Ricky Jay (.. - November 24, 2018)
Died: 24th November, 2018
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Actor
Region: New York City, New York, Los Angeles, California
Notable works: Josh Hartnett - Facts , James Stewart - Facts

Ricky Jay Facts

Biography

Ricky Jay, original name Richard Potash, (born 1948, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.--died November 24, 2018, Los Angeles, California), American magician, actor, author, and historian, widely regarded as the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist of his generation.

He made his performing debut at age four during a backyard barbecue held by his grandfather Max Katz, then the president of the Society of American Magicians. By age seven, Jay was appearing on local television shows in New York City. After apprenticing with Los Angeles-based magicians Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller in the early 1970s, he worked as an opening act for such prominent performers as comedians Cheech and Chong and singer Tina Turner, quickly moving up the professional ladder to become a headliner in his own right, achieving his greatest fame as a card manipulator.

Generally disdaining what he regarded as "overelaborate theatre," Jay preferred to work intimately and with a minimum of props, never allowing his talents to be dwarfed by ostentatious stage effects. He also strove to overcome the "children's entertainer" onus so often attached to magicians, insisting that no one under age 17 be admitted to his performances. In 1992 he launched his one-man show Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, which played for several years in New York City and on tour, winning numerous awards in the process. The production was directed by playwright and film director David Mamet, who also cast Jay in prominent character roles, usually shady or sinister in nature, in motion pictures such as House of Games (1987), The Spanish Prisoner (1997), and The Heist (2001). Jay's other acting credits included a recurring role on the television western Deadwood in 2004 and the films The Great Buck Howard and The Brothers Bloom (both 2008).

Jay wrote several books and articles on the subject of professional entertainment. His best-known literary efforts included Cards as Weapons (1977) and an affectionate study of "unique, eccentric and amazing entertainers" titled Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women (1986). He served as a technical adviser on such films as The Escape Artist (1982) and Forrest Gump (1994), for which he provided the special wheelchair that enabled actor Gary Sinise to portray a double amputee, as well as The Illusionist and The Prestige (both 2006), in the latter of which he also had a small acting role. He was the subject of the documentary Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2013).

Top 35 Ricky Jay quotes

I never talk much about my family, but my grandfather was friendly with these guys, with magicians and ventriloquists on the highest levels, and I was just... interested.
About
Family
Friendly
Grandfather
Guys
Highest
Highest levels
Interested
Just
Levels
Magicians
Much
Never
Talk
I always read what I write out loud, and I did that long before any radio thing. My editor finds that unusual.
Always
Any
Before
Did
Editor
Finds
I write
Long
Loud
Out
Radio
Read
Thing
Unusual
I certainly was performing before my writing was published, because I was performing when I was very young. And the thing is I'm very comfortable on stage, so a large portion of my act did come from ad-libs.
Act
Because
Before
Certainly
Come
Comfortable
Did
Large
Large portion
Performing
Portion
Published
Stage
Thing
Magicians from the nineteenth century threw cards distances, but I think I'm the first one who made a thing about using them as weapons.
About
Cards
Century
Distances
First
First one
I think
Made
Magicians
Nineteenth
Nineteenth century
Them
Thing
Think
My father was the Formica King of Long Island, and my mother was the daughter of a Bengal Lancer in India.
Daughter
Father
India
Island
King
Long
Long island
Mother
I wasn't obsessed by magic. People say, 'How you can you claim you practiced eight hours a day and weren't obsessed?' Well, people go to a job they don't even like for eight hours a day; it's not obsessive if it's something you like.
Claim
Day
Eight
Even
Go
Hours
How
Job
Like
Magic
Obsessed
Obsessive
People
People say
I was considered a comedy magician. And - how do I put this without sounding egotistical? - it didn't take me long to realize that comedy magicians usually couldn't do comedy or magic.
Comedy
Considered
Egotistical
How
Long
Magic
Magician
Magicians
Me
Put
Realize
Take
Without
Like every art form, there are jealousies and angers and competitiveness in magic. But there's camaraderie among magicians, whether you perform it for a living or you're an enthusiast.
Among
Anger
Art
Art form
Camaraderie
Competitiveness
Enthusiast
Every
Form
Like
Living
Magic
Magicians
Perform
I suppose that if I could only do one thing, a solid card effect would be pretty high on the list. That's the root of it all, sleight-of-hand. It's certainly the thing I feel most comfortable with.
Card
Certainly
Comfortable
Could
Effect
Feel
High
I feel
If i could
List
Most
One thing
Only
Pretty
I do think deception... There's something kind of odd about tricking people for a living, but ultimately, it's a remarkably honest profession, when you think about it. If you violate that code, and you say you're not using camera tricks, and then you do, I actually think that's a kind of serious moral issue.
About
Actually
Camera
Code
Deception
Honest
Issue
Kind
Living
Moral
Moral issue
Odd
People
Profession
For the most part, magic secrets are available on a level that's overwhelming and frightening, and they are very accessible if you do the tiniest bit of digging. But, that said, there's a certain group of individuals, in which I am included, who are very tight about secrets and don't share them with anyone.
About
Accessible
Am
Anyone
Available
Bit
Certain
Digging
Frightening
Group
I am
Included
Individuals
Level
I don't know what first got me to attack melons. It's not like I ate a bad one and got an upset stomach. It just eventually seemed like the appropriate fruit.
Appropriate
Ate
Attack
Bad
Bad one
Eventually
First
Fruit
Got
Just
Know
Like
Me
Seemed
One of the best sleight-of-hand guys I know is a plumber.
Best
Guys
Know
Plumber
I grew up like Athena - covered with playing cards instead of armor - and, at the age of seven, materialized on a TV show, doing magic.
Age
Armor
Cards
Covered
Doing
Grew
Instead
Like
Magic
Playing
Seven
Show
Tv
Tv show
I'm probably the only kid in history whose parents made him stop taking music lessons. They made me stop studying the accordion.
Accordion
Him
History
Kid
Lessons
Made
Me
Music
Only
Parents
Stop
Studying
Taking
Whose
The pain is bad magicians ripping off good ones, doing magic badly, and making a mockery of the art.
Art
Bad
Badly
Doing
Good
Good ones
Magic
Magicians
Making
Mockery
Off
Pain
Ripping
I started doing radio pieces with no clear, preconceived idea, except that I have a tendency to be theatrical.
Clear
Doing
Except
Idea
Pieces
Preconceived
Radio
Started
Tendency
Theatrical
Writing is the only thing in my life that doesn't get easier. It just doesn't.
Easier
Get
Just
Life
My life
Only
The only thing
Thing
Writing
Every acting gig isn't the same, every writing job isn't the same, every live performance isn't the same - the challenge is the level of difficulty or ease, and that may vary.
Acting
Challenge
Difficulty
Ease
Every
Gig
Job
Level
Live
Live performance
May
Performance
Same
Vary
There are enormous dangers in thinking that the world online is the world as it exists, that what you get from your one stroke on the Internet is all there is to know.
Dangers
Enormous
Exists
Get
Internet
Know
Online
Stroke
Thinking
World
You
Your
Not only do I lie, I take real pleasure in lying, in the transmission of magic effects.
Effects
Lie
Lying
Magic
Only
Pleasure
Real
Real pleasure
Take
Transmission
To obfuscate the reconstruction of the effect - when a magician is fooled by another magician doing magic. In my career that's not been the major passion, but it's been the passion of a number of my mentors. The crowning achievement for them would be to create magic good enough to fool other magicians.
Achievement
Another
Been
Career
Create
Crowning
Doing
Effect
Enough
Fool
Fooled
Good
Magic
Magician
For me, the most exciting thing is to create good magic that's entertaining for an audience, and it would be lovely if a magician was fooled as well.
Audience
Create
Entertaining
Exciting
Fooled
Good
Lovely
Magic
Magician
Me
Most
Thing
Well
Would
Dai Vernon, the greatest sleight of hand figure in the history of the art, rarely performed. But he invented magic and had an enormous influence on the whole range of sleight of hand. And so often, the magic he was doing was to fool other magicians.
Art
Doing
Enormous
Figure
Fool
Greatest
Had
Hand
He
History
Influence
Invented
Magic
Magicians
I think a lot of people just assumed I came to L.A. to do more television and get into show business.
Assumed
Business
Came
Get
I came
I think
Just
Lot
More
People
Show
Show business
Television
Think
Sitting with a deck of cards in your hand all day is an obsession. Visiting print shops and bookstores and libraries is an obsession. And writing about this is an obsession. I think, in general, most collectors are obsessed. I think the only form of a rationalized greed is when you're collecting something you are supposedly serious about.
About
All day
Bookstores
Cards
Collecting
Collectors
Day
Deck
Form
General
Greed
Hand
I think
Libraries
That's one of the ways language evolved, by some very obscure form becoming common usage. And I must say that I'm very intrigued by use of language and slang, and criminal underground terms.
Becoming
Common
Criminal
Evolved
Form
Intrigued
Language
Must
Obscure
Say
Slang
Some
Terms
Underground
I've been really lucky in terms of film projects with people, terrific actors and also writers and directors that I really respect.
Actor
Also
Been
Directors
Film
Lucky
People
Projects
Really
Respect
Terms
Terrific
Writers
I think the toughest thing about being an actor in a film is to be with a director who doesn't know what they want. And that can be really, really frustrating.
About
Actor
Being
Director
Film
Frustrating
I think
Know
Really
Thing
Think
Toughest
Want
Who
Theft annoys me more than anything else. The purloining of effects from another magician. Some people think it's massive to steal the secrets of nuclear reactors, but to steal a card move is trivial. They're wrong.
Annoys
Another
Anything
Anything else
Card
Effects
Else
Magician
Massive
Me
More
More than anything
Move
Nuclear
I love amazing people. I love dazzling them. That's why I think performing magic is one of the greatest things a person can do.
Amazing
Amazing people
Dazzling
Greatest
Greatest things
I love
I think
Love
Magic
People
Performing
Person
Them
Things
In the winters, I enrolled in the hotel management program at Cornell University. I naively thought that I knew something about sleight-of-hand, entertainment and food, and that would be all I needed.
About
Enrolled
Entertainment
Food
Hotel
Knew
Management
Needed
Program
Something
Thought
University
Winters
Would
Unlike other Jewish families, we didn't go out for Chinese food on Sundays, but we spent our time in a world of baking powder biscuits and the best shrimp cocktails that ever were.
Baking
Best
Biscuits
Chinese
Chinese food
Cocktails
Ever
Families
Food
Go
Jewish
Other
Our
Our time
I'm much more interested in lesser-known eccentrics and characters and performers. Like Matthew Buchinger, who was born in Germany in 1674, had no arms or legs and yet did magic, and had 14 kids, and made the most extraordinary calligraphy.
Arms
Born
Characters
Did
Eccentric
Extraordinary
Germany
Had
Interested
Kids
Legs
Like
Made
Magic
I know absolutely nothing about the 20th Century.
About
Absolutely
Absolutely nothing
Century
Know
Nothing

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