David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin

Illusionist David Copperfield after the evenin...

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin

David Copperfield (born David Seth Kotkin; September 16, 1956) is an Emmy Award-winning American illusionist, and was described by Forbes as the most commercially successful magician in history.

Copperfield’s network specials have been nominated for 38 Emmy Awards and won a total of 21 Emmys. Best known for his combination of storytelling and illusion, Copperfield’s career of over 30 years has earned him 11 Guinness World Records, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a knighthood by the French government, and he was named aLiving Legend by the US Library of Congress. Notable illusions created and performed by David Copperfield include vanishing the Statue of Liberty, walking through the Great Wall of China, escaping from a locked safe inside an imploding building, and flying through the air night after night in his Broadway show.

Copperfield has so far sold 40 million tickets and grossed over $3 billion, which is more than any other solo entertainer in history, including MadonnaMichael Jackson and Lady Gaga.

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin currently performs over 500 shows a year. When not performing, Copperfield creates experiences for his chain of 11 islands in the Bahamas – Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay, which has just completed a $35 million renovation under Copperfield’s supervision

David Copperfield was born David Seth Kotkin in Metuchen, New Jersey, the son of Jewish parents, Rebecca, an insurance adjuster, and Hyman Kotkin, who owned and operated a men’s haberdashery in Metuchen called Korby’s.

David Copperfield’s mother was born in Jerusalem, Israel, while his paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia (present-day Ukraine).

When David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin was 10, he began practicing magic as „Davino the Boy Magician“ in his neighborhood, and at the age of 12, became the youngest person ever admitted to the Society of American Magicians. Shy and a loner, the young David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin saw magic as a way of fitting in and, later, as a way to get girls. As a teenager, Copperfield became fascinated with Broadway and frequently sneaked into shows, especially musicals featuring Stephen Sondheim or Bob Fosse. By age 16, he was teaching a course in magic at New York University.

At age 18, David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin enrolled at Fordham University, and was cast in the lead role of the Chicago-based musical The Magic Man (written by Barbara D’Amato and directed by Holland, MI’s John Tamimi) three weeks into his freshman year, adopting his new stage name „David Copperfield“ from the Charles Dickens book of the same name. At age 19, he was headlining at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Copperfield performing for the 1977 ABC special.

Copperfield’s career in television began in earnest when he was discovered by Joseph Cates, a producer of Broadway shows and television specials. Cates produced a magic special in 1977 on ABC called „The Magic of ABC“ hosted by Copperfield, as well as several of „The Magic of David Copperfield“ specials on CBS between 1978 and 1998. There have been 20 Copperfield TV specials between 1977 and 2001.

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin played the character of „Ken the Magician“ in the 1980 horror film Terror Train. He also made an uncredited appearance in the 1994 film Prêt-à-Porter. Most of his media appearances have been through television specials and guest spots on television programs. His illusions have included making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying, levitating over the Grand Canyon, and walking through the Great Wall of China.

In 1996, Copperfield joined forces with Dean KoontzJoyce Carol OatesRay Bradbury and others forDavid Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible, an anthology of original fiction set in the world of magic and illusion. A second volume was later published in 1997, called David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination. In addition to the 2 books, David also wrote an essay as part of the „This I Believe“ series from NPR and the This I Believe, Inc.[21] Also during 1996, in collaboration with Francis Ford CoppolaDavid Ives, and Eiko Ishioka, Copperfield’s Broadway show „Dreams & Nightmares“ broke box office records.

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin notes that his role models were not magicians and that „My idols were Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Orson Welles and Walt Disney … they took their individual art forms and they moved people with them … I wanted to do the same thing with magic. I wanted to take magic and make it romantic and make it sexy and make it funny and make it goofy … all the different things that a songwriter gets to express or a filmmaker gets to express ….“

On 7 May 2009, Copperfield was dropped by Michael Jackson from Jackson’s residency at the O2 Arena after an alleged row over money. Copperfield wanted $1 million (£666,000) per show. Copperfield denied the reports of a row, saying „don’t believe everything you read.“ News of Copperfield’s collaboration with Jackson first surfaced on April 1, 2009, and has since been reported by several websites as a possible April Fool’s prank.

In August 2009, Copperfield brought his show to Australia.

International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin owns the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts, which houses the world’s largest collection of historically significant magic memorabilia, books, and artifacts. Begun in 1991 when Copperfield purchased the Mullholland Library of Conjuring and the Allied Arts, which contained the world’s largest collection of Houdini memorabilia, the museum comprises approximately 80,000 items of magic memorabilia, including Houdini’s Water Torture Cabinet and his Metamorphosis Trunk, Orson Welles‘ Buzz Saw Illusion and automata created by Robert-Houdin.

The museum is not open to the public; tours are reserved for „colleagues, fellow magicians, and serious collectors“. Located in a warehouse at Copperfield’s headquarters in Las Vegas, the museum is entered via a secret door in what was described by actor Hugh Jackman as a „sex shop“ and by Forbes as a „mail-order lingerie warehouse“. „‚It doesn’t need to be secret, it needs to be respected,‘ he said. ‚If a scholar or journalist needs a piece of magic history, it’s there.'“

Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay

In 2006 David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin bought eleven Bahamian islands called Musha Cay. Re-named „The Islands of Copperfield Bay,“ the islands are a private resort. Guests have reportedly included Oprah Winfrey and John Travolta, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin was married there.

„Magic Underground“ restaurant

David Copperfield’s Magic Underground was planned to be a restaurant based on Copperfield’s magic. There was a sign on Hollywood Boulevard during the late 90s indicating the restaurant was coming soon. Signs were also located around Pleasure Island and signs outside Disney-MGM Studios. A Magic Underground restaurant was also going to open in New York’s Times Square. Plans also included eventual expansion into Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as well as Paris and Tokyo. The restaurants were to have magic props and other items on the walls of the restaurants while magicians would go around to tables doing sleight of hand tricks. There was also to be a larger stage for larger stunts. The restaurant in Times Square was 85 percent completed, but, amid disputes between the creative team and the financial team, and enormous cost overruns, finances dried up from the investors, so the project was cancelled, and Disney cancelled the lease. David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin was not an investor in the project; the investors reportedly lost $34 million on the project, and subcontractors placed $15 million in liens.

Accidents and injuries

On March 11, 1984, while rehearsing an illusion called „Escape from Death“ where he was shackled and handcuffed in a tank of water, Copperfield became tangled in the chains and started taking in water and banging into the sides of the tank. He was pulled from the water after 1 minute 20 seconds, hyperventilating and in shock, and taken to a Burbank hospital, and found to have pulled tendons in arms and legs. He was in a wheelchair for a week and used a cane for a period thereafter.

Doing a rope trick, David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin accidentally cut off the tip of his finger with sharp scissors. He was rushed to hospital and the fingertip was re-attached.

On December 17, 2008, during a live performance in Las Vegas, one of Copperfield’s assistants was sucked into the spinning blades of a 12 feet (3.7 m) high industrial fan that Copperfield walks through.[47] The assistant sustained multiple fractures to his arm, lacerations that required stitching, and severe bleeding.[47] Copperfield canceled the rest of the performance and offered the audience members refunds.


On July 11, 1994, David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin sued magician and author Herbert L. Becker in order to prevent publication of Becker’s book which reveals how magicians perform their illusions. Becker won the law suit. However, the book was published without exposing any of Copperfield’s secrets. Because of a secrecy agreement Becker had signed with Copperfield, and an independent finding that Becker’s description of Copperfield’s methods was inaccurate, the publisher removed the section on Copperfield from the book before publication. In 1997, Becker sued Copperfield and Lifetime Books for US$50 million for causing breach of contract between himself and Lifetime Books, the publisher of his book All the Secrets of Magic Revealed. Becker won this lawsuit when Copperfield settled at the eleventh hour and the publisher lost during the court battle.

In 1997, Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer sued Paris Match for US$30 million after the magazine claimed their relationship was a stunt, that Schiffer was paid for pretending to be Copperfield’s fiancée and that she didn’t even like him. In 1999, they won an undisclosed sum and a retraction from Paris Match. Herbert L. Becker who Copperfield asked to give testimony regarding the validity of the relationship gave convincing testimony that the relationship was real. Copperfield’s publicist confirmed that while Schiffer had a contract to appear in the audience at Copperfield’s show in Berlin where they met, she was not under contract to be his „consort“.

On August 25, 2000, Copperfield unsuccessfully sued Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company for reimbursement of a $506,343 ransom paid to individuals in Russia who had commandeered the entertainer’s equipment there.

In 2004, John Melk, co-founder of Blockbuster Inc., and previous owner of Musha Cay, sued David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin for fraud after Copperfield’s purchase of the island chain, alleging that Copperfield had deliberately obscured his identity during the purchase and that he would not have sold the island to Copperfield. Copperfield claimed that Melk had agreed to sell the property to Copperfield’s Imagine Nation Company, and that Copperfield negotiated the deal through a third party because he feared Melk was „seeking to exploit“ Copperfield’s celebrity status by demanding an unrealistic price. The case was settled in 2006. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed.

On November 6, 2007, Viva Art International Ltd and Maz Concerts Inc. sued Copperfield for nearly $2.2 million for breach of contract and the Indonesian promoter of David Copperfield’s canceled shows in Jakarta held on to $550,000 worth of Copperfield’s equipment in lieu of money paid to Copperfield that had not been returned. Copperfield countersued. The dispute was resolved in July 2009.

Copperfield was accused of sexual assault in 2007 by Lacey L. Carroll. A federal grand jury in Seattle closed the investigation in January 2010 without bringing charges against Copperfield. In January 2010 the Bellevue City Prosecutor’s Office brought misdemeanor charges against Carroll for prostitution and allegedly making a false accusation of rape in another case. Carroll filed a civil lawsuit against Copperfield, which was dropped in April 2010.

Personal life

David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin was engaged to supermodel Claudia Schiffer for six years, but the couple separated in 1999 citing work schedules.

In April 2006, David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin and two female assistants were robbed at gunpoint after a performance in West Palm Beach, Florida. His assistants gave the robbers their money, passports, and a cell phone. According to his police statement, Copperfield did not hand over anything, claiming that he used sleight of hand to hide his possessions. One of Copperfield’s assistants wrote down most of the license plate number, and the suspects were later arrested, tried, and sentenced.


David Copperfield on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List
Year (June-June) Pay (USD, millions) Power Rank Pay Rank
1999–2000 not on list
2001 60 23 5
2002 not on list
2003 55 43 10
2004 57 35 10
2005 57 41 10
2006–2008 not on list
2009 30 80 50

Forbes magazine reported that Copperfield earned $55 million in 2003, making him the tenth highest paid celebrity in the world (earnings figures are pre-tax and before deductions for agents‘ and attorneys‘ fees, etc.).[80] He earned $57 million in 2004 and 2005, and $30 million in 2009 in entertainment earnings, according to Forbes.[81][82]Copperfield performs over 500 shows per year throughout the world.[83]

Charitable activities

Project Magic

In 1982, Copperfield founded Project Magic, a rehabilitation program to help disabled patients regain lost or damaged dexterity skills by using sleight-of-hand magic as a method of physical therapy. The program has been accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association, and is in use in over 1100 hospitals throughout 30 countries worldwide. Copperfield made an appearance on Oprah Radio in April 2008 to talk with Oprah Radio host Dr. Mehmet Oz about how the use of magic can help disabled people.

Achievements and awards

David Copperfield’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The hand prints of David Copperfield in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park.

  • The Society of American Magicians, „Magician of the Century“ and „King of Magic“.
  • Nominated 38 times for Emmy Awards and has won 21 times.
  • Forbes’s „The Celebrity 100“ for 2009 ranks Copperfield as the 80th most powerful celebrity, with earnings of $30 million.

Guinness World Records

Copperfield holds 11 Guinness World Records.[2] They include:

1. Largest private collection of magic artifacts

2. Most tickets sold worldwide by a solo entertainer

3. Highest career earnings as a magician

4. Highest Broadway gross in a week

5. Largest Broadway attendance in a week

6. Largest international television audience for a magician

7. Most magic shows performed in a year

8. Most valuable magic poster

9. Largest work archive for a magician

10. Highest annual earnings for a magician

11. Largest illusion ever staged

Television specials

  1. The Magic of ABC Starring David Copperfield (1977) (With special guests Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond)
  2. The Magic of David Copperfield (1978) (With special guests Orson Welles and Bernadette Peters)
    • 1 Emmy Nomination: Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction and Electronic Camerawork
  3. The Magic of David Copperfield II (1979) (With special guest Bill Bixby)
    • 1 Emmy Nomination: Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction and Electronic Camerawork
  4. The Magic of David Copperfield III: Levitating Ferrari (1980) (With special guest Jack Klugman)
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction; Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction and Electronic Camerawork
  5. The Magic of David Copperfield IV: The Vanishing Airplane (1981) (With special guest Jason Robards)
    • 1 Emmy Win: Outstanding Technical Direction and Electronic Camerawork
  6. The Magic of David Copperfield V: Vanishing the Statue of Liberty (1983) (With special guests Morgan Fairchild and Eugene Levy)
  7. The Magic of David Copperfield VI: Floating Over the Grand Canyon (1984) (With special guest Bonnie Tyler theme Holding Out For A Hero)
    • 1 Emmy Win: Outstanding Technical Direction/Camerawork/Video for a Limited Series or a Special
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction; Outstanding Live and Tape Sound Mixing and Sound Effects for a Limited Series or a Special
  8. The Magic of David Copperfield VII: Familiares (1985) (With special guest Angie Dickinson)
    • 1 Emmy Win: Outstanding Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Limited Series or a Special
  9. The Magic of David Copperfield VIII: Walking Through the Great Wall of China (1986) (With special guest Ben Vereen)
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Miniseries or a Special
  10. The Magic of David Copperfield IX: Escape From Alcatraz (1987) (With special guest Ann Jillian)
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Miniseries or a Special
  11. The Magic of David Copperfield X: The Bermuda Triangle (1988) (With special guest Lisa Hartman)
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Miniseries or a Special
  12. The Magic of David Copperfield XI: Explosive Encounter (1989) (With special guest Emma Samms) Filmed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Orange County, California
    • 2 Emmy Wins: Outstanding Costume Design for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special
    • 2 Emmy Nomination: Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or a Special
  13. The Magic of David Copperfield XII: The Niagara Falls Challenge (1990) (With special guest Kim Alexis) Filmed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Orange County, California
    • 1 Emmy Win: Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or a Special
  14. The Magic of David Copperfield XIII: Mystery On The Orient Express (1991) (With special guest Jane Seymour) Filmed at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa Bay, Florida
    • 4 Emmy Wins: Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects; Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special; Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or a Special
    • 1 Emmy Nomination: Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – Multi-Camera Production
  15. The Magic of David Copperfield XIV: Flying – Live The Dream (1992) (With special guest James Earl Jones) Filmed at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    • 3 Emmy Win: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – Multi-Camera Production; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries or a Special
  16. The Magic of David Copperfield XV: Fires Of Passion (1993) (With special guest Wayne Gretzky) Filmed in part at Caesars Palace inLas Vegas and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa Bay, Florida
    • 3 Emmy Win: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – Multi-Camera Production; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or a Special
  17. David Copperfield: 15 Years of Magic (1994) (With special guest Claudia Schiffer)
    • 1 Emmy Win: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – Multi-Camera Production
  18. The Magic of David Copperfield XVI: Unexplained Forces (1995) – Filmed at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Tampa Bay, Florida
    • 3 Emmy Wins: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Miniseries or a Special – Multi-Camera Production; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Program, Miniseries or a Special; Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Miniseries or a Special
    • 2 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program; Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or a Special
  19. David Copperfield: The Great Escapes
  20. The Magic of David Copperfield XVII: Tornado of Fire (2001) (With special guest Carson Daly) – Filmed in at the Mid-South Coliseum inMemphis, Tennessee and live tornado stunt performed at Pier 94 in New York City, NY[90]
    • 1 Emmy Nomination: Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program

Worldwide tours

  • The Magic of David Copperfield: Live on Stage (1983–1986)
  • The Magic of David Copperfield (1987–1990)
  • David Copperfield: Radical New Illusions (1991–1992)
  • David Copperfield: Magic for the 90’s (1992–1994)
  • David Copperfield: Beyond Imagination (a.k.a. The Best of David Copperfield) (1995–1996)
  • David Copperfield: Dreams and Nightmares (a.k.a. Magic is Back) (1996–1998)
  • David Copperfield: Journey of a Lifetime (a.k.a. U!) (1999–2000)
  • David Copperfield: Unknown Dimension (a.k.a. Global Encounter) (2000–2001)
  • David Copperfield: Portal (2001–2002)
  • David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion (a.k.a. World of Wonders) (2003–present)


Notable tricks

See also


  1. abcd Forbes.com, „Houdini in the Desert“ May 8, 2006, available at http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/0508/153.html
  2. abc Guinness World Records 2006, pg. 197 (Isbn no 1904994024)
  3. ab„Magic Web Channel hall of fame – David Copperfield“. Magicwebchannel.com. 1956-09-16. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  4. ab„Living Legends“. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  5. ab„Baby it’s certainly no illusion“New York Post. 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  6. ^„David Copperfield’s Caribbean Island“. Retrieved 2011-09-01.
  7. ab Peres, Daniel. „Hy about Life“. Remember Hy.
  8. ^ Witchel, Alex (1996-11-24). „A Maestro of the Magic Arts Returns to His Roots“. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-12-06. „David Seth Kotkin was born in Metuchen, N.J., 40 years ago; David Copperfield was born when David Kotkin turned 18, at the suggestion of the wife of a New York Post reporter. Which is why his passport reads David Kotkin, a k a David Copperfield.“
  9. ^ Ike Hughes (2006). „David Copperfield has made a career out of dazzling people“. Lansing State Journal. Retrieved on 2008-09-22. „His dad, who managed a men’s clothing store, was the son of Russian immigrants. His mom was born in Jerusalem; both wanted him to go to college and into a profession.“
  10. ^http://www.celebritygossip.com/celebrities/david-copperfield/
  11. ^ Espinoza, Galina (2001-04-09). „A Lift Out of Life – David Copperfield“. People.com. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  12. ^„On stage: An intimate evening of magic“. .canada.com. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  13. abDavid Copperfield Bio from A&E
  14. ab Witchel, Alex (1996-11-24). „A Maestro of the Magic Arts Returns to His Roots – The New York Times“. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  15. ^„The Victoria Advocate – Google News Archive Search“. news.google.com. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  16. ^ Berson, Misha (1997-07-24). „Entertainment & the Arts | Colossal Copperfield – Magic Superstar Throws Extravaganza As Big As Keyarena | Seattle Times Newspaper“. Community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  17. ^„Short bio from Chicago Gigs on Copperfield“. Chicagogigs.com. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  18. ^„About Barbara D’Amato“. „D’Amato is a playwright, novelist, and crime researcher…Her musical comedies, The Magic Man and the children’s musical The Magic of Young Houdini, written with husband Anthony D’Amato, played in Chicago and London.“
  19. ^ C. Spenser Beggs (2002). „The magic of David Copperfield“. The Online Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  20. ab„Joseph Cates, 74, a Producer Of Innovative Specials for TV“. New York Times. 1998-10-12. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  21. ^„Renowned Illusionist David Copperfield to Offer Personal Essay on This I Believe Segment on All Things Considered“. National Public Radio. „Renowned illusionist David Copperfield discusses his father’s influence and the impact of kindness in an essay for the NPR series This I Believe airing on All Things Considered, Monday, August 21.“
  22. ^ Brantley, Ben (1996-12-26). „Poof! Quick as smoke questions about magic just seem to disappear“. New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  23. ab„Magic Television – Oprah: David Copperfield“Magic Television. 1996-02-19. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  24. ^„Daily Express | Showbiz :: Jackson swaps Copperfield for Angel“. http://www.express.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  25. ^„Copperfield denies rumours“. Sky News. 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  26. ^„David Copperfield Can’t Make King of Pop Items Disappear“. Gossip Cop. 2009.
  27. ^„David Copperfield Was Never On Jackson UK Tour“. Undercover.com.au. 2009.
  28. ^ Pete Hellard, „David Copperfield to bring magic act to Australia“ Couriermail.com.au March 15, 2009, available athttp://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25181641-5003423,00.html
  29. ^ „More Than Meets the Eye“ The Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 7, 2009, available athttp://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/arts/more-than-meets-the-eye/2009/08/06/1249350628986.html
  30. abc Braxton, Greg (2002-11-29). „Curator Copperfield“. articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-03.
  31. ^„International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts – MagicPedia“. Geniimagazine.com. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  32. ^ COP-A-FEEL-N.Y. Posthttp://www.nypost.com/seven/10202007/news/nationalnews/cop_a_feel.htm(„We pull up outside this sex shop and David gets out, pulls out a set of keys, and walks in, and we’re thinking ‚Oh my god what have we got ourselves into here?'“)
  33. ^ Witchel, Alex (1996-11-24). „A Maestro of the Magic Arts Returns to His Roots – The New York Times“. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  34. ab —Jennifer Hall (2009-03-01). „The Robb Reader: David Copperfield“. Robb Report. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  35. ^ „Magic Isles: David Copperfield’s latest trick is a resort encompassing 11 Bahamian islands, The Robb Report, pg. 72 (March 2009)
  36. ^ Forbes.com, Most Expensive Resorts 2006, available athttp://www.forbes.com/2006/05/17/cx_sb_0518featslide_2.html?thisSpeed=6000
  37. ^ Dann, Caron (2007-12-12). „Celebrity islands | Travel“. News.com.au. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  38. ab„Presto! A David Copperfield Magic Restaurant – The New York Times“. http://www.nytimes.com. 1997-07-13. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  39. ^„Walt Dated World – Disney/MGM Studios“.
  40. abc Bagli, Charles V. (1999-09-26). „Poof! $34 Million Vanishes on Broadway – The New York Times“. http://www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  41. ^ Finnie, Shaun (2006). The Disneylands That Never Were. Lulu.com. ISBN9781847285430.
  42. ^„Cost overruns stop Copperfield’s construction“. findarticles.com. 1998. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  43. ^„BW Online | October 19, 1998 | TALK SHOW“. http://www.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2009-05-20. „subcontractors slapped $15 million in liens on the project“
  44. ^„Magician has close call“. Spokane. 1984-03-21. Retrieved 2009-06-07. „The diagnosis was basically abrasions and pulled tendons in arms and legs.“
  45. ^ Wenzel, John (2009-05-08). „Denver-bound Copperfield decries revealing of secrets – The Denver Post“. http://www.denverpost.com. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  46. ^ Lavine, Gail (2003). Rags To Riches: Motivating Stories Of How Ordinary People Achieved Extraordinary Wealth. jUniverse. p. 145. ISBN059530091X.
  47. ab„News – EXCLUSIVE: David Copperfield Assistant Rushed to Hospital During Las Vegas Show | Usmagazine.com“. http://www.usmagazine.com. Retrieved 2009-06-06.[dead link]
  48. ^„David Copperfield’s Publishing Problem“. http://www.ew.com. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  49. ^„STLtoday – St. Louis Post-Dispatch Archives“. nl.newsbank.com. 1994-09-02. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  50. ab„Magic book won’t include Copperfield“. Rome News-Tribune. 1994. Retrieved 2009-06-07.[dead link]
  51. ^„America’s top two magicians locked in a legal battle“New Straits Times. 1997. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  52. ^„Fairytale romance that began with a cunning illusion – The Independent“. London: http://www.independent.co.uk. 1997-07-11. Retrieved 2009-06-08. „The French magazine Paris Match claims that the meeting was a carefully calculated stunt, to boost Ms Schiffer’s profile in the US and Copperfield’s career in Europe. „It was just a plot to dupe their loyal fans, and we’ve got the contracts to prove it,“ said the magazine.“
  53. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (1997-08-04). „Time Magazine – Copperfield V. Paris Match“. http://www.time.com. Retrieved 2009-06-08. „The suit states that Paris Match added that the supermodel now gets paid for pretending to be Copperfield’s fiance and doesn’t even like him.“
  54. ^„Shedding Light: Copperfield talks candidly about his profession“. Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved 2009-06-08. „Last year Copperfield slapped a $30 million lawsuit on Paris-Match magazine that alleged in a story that the Copperfield-Schiffer relationship was mere illusion; little more than a business deal to enhance both their careers.“
  55. ^„Copperfield’s Claudia Clone“. New York: http://www.nydailynews.com. 1999-08-29. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
  56. ^„Love, Honor and Portray“. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1997-07-16. Retrieved 2009-06-12. „Copperfield’s publicist said he and Schiffer had contracts to do the 1993 show, but „there is no contract that states Claudia is there as some sort of consort.““[dead link]
  57. ^ „David Copperfield Sues Fireman’s Fund“ Insurance Journal, Aug. 29, 2000, available athttp://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2000/08/29/11324.htm(last visited May 20, 2009)
  58. ^„Jury goes against magician. (12-MAR-03) Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV)“. http://www.accessmylibrary.com. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  59. ^ Philadelphia, Desa (January 24, 2000). „David Copperfield Has a New Assistant: the KGB“Time Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-31.
  60. ab„FOXNews.com – Property Owner Sued Copperfield Over Sale of Island Where Alleged Rape Occurred“. http://www.foxnews.com. 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  61. ^ „Magic Star in $56.5 Mil Exuma Resort Row,“ Bahamas B2B.com, Feb. 2, 2004, available athttp://www.bahamasb2b.com/news/wmview.php?ArtID=3236
  62. ^„Promoters Sue David Copperfield for $2.2 Million“. Voice of America. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
  63. ^„David Copperfield rep says shows canceled over money“. New York: http://www.nydailynews.com. 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  64. ^„Indonesian promoter says he will hold Copperfield’s stage props | Earth Times News“. http://www.earthtimes.org. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  65. ^„Magic man — Page 1 — Times Union – Albany NY“. http://www.timesunion.com. Retrieved 2010-04-23.[dead link]
  66. ^„Woman in David Copperfield’s Rape Probe Arrested | ABC News“. abcnews.go.org. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  67. ^ Carter, Mike (2010-02-05). „Magician, pageant runner-up battle on in court“. seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  68. ^ Barrett, Katherine (2007-10-19). „Copperfield raid related to Bahamas incident“CNN.
  69. ^„BBC News – David Copperfield ‚rape‘ investigation closed“. news.bbc.co.uk. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
  70. ^ Carter, Mike (2010-01-26). „Local News | Woman who accused Copperfield of rape is now facing prostitution charge | Seattle Times Newspaper“. seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
  71. ^ Carter, Mike (2010-03-23). „Local News | 2011 trial date in lawsuit against magician Copperfield | Seattle Times Newspaper“. seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  72. ^„Wash. woman drops rape lawsuit against Copperfield – Forbes.com“. http://www.forbes.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21.[dead link]
  73. ^„Woman Drops Sexual Assault Suit Against David Copperfield – Trials & Lawsuits, David Copperfield : People.com“. people.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  74. ^„Magician David Copperfield cleared of rape charges“. News.com.au. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  75. ^ They had met in 1993 at a Berlin celebrity gala when he brought her on stage to participate in a mind reading act. „CANOE — JAM! – Schiffer’s big shift“. jam.canoe.ca. Retrieved 2009-05-20. „It was our work schedules that ended the relationship.“
  76. ^„Magician David Copperfield robbed after show at Kravis Center“Palm Beach Post. April 25, 2006.
  77. ^„David Copperfield tricks robbers“USAToday. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  78. ^„David Copperfield Robbed At Gunpoint“. The Smoking Gun. 2006-04-26.
  79. ^„The Celebrity 100“. Forbes.com. 2002-06-20. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  80. ^„The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities – Forbes.com“. http://www.forbes.com. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  81. ^„#80 David Copperfield – The 2009 Celebrity 100 – Forbes.com“. http://www.forbes.com. 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  82. ^Forbes.com 2005 listing and 2004
  83. ^„David Copperfield to Captivate Seoul AudienceMarkBasquille“. The Seoul Times. May 2004.
  84. ab„USATODAY.com – David Copperfield conjures therapeutic magic“. http://www.usatoday.com. 2002-04-15. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  85. ^„Magician David Copperfield“. „Can performing magic tricks help disabled patients heal? Dr. Oz talks with illusionist David Copperfield about how magic has helped him and how, in turn, he is helping others through his organization Project Magic.“
  86. ^ „DAVID COPPERFIELD NAMED ‘KING OF MAGIC’ AND ‘MAGICIAN OF THE CENTURY’,“magicsam.com, 9/14/11, available at http://www.magicsam.com/press/index.asp#Copperfield2011
  87. ^„IMDB“. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
  88. ^„David Copperfield (I) – Biography“. Imdb.com. 1956-09-16. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
  89. ^ „The Celebrity 100,“ Forbes.com, 6/3/09, available athttp://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/53/celebrity-09_David-Copperfield_62B2.html
  90. ^„Copperfield will fight ice with fire“USAToday. April 3, 2001.

David Copperfield (* 16. September 1956 in MetuchenNew Jersey als David Seth Kotkin) ist ein US-amerikanischer Illusionist.

Seit den 1970er-Jahren ist er durch zahlreiche TV-Auftritte bekannt geworden. Er gibt jedes Jahr bis zu 500 Live-Shows vor ausverkauften Häusern in aller Welt.

David Kotkin, der in bürgerlichen Verhältnissen aufwuchs und dessen Eltern ein Herrenmodegeschäft in Metuchen betrieben, lernte in einem Ferienlager für Bauchredner seine ersten Zaubertricks. Nachdem der visionäre kanadische Zauberer Doug Henning die Bühnenzauberkunst stilistisch revolutioniert und das Genre „Zaubermusical“ erfunden hatte, wurde Kotkin mit nur 17 Jahren in dem Musical The Magic Manbesetzt. Anfangs hatte sich der Sohn russischer Einwanderer „Davino“ genannt; wegen des eleganten Klanges entschied er sich nun – nach der Hauptfigur aus dem gleichnamigen Roman von Charles Dickens – für David Copperfield. Schon in dieser Zeit gewann er zahlreiche Preise und Auszeichnungen amerikanischer Magierzirkel.

Zauberer-Superstar Doug Henning, der auch Pionier der fernsehgerechten Zauberkunst gewesen war und das seit Kalanag ausgestorbene Metier „Großillusionsshow“ wiederbelebt hatte, zog sich aus der Zauberkunst überraschend zurück und verkaufte seine Requisiten an Copperfield. Dieser übernahm auch den Sendeplatz des jährlichen Weihnachtsspecials sowie Hennings Berater. In seinen ersten TV-Shows inszenierte Copperfield Zaubernummern in Form von Spielszenen und eiferte dem Entfesselungskünstler Harry Houdini nach. Ihm gelang eine Gratwanderung zwischen der Kunstfigur eines tatsächlich magischen Fernsehzauberers und Selbstironie.

Um das jährliche TV-Special mit einer jeweils spektakuläreren Sensation zu bewerben, ließ Copperfield immer größere Gegenstände wie zunächst einen Ferrari und dann sogar ein ganzes Flugzeug verschwinden. Hennings Berater Jim Steinmeyer überzeugte Copperfield als weitere Steigerung, nunmehr die Freiheitsstatue während einer Live-Show verschwinden zu lassen. Nach der 1983 mit sensationell hohen Quoten gelaufenen Sendung war Copperfield kein Zauberkünstler mehr, sondern „der Mann, der die Freiheitsstatue verschwinden ließ“. Hatte er zuvor seine Show durch Gaststars aufgewertet, so war er inzwischen selbst zum Superstar geworden. In dem Film Monster im Nachtexpreß wurde er für die Rolle eines Zauberkünstlers besetzt. Sein Stil entsprach der damaligen Show-Konvention, spielte oft auf aktuelle Filme an und war vom Musical geprägt. Jedoch verwendete Copperfield vereinzelt auch zeitgenössische Musik wie die von Earth, Wind and Fire, zu deren Bühnen-Show wiederum Copperfield Spezialeffekte beigesteuert hatte. 1987 war er prominent genug für einen Cameo-Auftritt in Michael Jacksons Video zu Liberian Girl, für dessen spätere Dangerous-Tournee Copperfield Illusionstechnik beisteuerte.

Waren Assistentinnen in Illusionsshows meist optische Staffage, entdeckte Copperfield sie als Frauen und gestaltete seine Bühnenillusionen fortan als eine Art Flirt. Zu der Musik von Genesi kreierte seine Choreographin und damalige Bühnenpartnerin Joan Spina Mitte der 80er Jahre einen neuen, romantischen Stil, der insbesondere beim weiblichen Publikum auf große Resonanz stieß. Entsprechend den freizügigeren 90ern spielte Copperfield zunehmend eindeutiger auf Sexualität an und setzte sein Schmusemacho-Image offensiv ein.

Copperfield verfolgte schon früh die Strategie, jedem bestehenden Zauberkunststück seinen persönlichen Stempel aufzudrücken und die denkbar stärkste Präsentation zu entwickeln. Da Copperfield schon in den 80er Jahren jährlich mehrere hundert Shows gab, verfügte er nicht nur über einen großen Etat, sondern auch über reichlich Gelegenheit, zu experimentieren und neue Präsentationen auf ihre Publikumswirksamkeit zu testen. Während Copperfields Leistung durchgehend in der Interpretation von fremden Kunststücken bestand, schrieb er vor allem mit zwei von seinem Team entwickelten Großillusionen Zaubergeschichte: Der als gescheiterte Entfesselung inszenierten Variation der „zersägten Jungfrau“ (Todessäge) sowie seinem über einen Zeitraum von 10 Jahren mit John Gaughan entwickelten Fliegen (Flying-Illusion), das auf der Bühne so realistisch wie ein Filmtrick wirkte. Für das unverwechselbare Design von Copperfields Requisiten ist der Industriedesigner und Zauberkünstler Homer Liwag verantwortlich.

In seinen jährlichen Fernsehshows musste Copperfield nach der verschwundenen Freiheitsstatue jeweils ähnlich spektakuläre Sensationen bieten, die er meistens im Freien an originellen Orten inszenierte: eine von Houdini inspirierte Flucht aus Alcatraz, der Gang durch dieChinesische Mauer, ein esoterisches Erscheinenlassen eines Schiffes im Bermuda-Dreieck, die Flucht aus einem zum Abriss gesprengten Gebäude, ein schwebender und in der Luft verschwindender Waggon des Orient-Expresses, eine Entfesselung in den Niagarafällen usw. Während seine Shows mit inzwischen 21 Emmys ausgezeichnet wurden, waren seine ohne Live-Publikum abgefilmten Illusionen, wie ein Schweben durch den Grand Canyon oder die spielfilmartige Show im Bermuda-Dreieck, künstlerische Sackgassen, die er umgehend wieder verließ. Während Zauberkunst im Fernsehen meistens an Wirkung extrem verliert und sich daher vorwiegend nur zur Promotion von Bühnenshows eignet, gelang es Copperfield, den Zauber in diesem Medium -zu seiner Zeit- optimal zu transportieren.

Obwohl Copperfield mit Großillusionen assoziiert wird, sind es gerade die Kunststücke mit kleinen Requisiten, die er fernsehgerechter als jeder andere präsentierte. Wie bei den Großillusionen hat er auch hier aus jedem Kunststück den optimalen Effekt erzielt. Seit 15 Jahren zeichnet für die Entwicklung entsprechender Kunststücke der in Fachkreisen enthusiastisch gefeierte close-up-Zauberkünstler Chris Kenner verantwortlich, der schließlich auch die Rolle von Copperfields Sidekick übernahm und zum Geschäftsführer der Show wurde.

Bis Mitte der 90er war Copperfield in Deutschland nur einem kleinen Publikum bekannt, da die amerikanischen Weihnachtsspecials nicht in der Hauptsendezeit der ARD und meist nur in den dritten Programmen ausgestrahlt wurden. Erst im Rahmen einer mit dem Privatsender RTLaufwändig orchestrierten PR-Kampagne wurde Copperfield über Nacht auch im deutschen Sprachraum zum überragenden Medienstar. Wie seinerzeit Houdini, der seinen Durchbruch ebenfalls erst in Deutschland erzielt hatte, brach Copperfield mit seiner hierzulande völlig neuartigen Show Magic for the Nineties sämtliche deutschen Kassenrekorde und wurde in den Medien wie ein Halbgott wahrgenommen. Diesen lieferte er durch seine Romanze mit dem Modell Claudia Schiffer ausgiebig Material. Sowohl Copperfields Wirkung als auch derImagetransfer Copperfield/Schiffer übertrafen alle Erwartungen von Branchenkennern.

Nachdem Copperfield in der Zauberkunst nahezu jeden Superlativ erreicht hatte, wurde es für ihn schwierig, sich selbst zu übertreffen. 1994 zeigte er statt eines neuen TV-Specials lediglich einen Rückblick auf seine bis dahin 15 TV-Specials. Nach einer soliden, aber vergleichsweise unspektakulären Show im Folgejahr produzierte er erst wieder 2001 seine vorerst letzte Fernsehshow, die auf einer umringten Bühne inszeniert wurde. Als Schlussillusion stellte er sich in einen aus Feuer gebildeten Tornado, was als Antwort auf einen Stunt des damals in den USA erfolgreichen Fernsehzauberers David Blaine gedeutet wurde, der sich medienwirksam am Times Square in einem Eisblock hatte einfrieren lassen.

Copperfield gilt als rastloser Workaholic. Er bereist mit seiner aufwändigen Illusionsshow seit Jahrzehnten die gesamte Welt, gastiert jedoch überwiegend in Las Vegas. Der Jahresumsatz seines Unternehmens wird auf 100 Mio. Dollar geschätzt. Die Show hat sich seit dem Jahr 2000 nur noch unwesentlich verändert.

Copperfield ist seit Jahrzehnten Schirmherr der amerikanischen Behindertensportler bei den Paralympics. Er rief mit dem Projekt Magic ein Programm ins Leben, bei dem Kinder in Krankenhäusern durch das Erlernen von Zauberkunststücken Motivation und Selbstvertrauen zurückerwerben.

Copperfield begann in den 1990er-Jahren, historische Requisiten und magische Memorabilia zu sammeln. So erwarb er u. a. die umfangreiche John-Mulholland-Bücherei, Harry Houdinis Zauberkoffer und das Gewehr, mit dem seinerzeit Chung Ling Soo auf der Bühne erschossen wurde. Sein Zaubermuseum befindet sich im secret warehouse, einem geheim gehaltenen Lagerhaus in Las Vegas, das nur Zauberkollegen zugänglich ist.

Auf seiner Bahamas-Insel Musha Cay, die auch eine Rolle in seiner Bühnenshow spielt, ließ Copperfield ein Privatressort errichten. Am „Copperfield Bay“ können Betuchte wie etwa Prominente absteigen, ohne von Paparazzi u. ä. belästigt zu werden. Copperfield gehören auch drei benachbarte Inseln der Exuma-Kette.

Nach Presseberichten hat Copperfield mit dem tschechischen Model Maria Petlickova einen Sohn und eine Tochter. Petlickova bewohnt mit den Kindern eine Villa in der Nähe von Las Vegas. Das 1,5 Mio. teure Anwesen gehört einer Copperfield-Firma.


  • 1968: Aufnahme als jüngster Magier und Illusionist in der Geschichte der Society of American Magicians
  • 1972: Aktiver Unterricht an der New York University über die Kunst der Magie
  • 1974: Star und kreativer Kopf von The Magic Man, einer Musical-Komödie, welche die längste Laufzeit in der Geschichte Chicagos erzielte
  • 1977: The Magic of ABC, starring David Copperfield präsentiert Copperfields Magie und 14 Stars des Senders, um die kommende Fernsehsaison anzukündigen
  • 1979: The Magic of David Copperfield II erhält mehrere Emmy-Nominierungen; tricktechnische Beratung für Earth, Wind and Fire; Nebenrolle in Monster im Nachtexpreß
  • 1980: Verschwindenlassen eines 100.000-Dollar-Ferrari; The Magic of David Copperfield III wird zu einer der meistgesehenen Shows des Jahres; Wahl zum Magician of the Year
  • 1981: Verschwindenlassen eines Lear-Jets
  • 1983: Verschwindenlassen der Freiheitsstatue
  • 1984: Floating Over the Grand Canyon (im Schneidersitz „schwebt“ er über den Grand Canyon)
  • 1986: Gang durch die Chinesische Mauer
  • 1987: Flucht aus Alcatraz (Escape from Alcatraz)
  • 1989: Flucht aus einem einstürzenden Hochhaus (Explosive Encounter)
  • 1991: Verschwindenlassen eines 70 Tonnen schweren Waggons des Orient-Express
  • 1992: Flying (Überwinden der Schwerkraft)
  • 1993: Fires of Passion (Entfesselung von einem brennenden Seil, das in zehn Metern Höhe in der Luft hängt)
  • 1995: Unexplained Forces („Unerklärte Kräfte“, Copperfield zeigt eine Reihe von mystischen Illusionen, teilweise behauptet er, dass Geister bei seinen Kunststücken helfen.)
  • 2001: Tornado of Fire (Copperfield stellt sich mit Schutzkleidung in einer Lagerhalle in einen rund 2000 °C heißen Feuer-Tornado.)



  1.  National Enquirer vom 23. Januar 2008; im Internet Archive

2 Gedanken zu “David Copperfield born David Seth Kotkin

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