The Top 10 Magicians of Our Time

In 2006, the Magic Castle's Milt Larson named the top ten magicians of all time in a story that ran in Variety. In his list, Larson identified, in his opinion, the finest magicians of the twentieth century. His list inspired us to come up with the top ten magicians of our time.

In his top ten list, Milt Larson listed the greatest magicians of all time, but his list emphasized twentieth-century magicians. In this list, we attempted to identify and justify the current top ten magicians. This took out big names that included: ​​Harry Houdini, ​Harry Blackstone Sr., Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin, Alexander Herrman, Cardini, Slydini, Harry Keller, John Nevil Maskelyne, Dante and more.

After careful thought, here are our top ten magicians, in order:

  • 01 of 10

    David Copperfield

    David Copperfield 1977

    ABC Television/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    David Copperfield is easily the best-known magician in the world. He has presented innovative magic in his many television specials and continues to tour and perform for live audiences. He's an immensely talented and skillful entertainer who has effectively changed with the times and does it all: illusion, manipulation, and close-up. At times in his career, he’s had the popularity of a rock star.

  • 02 of 10

    Doug Henning

    Doug Henning

    NBC Television/Wikimedia Commons/Public Doman

    Doug Henning is often credited with resurrecting magic as a theatrical art in the 1970s. He starred on Broadway, toured with a large stage show and popularized magic in his own television specials.

  • 03 of 10

    Siegfried and Roy

    Siegfried and Roy
    Carol M. Highsmith

    Siegfried and Roy are known for their magic involving big cats. The well-known pair were not only the most successful and best-known entertainers in Las Vegas, they were Las Vegas. Every magician who works in Las Vegas today can thank this pair.

  • 04 of 10

    Lance Burton

    Lance Burton

    Cliff/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    A Las Vegas star who headlines in his own show, Lance Burton has won FISM and appeared in his own television specials. He is a skilled magician and an excellent entertainer.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Ricky Jay

    Ricky Jay
    David Shankbone

    A respected magic historian and author and highly skilled in magic as well as the methods of cheats, Ricky Jay stars in his own live, close-up shows.

  • 06 of 10

    Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson and the Magic Land of Allakazam cast 1960

    CBS Television/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

    When television was in its infancy, Mark Wilson pioneered the presentation of magic on TV in an ambitious weekly series. He also headlined in his own Las Vegas show, acted as magic consultant for numerous television shows and starred in television magic specials.

  • 07 of 10

    Penn and Teller

    Penn and Teller

    Angela George/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

    The brilliant pair star in Las Vegas in their own live show, as well as a Showtime television series. For a couple of guys who learned to do a few cool things, the edgy Penn & Teller may be the most respected magicians in the lay public's eyes.

  • 08 of 10

    Harry Anderson

    Harry Anderson
    Alan Light

    Best known as a television star, Harry Anderson created and presented his con man persona in comedy and nightclubs and starred in his own television specials.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Jeff McBride

    Jeff McBride

    SherylAguilar/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

    Performer and teacher, Jeff McBride is a respected magic expert and a skilled manipulator who tours in his own show and appears regularly in Las Vegas. He constantly brings innovation to the presentation of magic as a theatrical art.

  • 10 of 10

    Cyril Takayama

    Cyril Takayama

    Charles Cham/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    We're going out on a limb here and giving the final slot to Cyril Takayama. We only know his magic through YouTube videos, but he's an accomplished performer who creates bold and brilliant magic. When we want to see creative new magic angles, we simply search for Cyril.