David Blaine was born on April 4, 1973. He is an American illusionist and endurance artist. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has made his name as a performer of street and close-up magic. He has set and broken several world records. Theatre owner James Nederlander as well as The New York Times have referred to Blaine as a modern day Houdini.
- EARLY LIFE
Blaine was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is of Puerto Rican descent on his father's side, and Russian Jewish on his mother's. His mother, Patrice Maureen White was a school teacher living in New York, and his father William Perez was a Vietnam veteran. When he was four years old, he saw a magician performing magic in the subway. This sparked an interest in Blaine.He was raised by his single mother and attended many schools in Brooklyn. When he was ten years old, his mother married John Bukalo and they moved to Little Falls, New Jersey, where he attended Passaic Valley Regional High School. He has a half-brother named Michael James Bukalo. When he was 17 years old, Blaine moved to Manhattan, New York.
- STREET MAGIC
On May 19, 1997, Blaine's first television special, David Blaine: Street Magic aired on the ABC network. According to the New York Daily News, “Blaine can lay claim to his own brand of wizardry. The magic he offers in tonight’s show operates on an uncommonly personal level. When asked about his performance style, David explained, “I'd like to bring magic back to the place it used to be 100 years ago. Timemagazine commented, "his deceptively low-key, ultracool manner leaves spectators more amazed than if he'd razzle-dazzled. The concept of focusing on spectator reactions (for example, in his rendition of the Balducci levitation) changed the way that magic has been shown on TV. The New York Times wrote, “He's taken a craft that's been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it. Penn Jillette, of Penn & Teller, stated, "the biggest break through done in our lifetime was David Blaine's 'Street Magic,' where his idea was to do really simple tricks but to concentrate to turn the camera around on the people watching instead of the people doing. So to make the audience watch the audience, which that first special 'Street Magic,' is the best TV magic special ever done and really, really does break new ground.
- BURIED ALIVE
On April 5, 1999, Blaine was entombed in an underground plastic box underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank for seven days across from Trump Placeom 68th St. and Riverside Drive. According to CNN, "Blaine's only communication to the outside world was by a hand buzzer, which could have alerted an around-the-clock emergency crew standing by." BBC Newsreported that the cramped plastic coffin offered six inches (152 mm) of headroom and two inches on each side. During the endurance stunt Blaine ate nothing and drank only two to three tablespoons of water a day. An estimated 75,000 people visited the site, including Marie Blood, Harry Houdini's niece, who said, "My uncle did some amazing things, but he could not have done this. On the final day of the stunt, April 12, hundreds of news teams were stationed at the site for the coffin-opening. A team of construction workers removed a portion of the 75 cubic feet (2.1 m3) of gravel surrounding the six-foot-deep coffin before a crane lifted the water tank. Blaine emerged and told the crowd "I saw something very prophetic a vision of every race, every religion, every age group banding together, and that made all this worthwhile. BBC Newsstated, "The 26-year-old magician has outdone his hero, Harry Houdini, who had planned a similar feat but died in 1926 before he could perform it.
- FROZEN IN TIME
On November 27, 2000, Blaine began a stunt called "Frozen in Time", which was covered on a TV special. Blaine stood encased in a massive block of ice located in Times Square, New York City. He was lightly dressed and seen to be shivering even before the blocks of ice were sealed around him. A tube supplied him with air and water while his urine was removed with another tube. He was encased in the box of ice for 63 hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds before being removed with chain saws. The ice was transparent and resting on an elevated platform to show that he was actually inside the ice the entire time. CNNconfirmed that "thousands of people braved the pouring rain Wednesday night to catch a glimpse of Blaine as workers cut away at the ice. He was removed from the ice in an obviously dazed and disoriented state, wrapped in blankets and taken to the hospital immediately because doctors feared he might be going into shock. The New York Times reported, "The magician who emerged from the increasingly unstable ice box seemed a shadow of the confident, robust, shirtless fellow who entered two days before. Blaine said in the documentary follow-up to this feat that it took a month before he was able to walk again and that he had no plans to ever again attempt a stunt of this difficulty.
On May 22, 2002, a cranelifted Blaine onto a 100-foot (30 m) high and 22-inch (0.56 m) wide pillar in Bryant Park, New York City. Although he was not harnessed to the pillar, there were two retractable handles on either side of him to grasp in the event of harsh weather. The Evening Standard's James Langton wrote, "He was battered by high winds and unusually cold May weather during his first night and would have been killed or seriously injured if he had fallen. He remained on the pillar for exactly 35 hours. The New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik wrote, “David Blaine, standing up there, is actually as good a magical metaphor for the moment as Houdini, fighting his way out of the straitjacket of immigrant identity toward prosperity, was for his. With his legs weak from standing atop the pillar for so long, he ended the feat by jumping down onto a landing platform made out of a 12-foot (3.7 m) high pile of cardboard boxes and suffered a mild concussion.