It was announced this week that Prince Charles is going to celebrate his 70th birthday with a special magic show. The Prince of Wales joined The Magic Circle in 1975 after being taken there by his uncle, Earl Mountbatten. His audition for membership featured the famous “cups and balls” (a magic trick that possibly dates back to ancient Egypt)
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some other celebrities who are magicians. Here are 6 well-known people you may not have realised have a trick or two up their sleeves.
He may be better known for his work in movies like “The Jerk”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, but actor and comedian Steve Martin is also a very accomplished magician. He worked in a magic shop at Disneyland as a teenager, and much of what he learnt about magic influenced his successful stand-up comedy career.
Steve developed a comedy magic act under the name “The Great Flydini”, which was usually reserved for performance at friends’ parties . Here he is as The Great Flydini on The Johnny Carson show in 1992.
Muhammed Ali wasn’t only nimble in the boxing ring – he was pretty deft at sleight of hand too. He was so interested in magic that he hired a personal magician to travel with him and teach him magic.
A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to work as a magic consultant on the play “Muhammed Ali and Me“. I taught the lead actor some simple magic tricks for the role of the legendary boxer.
Here’s a clip of Ali performing magic from the 2009 documentary “Muhammed and Larry”
Stephen Fry was made a member of The Magic Circle in 2015 (an event that made him “so excited he could wee” according to his Twitter feed). It was a surprise ending on a special edition of the TV show QI. Scott Penrose, President of The Magic Circle, appeared from a briefcase and presented him with membership “for various magical experiments” Stephen had performed throughout the series. Here’s one of them.
Neil Patrick Harris
You might know him best for playing Doogie Howser, M.D. or Barnie Stimpson in “How I met Your Mother”, but did you know Neil Patrick Harris is also a magician? It’s more than a passing interest. He was once President of the board of directors for the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.
He performs an illusion 4.5 minutes into this recording from the 2013 Tony Awards. Watch the whole thing though, it’s incredible!
Former Formula One driver Nigel Mansell took up magic after the accident that ended his racing career. According to him it helped his recovery by making his “brain work in different ways”. Since then, Nigel has also joined The Magic Circle and performed magic tricks on various racing TV programmes. In this video, he amazes Peter Windsor with some card tricks.
When he’s not bringing magic to the big screen playing Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” or in film adaptations of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, Eddie Redmayne is also a budding magician. Watch him talk about it here, and perform a trick alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.
If you want to know what joining The Magic Circle entails, you can find out how to join the famous magicians’ club here. I may not have the celebrity status of those mentioned above, but you can read about my magic career here.