Branded as the most well-known magician of all time, Harry Houdini has performed amazing acts that have surpassed expectations. Though he claims that he was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, in reality, he was born on March 28 in the year 1874 as Erich Weisz in Hungary. He is known for his escape stunts that drew a lot of public attention. Later on, in 1893, Houdini made Wilhelmina Rahner his wife and also his partner onstage. His demise was in the year 1926 in Detroit, Michigan.
His Early Days
Houdini was born to a Jewish rabbi and was one among seven children. He then moved to Appleton, Wisconsin. At 13 years of age, Houdini moved to New York and continued to take on small jobs while living in a boarding room. This is where he started gaining a liking to trapeze arts. In the year 1894, after renaming himself, he began the career as a magician. Though he didn’t succeed in performing magic tricks, he found a lot of people were interested in his escaping acts. This is when he met his wife and made her a partner on stage as well.
Success and Fame
Martin Beck, who was a manager found Houdini in 1899 and helped him book shows at some famous places around the country. He also arranged a tour of Europe later. Houdini performed shows in which he portrayed himself to be a criminal who was strip-searched, shackled and put behind bars by the local police. The show was a huge success. He continued the shows only making the restraints more complicated and difficult every time. Sometimes he would do handcuffs, but other times it was nailed packing crates or even tanks filled with water. The peak of his career was with the act that he performed using a Chinese Torture cell filled with water. The act required him to be suspended by the feet in a water-filled locked glass cabinet. This required him to hold his breath for close to three minutes.
His Other Passions
Apart from magic, Houdini could also indulge in several other passions when his wealth allowed it. He entered the aviation and film industries when he got a plane of his own and dared to be the first individual to try and control a flight with magical power. He then got into the movie business and released his movie that comprised of documentation regarding his great escapes. Though he also started his own production business and even a movie lab, it did not see a lot of success. He finally was crowned the president of America’s oldest magic organizations named Martinka and Co.
A Death That Sparked Mystery
Acute appendicitis is said to have been the cause of death, though there is a lot of speculation and rumors regarding his death. It is still not clear if the death was caused by an angry Spiritualist or by a student punching him in the stomach as part of testing. He is said to have died in the year 1926, on October 31 at the age of 52.