By age 16, David Copperfield was teaching a course in magic at New York University. He went on to perform his magic feats more than 500 times a year. According to Forbes magazine, Copperfield earned $57 million in merchandise and tour revenue in 2005. By 2012, his net worth was estimated at $150 million. Over his long career, he has won 21 Emmy Awards, among other honors, and opened the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is dedicated to preserving the history and art of magic.
Early Life and Career
Born David Seth Kotkin on September 16, 1956, in Metuchen, Jersey, David Copperfield is one of the world's most famous magicians and wealthiest entertainers. Copperfield got his start with magic at the age of 12, when he became the youngest person to gain admission into the Society of American Magicians.
By age 16, he was teaching a course in magic at New York University and performing under the name David Copperfield, after the popular Charles Dickens novel. After a brief stint at Fordham University, Copperfield was cast as the lead in the Chicago musical The Magic Man.
Famed Magician and TV Personality
The success of The Magic Man led to a job hosting an ABC magic special, which Copperfield parlayed into a lucrative career. He went on to perform his magic feats more than 500 times a year. Copperfield's most popular illusions include walking through the Great Wall of China, making the Statue of Liberty disappear and escaping from a flaming raft over Niagara Falls.
Over his long career, Copperfield has garnered 21 Emmy Awards, been named "Magician of the Century" and "Magician of the Millennium," received the first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded to a living magician, and received the prestigious U.S. Library of Congress' Living Legend Award (other award recipients include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Colin Powell). Additionally, Copperfield was knighted by the French government, becoming the first magician to receive the Chevalier of Arts and Letters.
According to Forbes magazine, Copperfield earned $57 million in merchandise and tour revenue in 2005 alone. By 2012, the magician's net worth was estimated at $150 million, and his ticket sales had grossed an estimated $3 billion.
In 1982, Copperfield established Project Magic, a rehabilitation program that uses sleight-of-hand magic as a method of physical therapy. The program is accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association and is used in hospitals across the globe.
Copperfield also opened the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is dedicated to preserving the history and art of magic, and holds the world's largest magical artifact collection (among the artifacts housed at the museum are Orson Welles's Buzz Saw illusion and Houdini's water torture cell).
David Copperfield was famously engaged to supermodel Claudia Schiffer in the late 1990s, but the couple parted ways before wedding.
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