You cannot talk about magic and illusion and not talk about David Blaine. He has been described by Howard Stern and Penn Jillette as the greatest magician to walk the surface of the earth. Who can blame Stern and Jillette for their awe at the magical tricks and stunts performed by this endurance artist?
David Blaine has been consistent in his breathtaking performances since bursting onto the scene as a 23-year-old young man in 1997 with his first magical offering David Blaine: Street Magic which was widely received with over-the-top ratings.
Though raised by a single mother, Patrice Maureen White, a Russian Jew who died of cancer in 1995, he was also born to an absentee father, William Perez, a war veteran on April 4, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York. He is of mixed ancestry – Puerto Rican and Italian on his fathers’ side and Russian Jewish on his mother’s side. His mother got married again in 1983 to John Bukalo and from that union, Blaine has a half-brother, Michael Bukalo.
His mother’s marriage to John Bukalo saw the family move to Little Falls, New Jersey, and there, Blaine attended Passaic Valley Regional High School. His interest in magical arts kicked off when he saw a magician display his box of magic tricks at a subway when he was just four years old. It left a permanent impression on the kid and when he decided to pursue it as a career as a 20-year-old, his mother gave her blessings and supported him fully until her demise one year later.
David Blaine has gone on to establish himself as a globally renowned illusionist, attracting thousands of fans to his brand of magic which has revolutionalized the industry as it is today. He has broken several records held by previous magicians and has created new ones in the process.
He has also had the honor of performing for US presidents – George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump – and other top celebrities such as Al Pacino, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Beckham, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lawrence, Steph Curry, Stephen Hawkings, to mention just a few of them.
Blaine started off as a street magician, performing his tricks on the streets of Manhattan, New York to the amazement of bystanders and onlookers. Soon, he became popular and gathered a large following. His success on the street emboldened him to make a recording of his tricks and illusions which he sent to ABC with the hope of getting a shot on their show. It worked and he was invited for a show which became his first performance before a live audience. It happened on May 19, 1997, and the show was titled David Blaine: Street Magic.
Two years later, his second show, David Blaine: Magic Man was aired on ABC. As an endurance artist, his first stunt was dubbed Buried Alive which was performed in April 1999. It involved Blaine submerging himself inside a huge tank filled with water and staying there for seven days.
In November 2000, it was the Frozen in Time endurance stunt. Blaine was encased in a huge block of transparent ice for 63 hours, 42 minutes, and 15 seconds (this record was later broken by Israeli magician, Hezi Dean, who outlasted Blaine by three hours). The large ice block was hanging at Times Square, New York City.
His next performance was dubbed Vertigo in Bryant Park, New York City, where he stood on a pillar measuring 30 meters in height for 35 hours. This happened in May 2002 and on September 2003, Blaine began another stunt called Above the Below. He was suspended in a transparent glass box about 30 feet high for 44 days without food – just water.
In May 2006, David Blaine was submerged in water for seven days in another endurance stunt he titled Drowned Alive. After this stunt, he submitted himself to be a subject of a research at Yale University on how human psychology reacts to being submerged in water for a long time. On Oprah Winfrey‘s show in April 2008, he attempted to break the Guinness World Record for holding your breath underwater held by Peter Colat of Switzerland at 16 minutes 32 seconds.
He did break the record which was set on February 10, 2008, by holding out for 17 minutes 4 seconds. His record stood for 4 months and two weeks before it was bettered on September 19, 2008, by Tom Sietas who held out for 17 minutes 19 seconds. Other stunts performed by David Blaine include Revolution (2006), Dive of Death (2008), Bullet Catch (2010), Electrified (2012).
How Exactly Does David Blaine Levitate?
One of the magic tricks David Blaine used to mesmerized his audience in his very first special, David Blaine: Street Magic was the point where he levitated. No one saw it coming and so the audience were shellshocked when he lifted himself and floated in the air before descending again. How was he able to just pull that off out of the blues and on live TV?
Since it was on stage, many have dismissed the idea that it was stage-managed. So if it was not, what happened? What happened was Balducci Levitation. First of all, you must understand that Blaine is not the first to use this trick. It is actually an ancient trick, an illusion that has been used by several magicians and illusionists to dazed their audience.
The magician, performer, illusionist and endurance artist has used his craft to acquire wealth for himself. Often referred to as the modern-day Harry Houdini, a 19th-century magician who David himself describes as his hero, his net worth is tied to his magic performances and shows. Also, royalties from his book Mysterious Stranger play a part in building his financial base to $12 million.
According to the information available, David Blaine is not married and so does not have a wife. He has, however, come close to the shores of marriage as he and French model, Alizée Guinochet, who he started dating in 2008 had been engaged to be married. This happened on April 4, 2009, on Blaine’s 36th birthday and lasted for 5 years before it was called off in 2014.
Meanwhile, the relationship produced a beautiful daughter named Dessa, who was born on January 27, 2011. The story around her birth is a funny one; Guinochet would go into labor at a time when a severe snowstorm with high winds had hit the area where they lived and Blaine had to perform magic or become the midwife. He did neither, rather opting for the unconventional and transported a heavily pregnant Guinochet in a snowplow to the hospital. Magic? we don’t think so!
Before his relationship with Alizée Guinochet, the handsome magician had been linked with several ladies, especially models. Blaine was said to have had an affair with Madonna and model Bijou Phillips. However, his first confirmed relationship was with actress Fiona Apple in the 1990s. Others are model Josie Maran (2000), Daryl Hannah (2002), Manon von Gerkan (2002), Mallory Snyder (2004), and Lonneke Engel (2006).
Other Facts About David Blaine
David has received rave reviews since he began his career with many calling him a revolutionary in the world of illusion. He is also credited for rotating his cameras to capture the audience (who are most times spellbound) while performing.
He released his autobiography titled Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic which was published by Random House. The book was officially released in 2002 and also contains keynotes on how to perform magical stunts.
He held a 72-hour show in Times Square, New York for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake in January 2010. The show raked in thousands of US dollars (almost $100,000)
Blaine was accused of rape in the UK by former model Natasha Prince. Although he denied the allegation which was brought up in 2017, Prince stated that the incident occurred in 2004 at a private residence in London. However, the charges were dropped in September 2018.
David Blaine has an average height of 5 feet 11 inches with a weight which is presently at 81 kg. His body mass shrinks with each stunt, especially the endurance arts he performs. He has brown eyes with dark brown hair.