Magic Man: David Copperfield

 His aptitude for magic emerged early. At age 12, he was admitted to The Society of American Magicians, their youngest member ever.

“It’s about telling a story so the magic has an emotional point of view,” he said. “I really wanted to get the same effect and speak the same language as a person writing music. When they write music and [it’s performed] you say, ‘Wow I understand that person. I like what they’re singing.’”

He also makes every attempt to relate to his audience in a very real way.

“Vanishing an airplane, vanishing the Statue of Liberty, walking through the Great Wall of China, [I] make an illusion that people can relate to and claim the object,” he said. Copperfield has in fact done all of those things.

As far as his stage presence versus his real personality, he maintains there’s not much of a divide.

“I’m pretty much the same,” he said. “If you see my show, I go back and forth between doing things that are spectacular and intimate but I also make fun of myself. I take my work seriously but I certainly don’t take myself very seriously. I think that’s probably what makes me authentic.” The synonymous nature of his onstage and offstage personas didn’t happen by accident.

“I think what’s on stage has to also be something that’s authentic,” he said. “You can’t pretend you know, you can’t pretend to become. Eventually you get caught, and you’re just pretending.”

But Copperfield wasn’t always the magical legend he is today. His first foray into performing was an obsession with ventriloquism as a child. He later made the leap to magic, mainly in an attempt to fit in with his peers.

“I started taking magic books out of the library,” he said. “I took a piece of paper, wrote down how I thought you would do the trick without reading the explanations. Most of the time, my solutions were pretty close to those in the books.”

His aptitude for magic emerged early. At age 12, he was admitted to The Society of American Magicians, their youngest member ever. He taught magic in the theatre department at NYU at age 16, taking the bus from his home in New Jersey to Washington Square Park.

And he hasn’t slowed down. Since his very early beginnings in the industry, Copperfield has accumulated a laundry list of accomplishments – 11 Guinness World Records, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and 21 Emmys and 38 nominations. He was even knighted by the French government and named a Living Legend by the U.S. Library of Congress. Recently, he was crowned “King of Magic and named “Magician of the Century” by The Society of American Magicians, the oldest and most prestigious magic organization in the world.

He’s even created a philanthropic cause, Project Magic, which began with a correspondence with a young fan 30 years ago.