(Leaside, Toronto, Canada: August 7th, 1928 - October 20th, 2020)
James Randi was born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge and is a Canadian American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). Randi began his career as a magician, as The Amazing Randi, but when he retired at age 60, he switched to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims.
Inspired at age 12 seeing Blackstone show, then self-taught by buying tricks. Pro since 1946 (age 17) when joined travelling carnival as pseudo-psychic mentalist "Prince Ibis". Moved to USA in 1948. Thence pro escape artist and straight magic. Invented and marketed Ghost Window in 1958. A leading debunker of psychic fraud. Co-founded CSICOP in 1976. 1986 McArthur Foundation Fellowship ($272,000 over 5 years). SAM Hall of Fame. 1989 CMI Order of Magic Lamp.
In 1989 he designated Dean Gunnarson, his main protégé, as his successor as escapist, and gave Gunnarson his apparatus.
Wrote The Magic of Uri Geller (1975, 308pp), Houdini (1976, 191pp, with Bert Sugar), Flim-Flam! (1980, 340pp), The Truth about Uri Geller (1982), Test Your ESP Potential (1983), The Faith Healers (1987, 314pp), The Amazing Randi's World of Magic (1989), The Mask of Nostradamus (1990), and Conjuring (1992, 314pp). Tricks in Hugard's Magic Monthly, Ibidem, Swami, Chronicles, etc. Many TV bits and specials. 2 audios.
Coauthors: Martin Gardner