Ricky Jay

Magician, Actor, Writer
Described by David Mamet as "one of the world's great people", Ricky Jay is an actor who definitely should not give up his day job. Long considered one of the world's best sleight-of-hand artists, he began honing his ... Read more »
Born: 11/30/1948 in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (42)

Getting On 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Automatic Hate 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Late Show With David Letterman 2013 (Tv Show)

Guest

Civil Wars 1991 - 1992, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

Flash Forward 2009 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Lie to Me 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Brothers Bloom 2009 (Movie)

(Narrator)

The Great Buck Howard 2009 (Movie)

Gil Bellamy (Actor)

The Unit 2007, 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Redbelt 2008 (Movie)

Marty Brown (Actor)

The 30th Annual Kennedy Center Honors 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Kidnapped 2006 - 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Prestige 2006 (Movie)

Milton (Actor)

Last Days 2005 (Movie)

Detective (Actor)

Deadwood 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Incident at Loch Ness 2004 (Movie)

(Actor)

Heartbreakers 2001 (Movie)

Dawson's Auctioneer (Actor)

Heist 2001 (Movie)

Don 'Pinky' Pincus (Actor)

State and Main 2000 (Movie)

Jack Taylor (Actor)

The X-Files 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Magnolia 1999 (Movie)

Burt Ramsey (Actor)

Mystery Men 1999 (Movie)

Vic Weems (Actor)

The Spanish Prisoner 1998 (Movie)

George Lang (Actor)

The Virtual Ed Sullivan Show 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Boogie Nights 1997 (Movie)

Kurt Longjohn (Actor)

Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 (Movie)

Henry Gupta (Actor)

Hacks 1996 (Movie)

The Hat (Actor)

Ring of the Musketeers 1993 (Movie)

Kearns (Actor)

Homicide 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Things Change 1988 (Movie)

Mr Silver (Actor)

House of Games 1987 (Movie)

George--Vegas Man (Actor)

Like Magic 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Doug Henning's World of Magic 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Saturday Night Live 1977 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Story of Magic (TV Show)

Actor

The Water Engine (TV Show)

Actor
Art Department (1)

Forrest Gump 1994 (Movie)

Illusion wheelchair design (Props)
Visual Effects & Animation (1)

Congo 1995 (Movie)

martini illusion (Visual Effects)
Other (10)

Ocean's 13 2007 (Movie)

(Consultant)

The Illusionist 2006 (Movie)

Technical Advisor for Magic (Technical Advisor)

The Prestige 2006 (Movie)

(Magic) (Technical Advisor)

Heartbreakers 2001 (Movie)

technical consultant on con games (Consultant)

I Love Trouble 1994 (Movie)

deception consultant (Consultant)

Leap of Faith 1992 (Movie)

cons and frauds consultant (Consultant)

Sneakers 1992 (Movie)

sleight of hand consultant (Consultant)

The Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Assistant

House of Games 1987 (Movie)

(confidence games) (Consultant)

The Escape Artist 1981 (Movie)

(Technical Advisor)

Biography

Described by David Mamet as "one of the world's great people", Ricky Jay is an actor who definitely should not give up his day job. Long considered one of the world's best sleight-of-hand artists, he began honing his skills at the age of four when his grandfather first introduced him to card tricks. Over the years, he has worked as a side-show barker and a carnival magician, as well as an opening act for numerous performers, including Tina Turner, Emmylou Harris and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but it his film roles for directors Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson that have brought his bearded features and ample frame mainstream international recognition. Jay has further distinguished himself as an author, humorist and historian and, when not performing, continues to expand his encyclopedic knowledge of history's weirdest incidents, collected quarterly in Jay's Journal of Anomalies (published in book form in 2001). He has also hosted the TV specials "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" (CBS, 1992, based on his 1986 book) and "The Story of Magic" (A&E, 1997), not to mention appearing on "The Virtual Ed Sullivan Show" (UPN, 1998).

Relationships

Max Katz

Grandfather
Was an accomplished amateur magician

Chrisann Verges Unit Production Manager

Wife

EDUCATION

Studied with veteran sleight-of-hand masters Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller

Cornell University

Ithaca , New York

Studied illusions with Tony Slydini

Milestones

2008

Featured in the David Mamet directed, "Redbelt"

2006

Played 'Milton the Magician' in Christopher Nolan's "The Prestige"

2000

Made memorable guest appearance on "The X-Files" as an illusionist with a gambling problem

1999

Appeared in the London production of "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants"

1999

Reteamed with Anderson for "Magnolia"

1999

Portrayed Vic Weems in "Mystery Men"

1998

Appeared on UPN's "The Virtual Ed Sullivan Show"

1997

Acted the part of computer expert Henry Gupta in "Tomorrow Never Dies"

1997

Hosted the A&E special "The Story of Magic"

1997

Played seen-it-all porn cameraman Kurt Longjohn in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights"

1997

Portrayed George Lang in Mamet's "The Spanish Prisoner"; film also featured Steve Martin

1996

Appeared in HBO's special presentation of "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants"

1995

Provided martini illusion for "Congo"

1994

Was a consultant on Charles Shyer's "I Love Trouble"

1994

Designed the illusion wheelchair for "Forrest Gump"

1994

Wrote and produced solo stage show, "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants"; directed off-Broadway by Mamet

1992

Was the cons and frauds consultant for "Leap of Faith" starring Steve Martin

1992

Worked as sleight of hand consultant on "Sneakers"

1992

Portrayed ratty investor in "The Water Engine" (TNT); adapted from the Mamet play

1991

Third film with Mamet, "Homicide"

1991

Acted in an episode of the ABC series "Civil Wars"

1990

Hosted CBS special, "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women"; also produced, based on his 1986 book

1988

Reteamed with Mamet for a role in "Things Change"

1987

Feature acting debut as a sleazy Las Vegas con man in Mamet's feature directorial debut, "House of Games"; also served as a consultant for confidence games

1985

Served as curator of the Mulholland Library of Conjuring and Allied Arts in Century City, California

1985

After meeting playwright David Mamet and lecturing to his acting class, served as an advisor on Mamet's play "The Shawl"

1982

Served as technical advisor for "The Escape Artist"

1982

Cast as Philostrate in the NY Shakespeare Festival production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Central Park

1981

Acted in CBS variety special, "Like Magic"

Introduced to card tricks by his grandfather at the age of four

Bonus Trivia

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He was a recipient of the International Platform Associations's Magician of the Year Award.

.

Jay was a singer with the group Chico and the Deaftones.

.

"I've spent most of my life with cards, practising for eight to ten hours a day - those hours have always been hours of pleasure, not torture. I guess my relationship with them is the longest standing relationship of my life. The metaphor is that they're living, breathing human beings. I do feel that they shouldn't be mutilated or mangled or bent or written on." - Ricky Jay quoted in London's Evening Standard, June 18, 1999

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On the characters whose stories he tells in "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants": "They're not always on the other side of the law. They're people who haven't necessarily been accepted into the mainstream, yes. But I think most of us find conmen [sic] appealing, unless we're the ones being conned. I think the reason for that is that the nature of the crime is non-violent. Conmen [sic] have always been considered the elite of the underworld because they use their brains rather than a weapon." - Ricky Jay quoted in London's Evening Standard, June 18, 1999

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