David Copperfield is undoubtedly a great magician. In the 1990s, his name was known around the world and he amazed audiences with the kind of large-scale tricks no one had done before him. He performed 50 shows a month and became the richest illusionist in the world.
However, not much has been heard about him lately. The media more often mentions his name in connection with another revelation of his tricks, and he himself stopped touring long ago.
Where has the great David disappeared to? Where has the one who made the Statue of Liberty disappear gone? The one who hid an entire plane and a train? Isn’t his disappearance another one of his tricks?
The story of the dawn and dusk of the great magician
David Seth Kotkin (that is his real name) was born in the small town of Metachen (New Jersey, USA) into a Jewish family. As a child he stuttered, which made him very shy. In addition, the boy’s appearance was not the most attractive. And yet, as a child David was able to learn the Torah by ear and had an extraordinary memory.
When the boy was four years old, his grandfather showed him a card trick, David managed to repeat it immediately.
David Copperfield as a boy.
After his first card trick, little David became interested in repeating and then making up his own tricks. At the age of seven, the boy was surprising the congregation of the synagogue with his skills, and at 12, the residents of the entire city. Then the young magician joined the “American Society of Illusionists” and taught tricks to university students, even before he reached adulthood.
For the first time on stage David went back in the mid-1970′s – then he was entrusted with one of the main roles in the musical “The Wizard”. Because of his employment in the theatrical production, he even dropped out of university.
David Copperfield in his youth.
At first David Seth Kotkin was known under the pseudonym “Davino”, but then he took the name of a character from Charles Dickens’ novel – David Copperfield.
A few years later he began working in television, where he hosted the program “Magic ABC” and produced the author’s program “The Magic of David Copperfield”.
In the 1980s, David Copperfield began working on large-scale illusions that amazed the world with their scope and forced the entire world to hold its breath in front of the screens.
Later, Copperfield came up with the idea to engage in large-scale illusions. He developed a spectacular stunt with the disappearance of an airplane, spectacularly “dissolved in the air” the Statue of Liberty in front of the audience, flew over the Grand Canyon, went through the Great Wall of China, made the train disappear of “Orient Express” and prepared about 100 other different tricks. A team of 300 people, including about 80 engineers, worked on his performances.
The most spectacular performances of Copperfield were the flights. And the magician not only soared into the air, he also flew through a glass cube, hoops, thereby showing people the wonders of magic.
Of course, today most of these tricks have already been exposed. So, for example, it is already known that the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty is just a game of light. As for the flights above the stage, David used very thin transparent cables (with a diameter of less than 1 mm), capable of supporting a weight of up to 100 kg.
However, David Copperfield also had some tricks that even the most inveterate expositors could not figure out. For example, going through the Great Wall of China.
David Copperfield demonstrates a trick with a saw.
David Copperfield’s incredible artistry makes audiences admire everything he does. And his confidence does not even cause the audience to think that something could go wrong.
However, in fact, many of Copperfield’s tricks were so difficult that they are not easy to repeat even now. So, in 1984, David, shackled and immersed in water, rehearsed the trick “Escape from Death”. Unfortunately, he got tangled up in his chains and drowned. This was not realized until one minute and 20 seconds later. In addition to the shock, the performer also earned a sprain on the tendons in his arms and legs, so for another week after the incident, he was moving around in a wheelchair.
David’s talent as a magician helps him not only on stage, but also in real life. One day, when the illusionist was returning from a concert, a gun was held to his temple and he was demanded to hand over his money. When David opened his pockets, they were empty. Copperfield later admitted that it was very difficult for him to do this trick while losing his temper.
One of the magician’s performances in Las Vegas.
In the early 1990s, the illusionist gave 50 performances a month, and as a result was recognized as one of the most popular people in the world, entered the Guinness Book of Records as the artist who sold the most tickets for his solo performances (and received about $4 billion for it, after which he was named the richest illusionist of all time).
Copperfield entered the Guinness Book of World Records 11 times! His most famous tricks include falling from Niagara Falls while chained in a box, the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty, going through the Great Wall of China and flying over the stage.
Copperfield managed to surprise the public not only with tricks. In the mid-1990s, his name made the headlines again thanks to his affair with supermodel Claudia Schiffer.
Claudia Schiffer and David Copperfield.
For six years, they appeared together everywhere and posed willingly for the lenses of photographers, until the late 1990′s in the press published the text of the contract regulating the star “romance”: according to this document, the supermodel had to be in public to play the bride Copperfield, for which she received a solid annual fee.
Thanks to this high-profile “love affair” interest in his persona increased and his shows became very popular in Western Europe. Although the couple claimed the document was fake, in 1999 they announced that they had broken off their engagement.
It seemed that this magician’s life was successful in everything and that he needed to conquer new heights. Hollywood, for example.
However, something went wrong. In the early 2000s, the demand for his concerts plummeted. And suddenly it turned out that the famous illusionist had nothing more to surprise the audience. The secrets of many of the most famous tricks were revealed: expositors of “Copperfield’s magic” vied with one another to tell how the great hoaxer had deceived the gullible public.
A series of revelations and the absence of new large-scale spectacular shows seriously damaged the reputation and popularity of David Copperfield. New young audiences were not interested in him, and older audiences gradually began to forget him. His name occasionally reappeared in the press, but only in connection with the next high-profile exposure or trial.
Many lawsuits were filed against David. For example, one of the participants in his trick with the disappearance of 13 volunteers from the hall in 2016, sued the illusionist because he was injured during the performance of the trick. During the trial, Copperfield had to reveal the technology of the trick. And this lawsuit was eventually closed.
However, this had little effect on Copperfield’s financial situation – his main sources of income have long ceased to be performances. He made some successful investments and became the owner of a collection of antiques and luxury real estate on tropical islands, which he rents out. In addition, David has co-authored several books with popular writers, and opened his own museum of illusion.
Despite the fact that David Copperfield no longer buys the best airtime on popular channels or makes ever larger objects disappear, he does not sit idly by. His solo performances are a great success in Las Vegas, he often appears on television talk shows and advises those wishing to perform various tricks. It is interesting to note that at David’s live shows, photography and videotaping are still strictly forbidden.
Another Copperfield’s mystery is his personal life. He carefully hides it from the public. The only thing known is that he meets with the model Chloe Gosselin, who is 31 years younger than him, and in 2011 they had a daughter (however, this fact himself illusionist neither confirmed nor denied).
David Copperfield and Chloe Gosselin.
Despite the decline of popularity, David remains a rich and wealthy man. He has a four-story penthouse in a skyscraper in downtown New York City, though he is hardly ever there. He spends most of his time with his family on his own island in the Bahamas.
In addition, David is actively engaged in charity work. He has developed an authoring program to help the disabled people develop manual dexterity after a stroke and various injuries.
A couple of years ago, the illusionist bought a house in Las Vegas. This purchase was the most expensive in the history of the Las Vegas residential real estate market. Mansion with eight bedrooms, a nightclub, a movie theater and a swimming pool cost the illusionist 17.5 million dollars.
What could it be, David? Have you decided to conquer Las Vegas instead of New York now? Time will tell.