David Copperfield was an American illusionist who was one of the most commercially successful magicians of the 20th Century. Born David Seth Kotkin in Metuchen, New Jersey, Copperfield turned to magic at the age of 10 as a way to be more outgoing and sociable. It wasn't long before his magic hobby became an all out obsession. At the age of 12 Copperfield, who adopted the stage name after the classic Charles Dickens novel, was the youngest person ever accepted into the American Society of Magicians; by 16 he was teaching a class on magic at New York University. After a brief stint at Fordham University, Copperfield moved to Chicago to play the lead in the musical "The Magic Man." The show quickly became the hottest ticket in Chicago's thriving theater scene, with Copperfield standing out for his acclaimed performance. When "The Magic Man" ended, Copperfield was offered his very own magic show on the ABC Network in 1977. The show, which had several names throughout the years, turned Copperfield into an overnight sensation, and over the course of the '80s and '90s, his numerous television specials were appointment viewing for magic fans. Copperfield's most famous illusion during this period came in 1983 when he seemingly made the Statue of Liberty disappear. The spectacle was watched by millions of people on television, which only added to Copperfield's growing prestige. In the mid-'90s Copperfield's personal life became a source of much intrigue when he became engaged to the supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Their engagement, however, was called off in 1999 due to differences in their jet-setting schedules. By the 21st Century, Copperfield had continued performing hundreds of shows of years, while maintaining his status as one of the highest earning entertainers in the United States.