Leader of the Pack
Blaine made his own career materialize by walking into veteran I.C.M. agent Jon Podell's office one summer day in 1994, showing him a few tricks and asking him to think of a card. He then spirited him off to a deli to buy a new deck. On opening it, Podell found only one card—his. Blaine dispelled Podell's remaining doubts about getting his act on TV by producing his own crudely edited demo tape. On first look, ABC execs agreed it was magic. Using his sorcery in bars and restaurants around the city, Blaine has also bedazzled celebs like Robert De Niro, Madonna and Spike Lee, who directed 12 ads for the network special. "He has an astounding ability to draw people in and keep them focused on his every move," says his friend, actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
A Brooklyn native whose parents split when he was around 2, Blaine began playing with cards before he hit kindergarten. In 1982, when he was 9, his mother, Maureen, a teacher, married John Bukalo, 44, a bank personnel manager, and the family moved to New Jersey, where half-brother Michael, now 12, was born. "Magic was David's obsession and passion," says Bukalo. (Blaine's mother died of ovarian cancer two years ago at 48.) Although singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, 19, admits she has fallen under Blaine's spell, he lives alone in a Manhattan apartment decorated with pictures of heroes Houdini and Orson Welles. For his next trick, he is working on a new act, inspired by legendary showman P.T. Barnum, to open early next year.
On Newsstands Now
- Brad's Devotion: The Inside Story
- Oklahoma Tornado: Heroic Rescues
- Michael Douglas on Catherine's Health
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine