The acclaimed sleight-of-hand magician was as famous for his ability to throw “Cards as Weapons” as he was for his memorable film and television performances.
Hollywood stars and fellow magicians took to social media Saturday night to pay tribute to the prolific talent Ricky Jay, who passed away Saturday at 72.
One of the most revered and famous magicians of his generation, Jay was able to parlay that success into a film and television career that included roles on such projects as "Magnolia," "Boogie Nights," "Heist," "The Prestige," "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "Deadwood," for which he had a recurring role and also served as a writer during the first season.
A sleight-of-hand magician, Jay’s act was most associated with playing cards. He was listed for many years in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card at 90 mph for 190 feet. This was a feat he would perform countless times in public appearances live and on television.
He even filmed a card-throwing sequence while a Bond villain, but things didn’t go exactly as planned and the bit ultimately got cut from the film. That said, he did warn them:
So popular was his ability it even became the subject of his first book, the cult classic "Cards as Weapons." He would go on to write several more quirky and highly entertaining books as part of his deep study into the history of illusion and magic.
"The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable," tweeted fellow actor/magician Neil Patrick Harris. "Such sad news, such a profound loss."
"Just a genius," Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) wrote of Jay. "One of the best who ever lived."
Beyond his mastery of the magical arts, many from Hollywood remember his commitment to his roles, commanding presence on film and genuine kind-heartedness. Check out Hollywood’s tributes to Ricky Jay below:
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