David Copperfield Biography

David Copperfield, born as David Seth Kotkin, is a world famous magician who has created 11 Guinness World Records and is credited as the world’s most commercially successful magician. From a young age, he found solace in creating illusions and performing magic tricks, eventually becoming the youngest ever to join the Society of American Magicians at just 12 years old. He has perfected the art of magic to such an extent that he was chosen to teach a class on magic at New York University. With his talent recognized, he was cast in the musical ‘The Magic Man’, which became the longest running musical in Chicago’s history. His television career began when he was offered the opportunity to work in Joseph Cates’ production, ‘The Magic of ABC’. With his prolific performances, he has sold over 40 million tickets, making him the only solo entertainer to achieve this feat.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: David Seth Kotkin
  • Age: 67 Years, 67 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Chloe Gosselin
    • Father: Hyman Kotkin
    • Mother: Rebecca
    • Children: Sky Copperfield
  • Born Country: United States
  • Magicians
  • American Men
  • Height: 1.82 m
  • Ancestry: Russian American
  • U.S. State: New Jersey
  • Founder/Co-Founder: Project Magic
  • More Facts
  • Education: Fordham University
  • Awards:
    • 2006 – Dubious Achievement Award
    • Emmy Award (21 times)
    • Magician of the Year Award

Childhood & Early Life

David Copperfield was born to Jewish parents, Hyman Kotkin and Rebecca Kotkin. His father operated a harberdashery shop while his mother worked as an insurance adjuster. He was a shy and timid child who began practicing magic tricks to gain confidence. He became known as Davino the Boy Magician in his neighbourhood. As a teenager, he discovered that magic was a good way to attract girls. At the age of 12, he was admitted to the Society of American Magicians, becoming the youngest person ever to get membership. He attended Metuchen High School and graduated in 1974.


He was selected to teach a course, ‘The Art of Magic’ at the New York University when he was just 16. At 18, he was chosen to play the lead in the musical comedy, ‘The Magic Man’. The success of the show instilled in him a love for performing live in front of audiences. Joseph Cates, a producer of television specials recognized the talents this young man possessed and cast him in a magic special called ‘The Magic of ABC’ in 1977. The success of his debut show ensured that Copperfield got ample opportunities to star in several other magic show specials. He was signed by CBS for a series of magic television specials titled, ‘The Magic of David Copperfield’ that was broadcast between 1978 and 1998. The magician presented new and innovative illusions in each of the specials that were simply beyond the audience’s expectations. The fact that he always performed in front of a live audience added to his credibility. The best illusions he has created so far include the vanishing of a jet airplane, the disappearance of the Statue of Liberty, and walking through the Great Wall of China. He performed in a Broadway show ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ co-produced with Francis Ford Coppola, David Ives and others, in 1996. The show was so popular that it broke box office records at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York. During 1996, he collaborated with Dean Koontz, Joyce Oates and Ray Bradbury to publish ‘David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible’, a collection of fiction related to the field of magic and illusions. The success of the book prompted him to publish a second volume titled, ‘David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination’ in 1997.

Major Works

One of his most famous tricks was to make the Statue of Liberty vanish. In the trick he raised a giant curtain on the Liberty Island and lowered it after a few seconds to reveal that the statue had now disappeared. The illusion ‘Walking through the Great Wall of China’ was performed by him only once. While performing the trick, he appears to enter the wall from one side and emerges through the other side with live audiences being present on both sides of the wall.

Awards & Achievements

David Copperfield is the proud recipient of 21 Emmy Awards from 38 nominations. Emmy Awards are given to honour excellence in the television industry. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the first living magician to receive one. He received the Chevalier of Arts and Letters from the French government which is given to recognize significant contributions to the arts, literature or the propagation of these fields.

Personal Life & Legacy

He met supermodel Claudia Schiffer in 1993 and got engaged. However, their relationship unraveled and the couple separated in 1999. David Copperfield began dating French model Chloe Gosselin in 2006. They have a daughter, Sky, together. They got engaged in 2014. He founded a rehabilitation program, Project Magic, in 1982, where magicians and therapists work together to help rehabilitate physically challenged patients. David Copperfield once had a major drowning accident while rehearsing for the trick Escape from Death and had to be hospitalized.


He took his stage name from the name of a famous Charles Dickens novel. His childhood idols were Fred Astaire, Orson Welles and Walt Disney. While performing a rope trick, he accidently cut off the tip of his finger which was later reattached by doctors.

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