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Harry Houdini

Biography

Iconic magician and escape artist whose most challenging stunt entailed escaping from handcuffs that took a locksmith five years to develop. In his youngsters, he took employment being a trapeze musician beneath the name Ehrich, the Prince from the Atmosphere, and was an effective cross-country runner. A college or university pupil and a boxer called J. Gordon Whitehead examined Houdini’s immortality by dazzling him in the gut many times, which ruptured his appendix and wiped out him. His parents had been German Jews called Cecelia Weisz Steiner and Mayer Samuel Weisz. He was wedded to Bess Houdini from 1894 until his loss of life in 1926. David Copperfield bought the entirety of Mulholland’s Houdini holdings from Mulholland’s property in 1970.

Quick Facts


Full Name Harry Houdini
Date Of Birth March 24, 1874
Died October 31, 1926, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Place Of Birth Budapest, Hungary
Height 1.68 m
Profession Magician
Nationality American, Hungarian
Spouse Bess Houdini
Parents Mayer Samuel Weisz, Cecelia Weisz
Siblings Theodore Hardeen, Gottfried William, Carrie Gladys, Leopold D., Herman M., Nathan J.
Movies The Golden Twenties, Haldane of the Secret Service, The Man from Beyond, Terror Island, The Grim Game, The Master Mystery
Star Sign Aries

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1Has been portrayed in films by Tony Curtis and Adrien Brody--both, like Houdini, of Hungarian ancestry.
2Houdini traveled in the same same show with The Three Keatons, and after a particularly hard fall down the stairs by the (at the time) youngest Keaton, Houdini supposedly said to Joe Keaton, "That's quite a Buster your kid took", which is how Buster Keaton got his name.
3He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7001 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 31, 1975.
4The image of Houdini dying while attempting to escape from a water tank in the popular movies has overshadowed the real cause of death: a fan testing his body-strength when he was unprepared for the blow, as he would have been doing his act, which resulted in peritonitis. Some water-tank escapologist showmen even introduce their trick as "The one that killed Houdini".
5Co-founded (with Arthur B. Reeve, John Grey and Louis Grossman) Supreme Pictures Corp. (1919-20), a film production company.
6His original stage name was Eric the Great.
7Willed his collection of books on magic to the American Society for Psychical Research, on the condition that J. Malcolm Bird, an ASPR official whom he hated, resign. Bird refused, so the books went to the Library of Congress.
8His will stated that a bronze bust of himself be placed on his tomb to guide his spirit back from "the other side".
9He is mentioned in the song "Ghost Town" by Cat Stevens.
10Was fanatically devoted to his mother, Cecilia. When he died, his casket was adorned with a wreath that spelled, "Mother Love," and his head lay on a pillow of Cecilia's letters.
11Was one of five children of a penniless rabbi who died when Houdini was 18 years old.
12A common misconception is that his death was caused by a student who tried to test his famously strong stomach muscles by punching him. Although it is true that Houdini was not given sufficient time to prepare himself for the blows, landing him in a hospital, this is not what he died of. He died of diffuse peritonitis, nine days later, despite his appendix being ruptured by the unprovoked assault.
13Although born in Budapest, Hungary, he often gave his birthplace as Appleton, Wisconsin, where he was raised. Today, his boyhood home there is maintained as a museum.
14Became the first person to make a successful aircraft flight in Australia. At the time he said he may be forgotton as an escapologist but he would be remembered as an aviation pioneer. [March 1910]
15Pictured on a USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamp issued in his honor 3 July 2002.
16His cousin was the wife of Stooge Moe Howard
17In addition to his career as a stage magician and an escape artist, he also had a part time career as a debunker of mediums and other so called experts of the paranormal. However, his reasons for this campaign included a hope he could find an actual medium that could communicate with the dead.
18Based his stage name on that of the French magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, whom he would later denounce as charlatan!
19Married to his wife three times; first in secret, and then once in each of their respective religions' churches.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Haldane of the Secret Service1923Heath Haldane (as Houdini)
The Man from Beyond1922Howard Hillary / The Man From Beyond
Terror Island1920Harry Harper (as Houdini)
The Grim Game1919Harvey Hanford (as Houdini)
The Master Mystery1919Quentin Locke (as Houdini)

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Haldane of the Secret Service1923
The Soul of Bronze1921

Writer

Writer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Man from Beyond1922story

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Man from Beyond1922executive producer

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Gallup Extreme Magic: Live on Tour2002TV Special special thanks - as Eric Weiss

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Harry Houdini: Magic Among the Spirits2015Documentary
Lost Magic Decoded2012TV Movie documentaryHimself (uncredited)
The Magic of David Copperfield VI: Floating Over the Grand Canyon1984TV SpecialHimself (rumored, uncredited)
The Magic of David Copperfield II1979TV SpecialHimself (rumored, uncredited)
Animated Weekly, No. 51912Documentary shortHimself
Les exploits d'Houdini à Paris; ou, Les merveilleux expoits d'Houdini1909ShortHimself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Magic Show Story2015TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Magic History of Cinema2015DocumentaryHimself
Perspectives2014TV Series documentaryHimself
Glasgow: Big Night Out2014TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Amazing Race2012TV SeriesHimself
Tanked2012TV SeriesHimself
Oprah's Next Chapter2012TV SeriesHimself
Mysteries at the Museum2011TV Series documentaryHimself
David Blaine: Beautiful Struggle2010TV Movie documentaryHimself
Spisok korabley2008DocumentaryHarry Harper
Shockwave2008TV SeriesHimself
Phenomenon2007TV SeriesHimself
Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery2005TV Movie documentaryHimself
Magic2004TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself (as Houdini)
Ripley's Believe It or Not!2000-2002TV SeriesHimself
Gallup Extreme Magic: Live on Tour2002TV SpecialHimself (uncredited)
Heroes of Magic2000TV Special documentaryHimself
Houdini1996DocumentaryHimself
Houdini: Unlocking His Secrets1995TV MovieHimself
The Magic of David Copperfield XV: Fires of Passion1993TV SpecialHimself (uncredited)
The Best of Magic1989TV SeriesHimself
Magic with the Stars1982TV MovieHimself (uncredited)
In Search of...1981TV Series documentaryHimself
Days of Thrills and Laughter1961DocumentaryHimself (as Houdini)
The Golden Twenties1950DocumentaryHimself
Flicker Flashbacks No. 7, Series 51948ShortQuentin Locke (edited from "The Master Mystery (1920)") (uncredited)
The Old Bus1934Himself
Thrills of Yesterday1931ShortHimself

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1975Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureAwarded on October 31, 1975 at 7001 Hollywood Blvd.


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#Quote
1I make the most money, I think, in Russia and Paris, for the people of those countries are so willing to be amused, so eager to see something new and out of the ordinary.
2In all feats of fire-eating it should be noted that the head is thrown well back, so that the flame may pass out of the open mouth instead of up into the roof, as it would if the head were held naturally.
3The eating of burning brimstone is an entirely fake performance.
4The great day of the Fire-eater--or, should I say, the day of the great Fire-eater--has passed.
5Eating coals of fire has always been one of the sensational feats of the Fire Kings, as it is quite generally known that charcoal burns with an extremely intense heat.
6To cause the face to appear in a mass of flame make use of the following: mix together thoroughly petroleum, lard, mutton tallow and quick lime. Distill this over a charcoal fire, and the liquid which results can be burned on the face without harm.
7But it must not be thought that I say this out of personal experience: for in the many years that I have been before the public my secret methods have been steadily shielded by the strict integrity of my assistants, most of whom have been with me for years.
8Fire has always been and, seemingly, will always remain, the most terrible of the elements.
9Another method of eating burning coals employs small balls of burned cotton in a dish of burning alcohol.
10But then, so far as I know, I am the only performer who ever pledged his assistants to secrecy, honor and allegiance under a notarial oath.
11Flames from the lips may be produced by holding in the mouth a sponge saturated with the purest gasoline.
12It is still an open question, however, as to what extent exposure really injures a performer.
13I think that in a year I may retire. I cannot take my money with me when I die and I wish to enjoy it, with my family, while I live. I should prefer living in Germany to any other country, though I am an American, and am loyal to my country.
14No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth.
15My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the everyday commonplaces of my business.
16How the early priests came into possession of these secrets does not appear, and if there were ever any records of this kind the Church would hardly allow them to become public.
17Only one man ever betrayed my confidence, and that only in a minor matter.


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