james randi

Amazing Toronto magician James Randi was one of a kind

James Randi, the amazing Toronto-born magician, escape artist, and skeptic of all things paranormal, has died at the age of 92. 

His foundation, the James Randi Educational Foundation, confirmed the death on Tuesday, stating simply that Randi passed away "due to age-related causes." 

Known as The Amazing Randi, he took on many roles, including entertainer, but also spent his career insisting that magic was based on sleight of hand or visual trickery as opposed to paranormal powers, which he constantly debunked.

In fact, he often described himself as a liar or a cheat in mock recognition of his so-called magical powers. He even concluded his shows by saying, "Everything you have seen here is tricks. There is nothing supernatural involved."

One of his greatest exploits was on The Tonight Show in 1972 when he helped host Johnny Carson set up Uri Geller who claimed he could bend spoons with his mind. 

Randi made sure the spoons and other props were out of Geller's reach until showtime which resulted in an 22-minute segment in which Geller was not able to perform his act. 

"I see people being swindled every day by medical quackery, frauds of every sort, psychics and their hot lines, people who claim to be able to find lost children or to help them invest their money," Randi said to The Associated Press in 1998.

"I know they are being swindled because I know the methods being used."

Through his organization, Randi promised to give anyone $1 million if they could prove their own supernatural powers or the presence of a supernatural being. Although some did not believe he had the money at all, Randi had the bank documentation to prove it. 

No one collected the prize money.

Randi was born in Toronto on Aug.7, 1928. While he never earned a high school diploma or went to college, he received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1986.

In 2015, Randi was the subject of the documentary An Honest Liar which screened at Hot Docs among many other film festivals.

Since the announcement of his death, obituaries have poured in from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post and Hollywood Reporter.

Lead photo by

Honest Liar


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