Blaine rose to fame with daring and widely watched performances, beginning in the 1990s. In 1999, he spent one week buried in a glass coffin in New York City – his first public stunt, called “Buried Alive.” In 2000, he spent three days encased in a block of ice for his performance, “Frozen in Time.”
David Blaine is performing on ABC in a one-hour special airing at 10 p.m. EST Wednesday, April 1, 2020 on ABC, “David Blaine: The Magic Way.” On the special, he is also introducing his daughter, 9-year-old Dessa Blaine. Read more about her here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. David Blaine Earned $13.5 Million in 2018 & Was the World’s 4th Highest Paid Magician
David Blaine pulled in $13.5 million in 2018, according to Forbes. He was named the fourth highest-paid magician in the world according to the publication’s “The World’s Highest Paid Magicians of 2018” list, which was the most recent year Forbes published such a list.
Also on the list were Darren Brown, Michael Carbonaro, The Illusionists, Criss Angel, Penn & Teller and David Copperfield. Copperfield was first on the list, earning $61 million in 2018. Criss Angel beat out Blaine for the third spot, earning $16 million. Just behind Blaine was the touring magician production, The Illusionists, which earned $12 million.
“The endurance artist more than doubled his earnings thanks to his sold-out North American tour, which featured his most grueling stunts, such as regurgitating live frogs and holding his breath underwater,” Forbes reported. “Blaine also collects mid-six-figure paychecks for private performances for clients such as Peter Thiel, who hired Blaine to perform at his Vienna wedding last year, and blue-chip companies including Salesforce and Intel.”
2. David Blaine Was One of the Highest Paid Magicians in the World for 2 Years in a Row
Forbes has been compiling a list of highest paid magicians since at least 2016, and David Blaine made the list two out of three years. The last year they released a list was in 2018. That year, Blaine made fourth on the list.
In 2016, Blaine did not make the list.
“One of the world’s most famous magicians is missing from the highest-paid ranks: David Blaine, known for burying himself alive for a week, holding his breath for 17 minutes and other death-defying stunts,” Forbes reported. “How did the endurance artist manage to escape our list? During our 12-month scoring period, Blaine cut down on public and private performances in order to develop his upcoming ABC special, David Blaine: Beyond Magic, and another special project.”
At the time, he was planning to launch his first worldwide tour, which helped to secure his spot on the 2018 list. But in 2016, he made less than $6 million.
“He’s passed on $100 million deals in Vegas,” his manager, Guy Oseary, told Forbes. “But David’s very picky on who he associates with. David makes his decisions based on art, not commerce.”
Blaine earned the eighth spot on the Highest Paid Magicians of 2017 list, pulling in $6 million. Most of his money was made in corporate gigs, Forbes reported.
“The endurance artist released a primetime TV special and embarked on his first-ever North American tour, but Blaine conjured most of his cash from corporate gigs,” Forbes reported. “For his most elaborate private performances, such as swallowing a live frog at a Google conference, Blaine gets paychecks in the mid-six-figure range.”
3. David Blaine Listed His New York Apartment for $2.27 Million
David Blaine listed his two-bedroom, one-bathroom New York City apartment for $2.27 million in 2016, according to Cottages & Gardens. The apartment was listed with Douglas Elliman Real Estate Group. The triple-exposure apartment is a Rosario Candela–designed co-op located at 41 Fifth Avenue.
“In the classic Rosario Candela–designed co-op at 41 Fifth Avenue, magician David Blaine is trying to make his apartment disappear,” Cottages & Gardens reported. “Listed for $2.27 million with Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s De Niro group, the triple-exposure, two-bedroom apartment has just one bathroom, but with a little sleight of hand and the wave of a magic wrench, the laundry room off the kitchen can be converted into a powder room.”
Blaine bought the 1,044-square-foot apartment in 1998. He had tried to sell the apartment in 2013 for under $2 million, according to Variety. The apartment has maintenance fees of $3,263 per month. It also has high-gloss, onyx floors, built-in bookshelves and a wood-burning fireplace.
4. David Blaine Has a Three-Story, Secret Magic Lab in Chinatown
David Blaine’s secret lair in Chinatown was a “childhood dream,” Blaine told the New York Post. The nondescript three-story, 4,400-square-foot lab is marked only with an insignia in the shape of an upside-down spade, and the lowercase initials, “db.” Inside are more obvious signs of its famous occupant.
Down the stairs is a motorcycle that was a gift to Blaine from King Abdullah of Jordan. The walls are lined with thousands of boxes of playing cards.
“This is where Blaine figured out how to hold his breath for a Guinness World Record-setting 17 minutes and 4 seconds, how to control lightning and how to regurgitate live frogs,” the New York Post reported.
It includes a small gym, administrative offices, and two bedrooms where Blaine and visitors can spend the night after late-night brainstorming sessions.
“I always wanted a space in New York City where I could work on magic and not be distracted by anything else,” Blaine told the New York Post.
5. David Blaine Makes the Majority of His Money Through Tours & Corporate Gigs
David Blaine makes the vast majority of his income through private, corporate gigs and through his nationwide tours, according to Forbes. He made six figures for a corporate gig for Google, where he swallowed a live frog at a conference.
Between 2017 and 2018, Blaine doubled his income because of his tour of North America, Forbes reported. He made $13.5 million in 2018, mainly thanks to his tour in North America, which sold out. He also made six figures for private gigs, including performing for Peter Thiel, who hired the performer for his Vienna wedding. He also landed corporate gigs for Salesforce and Intel.
Tours multiply his yearly earnings, Celebrity Net Worth reported.
“In a typical non-touring year, David can easily make $5 million performing shows in Las Vegas and private parties,” Celebrity Net Worth reported. “When he does tour, his earnings can increase to as much as $15 million in a year. In 2017 he earned a total of $4.5 million. In 2018 he earned a total of $13.5 million which made him the fourth highest-paid musician in the world that year.”