41-year-old David Blaine is an American street magician and illusionist who became known for his high-profile endurance stunts such as living in a glass box for days. He was first introduced to magic by a street performer when he was nothing but a curious 4-year-old waiting for a subway train.
David attended the Neighbourhood Playhouse drama school and appeared in several TV commercials and soap operas. It was during this time that his ability to levitate off of the ground surfaced and, at the urging of his personal physician, David underwent a thorough examination. When he turned 21, his mother (who was a gypsy, apparently) was stricken with cancer and passed away. Though grief-stricken, he continued to perform and make a name for himself at celebrity functions by doing magic tricks for famous people, such as Al Pacino, David Geffen, and Mike Tyson:
He later made a tape of a magic performance and sent it to ABC. His first special, “David Blaine: Street Magic”, was a ratings hit in 1997. “David Blaine: Magic Man” followed two years later. In 1999, he performed his first endurance stunt, “Buried Alive”, and in 2000, he followed with “Frozen in Time” in which he was frozen into a block of ice for 72 hours. To date, he has performed all over the world and has set and broken several world records.
Here are some fun facts (some, super crazy) about David Blaine:
1. For “Buried Alive” (1999), where he was entombed in an underground plastic box underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank for seven days, a whopping total of 75,000 people visited the site.
2. Marie Blood (Harry Houdini’s niece), who also visited the “Buried Alive” site said, “My uncle did some amazing this, but he could not have done this.” Harry Houdini planned a similar feat but died in 1926 before he could perform it.
3. During “Buried Alive”, David ate nothing and drank only 2-3 tablespoons of water a day. His only communication to the outside world was by a hand buzzer, which could have alerted an around-the-clock emergency crew standing by.
4. In 2000, he pulled off “Frozen in Time”, where he stood encased in a massive block of ice located in Times Square, New York City. A tube supplied him with air and water while his urine was removed with another tube.
5. During “Frozen in Time”, he had to force himself to prevent himself from falling asleep and touching the ice for prolonged periods of time. After slightly more than 63 hours of “Frozen in Time”, David came out of it dazed and disoriented and was taken to the hospital immediately.
6. In a documentary follow-up to “Frozen in Time”, David said 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.
7. 2002’s “Vertigo” saw David being lifted by a crane onto a 100-foot high and 22-inch wide pillar in New York City. He stood on the pillar (with only two retractable handles on either side of him and no harness) for exactly 35 hours.
8. David released an autobiography in 2002 titled, “Mysterious Stranger”. It was split into sections with the first based on his past, magic, and mother, another about three magicians crucial to his career, and the last based on his career on the street and with ABC.
9. “Mysterious Stranger” also included a riddle. Hidden amongst its pages was a puzzle and scavenger hunt. The winner would bag $100,000. 16 months after the book was released, Sherri Skanes from California solved the mystery and found the prize under a rock on a private Los Angeles property.
10. In 2003, David pulled off “Above the Below”, a 44-day endurance stunt sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case suspended 30 ft in the air. He went without any food or nutrients and survived on just 4.5 litres of water per day.
11. Mischievous and hostile spectators hurled random things at him during the period such as eggs lemons, sausages, bacon, water bottles, beer cans, paint-filled balloons, and golf balls. A burger was flown up to the box by a remote-controlled helicopter as a taunt and one man was even arrested for attempting to cut the cable supplying water to David.
12. Had he stayed in the “Above the Below” box longer, he probably would have died of starvation. During the stunt, David lost 54 pounds due to malnutrition and he was forced to recover for many weeks.
13. For 2006’s “Drowned Alive”, David was submerged in an 8 ft (2.4 m) diameter, water-filled sphere (isotonic saline, 0.9% salt) in New York City for a planned 7 days and 7 nights, using tubes for air and nutrition. During the stunt, doctors witnessed skin breakdown at the hands and feet.
14. He concluded this event by attempting to hold his breath underwater to break the then-current world record of 8 minutes, 58 seconds held by Tom Sietas. He attempted to free himself from handcuffs and chains put on him upon coming of the sphere but seemed to have trouble and around the 7 minute mark, he showed some signs of distress. He was pulled up and out of the water by his support divers after 7 minutes and 12 seconds underwater – 1 minute and 50 seconds short of his goal.
15. In 2012, he performed a 72-hour endurance stunt called “Electrified: One Million Volts Always On” atop a 22-foot high pillar in New York City. ArcAttack built a system of 7 Tesla coils producing an electric discharge of at least one million volts continuously for the duration. These Tesla coils were directed at Blaine for the entirety of the endurance stunt, during which he neither ate food nor slept.
16. A number of notables visited the event, including performance artist Marina Abramović, film director Darren Aronofsky, Chris Rock, Pharrell Williams, and rocker Andrew W.K., with the latter two musicians performing solos on a keyboard controlling the electric discharge.
17. At the conclusion of the event, he was weary but was able to walk with assistance and kiss his fiancé, Alizee Guinochet, before an ambulance transported him to a hospital for checkups.
18. David starred in a 90-minute ABC television special, “David Blaine: Real or Magic” in 2013. It was directed by Emmy Award winning director Matthew Akers and featured Blaine performing magic for his favourite celebrities and public figures including Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, George W. Bush, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Ricky Gervais, Woody Harrelson, Stephen Hawking, Lenny Kravitz, Macklemore, Olivia Munn, Katy Perry, Michael Phelps, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jon Stewart, Psy, Emmy Rossum, Olivia Wilde, and Jason Sudeikis.
19. “Real or Magic” blurred the lines between reality and illusion and elicited a range of reactions from both celebrities and impromptu street crowds. At one point, his performance even caused Harrison Ford to say, “Get the f— out of my house!”
Impressive? Wait till you see him live
We’re pretty sure nobody’s gonna tell David Blaine to “Get the f— out of Stadium Negara!” because he’s all set leave you with your jaws hanging in utter disbelief. You best believe it and you best be prepared to pick your jaws off the floor!
Deets on his show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia here. We’ll race you to get the tickets.