David Blaine (born David Blaine White; April 4, 1973) is an American illusionist and endurance artist. He is best known for his high-profile feats of endurance, and has made his name as a performer of street and close-up magic. He has set and broken several world records. Theater owner James Nederlander as well as The New York Times have referred to Blaine as a modern day Houdini. He has also been called a "Houdini wanna-be" by the New York Daily News.
Blaine was born David Blaine White in Brooklyn, New York to a father of Puerto Rican descent and a mother of Russian-Israeli descent. His mother, Patrice Maureen White (1946-1995), was a school teacher living in New York, and his father William Perez was a Vietnam veteran. He was raised by his single mother and attended many schools in Brooklyn. When he was ten years old, his mother married John Bukalo and they moved to Little Falls, New Jersey, where he attended Passaic Valley Regional High School. He has a half-brother named Michael James Bukalo.
On May 19, 1997, Blaine's first television special, David Blaine: Street Magic aired on the ABC network. According to The New York Daily News, "Blaine can lay claim to his own brand of wizardry. The magic he offers in tonight's show operates on an uncommonly personal level." When asked about his performance style, David explained, "I'd like to bring magic back to the place it used to be 100 years ago." Time Magazine commented, "his deceptively low-key, ultracool manner leaves spectators more amazed than if he'd razzle-dazzled." The New York Times wrote, "He's taken a craft that's been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it." In Magic Man, Blaine is shown traveling across the country, entertaining unsuspecting pedestrians in New York City, Atlantic City, Dallas, San Francisco, Compton, and the Mojave Desert recorded by a small crew with handheld cameras. Jon Racherbaumer commented, "Make no mistake about it, the focus of this show, boys and girls, is not Blaine. It is really about theatrical proxemics; about the show-within-a-show and the spontaneous, visceral reactions of people being astonished." USA Today calls David "The hottest name in magic right now".
Blaine has a full reproduction tattoo of Salvador Dali's "Christ of St. John of the Cross" spanning his entire back. He also has Primo Levi's concentration camp number, 174517, tattooed on his left forearm.