|Born||Sep. 16, 1956 (age 57)
Metuchen, New Jersey, United States
David Copperfield’s storied career has spanned many decades and some attest he helped keep magic and illusion-based performances popular in a rapidly changing entertainment world. His legendary television specials earned him 21 Emmy Awards and 38 nominations. He also holds several entries in the Guinness Book of World Records for various accomplishments like the largest stage illusion and the highest earnings for a celebrity in a single year.
David Seth Kotkin was born on September 16, 1956, in Metuchen, NJ. The stage name of Copperfield came much later. At the age of ten, he took the moniker “Davino the Boy Magician” and performed self-taught magic tricks in the neighborhood.
The young man was a bit shy and introverted. Magic was a release for him and it helped him meet new friends and people. He began to take his study of magic very seriously and, at the young age of 12, he was admitted into the Society of American Magicians.
At the age of 18, he took the stage name David Copperfield after being cast in the lead role of a musical entitled The Magic Man. The name, of course, comes from the classic work of fiction by Charles Dickens. The show ran in Chicago for a very lengthy amount of time and made Copperfield a local celebrity. The fact that he could sing and dance helped his career. He was soonheadlining shows in Honolulu.
David’s Big TV Break
In 1977, a special aired on prime time television entitled The Magic of ABC. Copperfield was featured on the show, which was a hit with audiences. In 1978, he was offered his own series of TV specials entitled The Magic of David Copperfield. The specials were successful and 21 were produced over a 20 year period.
Broadway and Publishing
In 1996, Copperfield received his own Broadway show called Dreams and Nightmares. The two-hour performance featured scores of thrilling and enjoyable illusions. The Broadway show was not a rehash of the television specials. These were a more intimate affair as Copperfield was able to interject more of his own personality into the event.
Since the Copperfield name has enormous value, it was used in a publishing endeavor. A 1996 anthology entitled David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible featured fantasy stories involving magic and illusions. A second book titled David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination was published the following year.
In 1991, David Copperfield founded the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts. This museum and library houses a massive collection of historically significant magic artifacts. Copperfied was instrumental in getting this museum planned and set up.
A Magic Underground restaurant was planned, but it never came to pass. The plans faltered after investors lost $34 million in the project. Copperfield had no involvement with it.
Today, at the age of 57, David Copperfield still performs about 500 shows per year. His earnings are in the range of $50+ million annually.