World Record-Holding Illusionist
Called a "modern-day Houdini" by The New York Times, David Blaine made himself a household name with TV special "David Blaine: Street Magic" -- shedding the sweeping glitz and drama of other TV magic programs in favor of a simple premise: illusions done right on the street, in front of handheld cameras and speechless passersby.
With "Buried Alive," Blaine was entombed underground for seven days in a transparent plastic coffin, visible to gawking pedestrians above, setting off a new trend in his performance career: the endurance stunt. The pursuit led to other spectacles featuring cramped spaces and extreme conditions: "Frozen in Time," which saw him encased in a block of ice for almost three days, and "Vertigo," where he stood atop a 100-foot pillar for 35 hours.
Blaine's stunts continue to draw immense crowds and Nielsen ratings to match, but his appearance on Oprah was perhaps most stunning, when he broke the Guinness world record for breath-holding, staying underwater for 17 minutes and 4.5 seconds.