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Ricky Jay
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Magician
    (June 26, 1946-November 24, 2018)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Birth name was Richard Jay Potash
    Known for his card tricks and sleight of hand feats
    Appeared in the films ‘House of Games’ (1987), ‘The Spanish Prisoner’ (1997), ‘Boogie Nights’ (1997), ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997), ‘Mystery Men’ (1999), ‘Magnolia’ (1999), ‘Heist’ (2001), ‘The Prestige’ (2006) and ‘The Automatic Hate’ (2015)
    Portrayed Eddie Sawyer in Deadwood (2004)
    Appeared off-Broadway in the one-man shows ‘Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants’ (1994), ‘Ricky Jay: On the Stem’ (2002) and ‘Ricky Jay: A Rogue’s Gallery’ (2009)
    Wrote the books ‘Cards as Weapons’ (1977), ‘Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women’ (1986), ‘The Magic Magic Book’ (1994), ‘Dice: Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck’ (2002) and ‘Celebrations of Curious Characters’ (2010)
    Named Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts (1997)
    He kept his date of birth secret until after his death.
    He said that his parents ‘just didn’t get me and we had no rapport.’
    He ran away from home as a teen to work at a resort in upstate New York.
    He attended five colleges without getting past his freshman year at any of them.
    The New York Times noted about his early appearance (hair beyond his shoulders and a bushy beard), ‘He could have been mistaken for a roadie in the years he was opening for rock groups.’
    He was picky about audiences, with one friend noting, ‘Ricky has turned down far more work than most magicians get in a lifetime.’
    He said his one warm memory of growing up was when his parents hired Al Flosso, a magician who had appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, to perform at his bar mitzvah.
    The New Yorker described him as ‘perhaps the most gifted sleight of hand artist alive.’
    He collected rare books on the history of magic and unusual entertainers.
    He was a consultant on several Hollywood movies, with contributions ranging from teaching Robert Redford to manipulate coins in ‘The Natural’ to designing the wheelchair that hid Gary Sinise’s legs in ‘Forrest Gump.’
    He was in the Guinness Book of Records for being able to hit a target with a thrown playing card at a distance of 190 feet (a record since broken).
    He received a special Obie (the off-Broadway equivalent of the Tonys) for ‘Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants.’
    He was the first magician profiled in PBS’s ‘American Masters’ series (2015).

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2018, as of last week, Out of 56 Votes: 46.43% Annoying
 
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