to his own show on Broadway, which he called Mindfreak. After some of his performances were taped and made into TV specials, he was offered his own show, which had the same title. Criss Angel: Mindfreak began airing on A&E in 2005. Filmed in Las Vegas, and it featured him impressing and sometimes frightening patrons of the Aladdin Hotel (and later the Luxor Hotel) with seemingly impossible tricks that included levitation, walking on water, and sawing himself in half. He followed up Mindfreak with another TV series - The Five Lives of Criss Angel. He dated a string of famous women including Cameron Diaz, Holly Madison, and Pamela Anderson.
Angel has been honored with the Magician of the Year award from the Academy of Magical Arts, and he's published a book, Mindfreak: Secret Revelations, in which he explains how to accomplish some of his simpler illusions, like making a Styrofoam cup float in midair.