Harry Houdini (1874-1926)

Harry Houdini (born Eric Weisz) was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1974. He was an illusionist, and stunt performer, noticed from his sensational escape acts. His first nickname was Harry “Hancuff” Houdini, which he toured on Europe when he challenged police forces to keep him locked up to escape from it. He also included locked chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets, and holding his breath inside a sealed milk can. He began his career as a talented magician in 1891. He performed in dime museums, sideshows, and at a circus. He published his book called “The Unmasking of Robert Houdin” in 1908. He performed many of his magic stunt escape acts, such as the Mirror challenge, Milk Can Escape, Chinese Water Torture Cell, Overboard Box Escape, and Buried Alive Stunt. He starred in a 15-part serial called The Master Mystery. Paramount Picture signed him, which he starred in two movies called The Grim Game (1919), and Terror Island (1920). He served as President of The Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.) from 1917 to 1926. He had a fever a temperature of 104 F (40 C), but he took the stage anyway, which he collapsed and taken to the hospital. He died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix after performing a stunt act in 1926. It was presumed in his dressing room, before the act a McGill University student, J. Gordon Whitehead gave him a surprise attack in his dressing room of multiple blows to his abdomen. He died at Detroit’s Grace Hospital in 1926. He was 52 years old.

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