In 2006, the Magic Castle’s Milt Larson named the top ten magicians of all time in a story that ran in Variety. In his list, Larson focused on twentieth-century magicians. In our list below, we identify the current top ten magicians of our time. This takes out big names from bygone eras like Harry Houdini and Harry Blackstone Sr., but it allows us to give more credit to famous magicians who are better known to the general public today.
01 of 10 David Copperfield
David Copperfield is easily the best-known magician in the world. He has presented innovative magic in his many television specials and continues to tour and perform for live audiences. He’s an immensely talented and skillful entertainer who has changed with the times and does it all: illusion, manipulation, and close-up. At times in his career, he’s had the popularity of a rock star.
02 of 10 Doug Henning
Doug Henning is often credited with resurrecting magic as a theatrical art in the 1970s. He starred on Broadway, toured with a large stage show, and popularized magic in his own television specials.
03 of 10 Siegfried and Roy
Siegfried and Roy are known for their magic involving big cats. The well-known pair were not only the most successful and best-known entertainers in Las Vegas, they were Las Vegas. Every magician who works in Vegas today can thank this pair.
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04 of 10 Lance Burton
A Las Vegas magician who headlines his own show, Lance Burton has won FISM (International Federation of Magic Societies) and appeared in his own television specials. He is a skilled magician and an excellent entertainer.
05 of 10 Ricky Jay
A respected magic historian, author, and highly skilled in magic as well as the methods of cheats, Ricky Jay stars in his own live close-up shows.
06 of 10 Mark Wilson
When television was in its infancy, Mark Wilson pioneered the presentation of magic on TV in an ambitious weekly series. He also headlined in his own Las Vegas show, acted as magic consultant for numerous television shows and starred in television magic specials.
07 of 10 Penn and Teller
The brilliant pair star in their own live show in Las Vegas, as well as a television series. For a couple of guys who learned to do a few cool things, the edgy Penn and Teller may be the most respected magicians in the lay public’s eyes.
08 of 10 Harry Anderson
Best known as a television star, Harry Anderson created and presented his con man persona in comedy and nightclubs and starred in his own television specials.
09 of 10 Jeff McBride
Performer and teacher Jeff McBride is a respected magic expert and a skilled manipulator who tours in his own show and appears regularly in Las Vegas. He constantly brings innovation to the presentation of magic as a theatrical art.
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10 of 10 Cyril Takayama
We’re going out on a limb here and giving the final slot to Cyril Takayama. We only know his magic through YouTube videos, but he’s an accomplished performer who creates bold and brilliant magic. When we want to see creative new magic angles, we simply search for Cyril.