Harry Houdini, Hungarian-American Magician

- Image ID: HRP3N2
Harry Houdini, Hungarian-American Magician
Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: HRP3N2
Harry Houdini (March 24, 1874 - October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He began his magic career in 1891. He focused initially on traditional card tricks and billed himself as the "King of Cards". He soon began experimenting with escape acts. He first attracted notice as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk can. He concealed the exact details of his escapes to maintain an air of mystery and suspense. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who pirated his escape stunts. Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix at the age of 52.
Save to lightbox