Criss Angel BIOGRAPHY
For more than a decade, Criss Angel has dominated the world of magic as the biggest name on the planet. From his role as star, creator, executive producer and director of the most successful magic television series of all time, Criss Angel MINDFREAK on A&E Network, to his #1 best-selling Las Vegas stage shows Criss Angel BeLIEve and Criss Angel MINDFREAK LIVE! (in partnership with Cirque du Soleil® and MGM Resorts), to countless critically acclaimed television specials and series, best-selling books, top-grossing retail products, music CDs and more, Angel is the most influential and imitated magician of the modern era. Hailing spectacular reviews from outlets such as Bloomberg Businessweek, who called him “the biggest name in Las Vegas magic,” Angel proves time and time again that he is a true force to be reckoned with.
His hit series MINDFREAK on A&E is the most successful magic show in television history, resulting in more hours of magic during primetime than any other magic show ever. The series continues to be viewed regularly by more than 100 million viewers in over 90 countries. According to police in Clearwater, Florida, the live broadcast of the show’s “Building Implosion” episode drew approximately 50,000 people to the venue, resulting in the largest crowd ever for any magician, rivaling Houdini. “Criss is the Best, THE BEST,” said Oprah Winfrey.
Angel’s next series, Criss Angel BeLIEve, premiered on Spike on October 15, 2013 as Spike TV’s most-watched original series premiere in over 18 months. In November 2013 Endemol, the world’s largest independent production and distribution company, announced that it had acquired the international television distribution rights (outside of North America) to the series, and the show is now seen in over 100 countries worldwide.
Back by popular demand, Angel made another appearance on A&E in October 2016. The network announced a one-hour Halloween special which aired on Oct. 12. The fast-paced television event contained over 30 demonstrations.
In late 2014, Angel unveiled his second production — featuring his first performances outside of Las Vegas in more than six years — with MINDFREAK® Live! The show’s premiere run of 18 shows were a huge success, selling out one month prior to opening. In 2017 the touring show made its international debut in Buenos Aires, Argentina for four dates at the famous Gran Rex Theater.
2015 saw the launch of a third show, written and directed by Criss: The SUPERNATURALISTS™, featuring 9 mind-blowing magicians that destroy reality and revolutionize the live magic ensemble experience. Having sold 40,000 tickets in just one location — in its premiere four-week engagement at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut — The Supernaturalists™ initial run was the most successful, record-breaking launch of ANY ensemble magic show in history and a critically acclaimed smash which reached more than 251,250,640 people via global media over the course of its opening weekend. Angel’s objective with The SUPERNATURALISTS is simple; while there are other ensemble shows out there, performing many of the same illusions that have been around for years, his goal is to redefine magic touring like Cirque du Soleil did for the circus. Criss scoured the globe for the very best performers, each in their respected disciplines, and the lineup is truly historic. The illusions are not only original, but revolutionary.
Criss Angel RAW – The Mindfreak Unplugged, Criss’ fourth and most recent production, debuted in January of 2018 with sold-out shows in nine cities. RAW is a theatrical experience unlike any seen before; bringing Angel’s famous sleight of hand street magic, mentalism, and even some of his most iconic illusions to life – all performed in an intimate, raw setting. This extraordinary evening of magic unplugged features Criss and some of his amazing friends with a stripped-down purity that’s in-your-face and guaranteed to blow your mind.
For years, Criss Angel BeLIEve was hailed as the #1 best-selling magic show in Las Vegas (Extra), generating $150 million in revenue in 2010 as reported by Newsweek. Angel unleashed the future following the show’s 7th anniversary celebration in 2015, bringing his brand-new creation MINDFREAK® LIVE! to the Luxor Hotel & Casino in June 2016. The new immersive spectacle – based on the wildly successful touring version, which performed to sold-out houses across the country and was hailed as the “Magic Event of a Lifetime” (Huffington Post) – replaced the critically acclaimed Criss Angel BeLIEve. Angel serves as writer, director, illusion designer, star and executive producer of MINDFREAK® LIVE!, which performs nightly Wednesday through Sunday with eight to 10 shows per week. Based on his breakout hit TV show, MINDFREAK® LIVE! showcases 90-minutes of the most spectacular, original and revolutionary illusions ever performed on stage. With a cast that includes some of the world’s most talented specialty artists, Angel brings his vision to life with a blend of heart-stopping illusions, live musicians and DJs and state-of-the-art technology including animated LED lighting and RGB lasers, LED virtual worlds, 3-D immersive effects, pyrotechnic landscapes and much more. The Las Vegas Review Journal hailed the show as “The #1 Magic Show of All Time!”
Angel is also the most watched magician in Internet history – a YouTube sensation. His “Walk on Water” clip has generated over 60 million views alone, and all his clips combined have generated more than 300 million views. Criss also has the largest social media following of any illusionist, with over six million followers.
Criss is also working on a few top-level retail partnerships to collaborate on a line of new products for release in 2018-2019. In a previous distribution deal, his successful, high-quality magic kits were offered on television, online, and in 50,000 retail stores across the U.S., resulting in sales of more than $30 million globally.
In 2011, Criss’ brand power continued to evolve when he was chosen to co-create and appear in a new commercial campaign for Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl. His casting proved to be a huge coup for the brand as the spot was the number one most recalled commercial during its campaign, topping Ford®, McDonald’s® and Kraft® Macaroni & Cheese according to Nielsen and getting picked up for runs in other countries.
Angel’s book, Criss Angel MINDFREAK: Secret Revelations (Harper Collins) was a national bestseller and is now in multiple printings. Criss is also an accomplished musician, having produced and performed on five self-titled CDs, which accompany all his live performances and TV appearances.
Angel has received numerous awards throughout his career. Most recently, Criss was honored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. The award will be presented at the 2018 I.B.M. Convention, and he is the youngest recipient of this distinguished honor which was approved unanimously by the I.B.M. Board of Trustees at its Midyear Meeting. “This incomparable honor has only been presented previously to two commercial legendary magicians – Siegfried & Roy, and now Criss Angel joins them as the most successful magician of our day,” said Simone Marron, International Secretary for the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
In July of 2017, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Criss with the 2,615th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was dedicated at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard next to the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and across the street from the star of Houdini.
Criss has been named “Magician of the Year” an unprecedented six times, including from The Magic Castle – far more than any other magician. He was the youngest magician inducted into the International Magicians Society Hall of Fame. Criss was also presented with a lifetime achievement award, The World Magic Legacy Award “A Living Legend,” at The World of Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. Additionally, Angel was named the first recipient of “Magician of the Decade,” as well as “Magician of the Century” and “Innovator of the Decade.” Angel received an International Magic Lifetime Achievement Award and was unanimously selected as the recipient of the 22nd Louie Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of Magic.
Angel is tireless in his ongoing efforts to help children through his charitable works. His Johnny Crisstopher Children’s Charitable Foundation (formerly Believe Anything Is Possible), was renamed in early 2016 after his then two-year old son Johnny was diagnosed with leukemia. 100% of all donations to the foundation (no deductions are taken for administration or expenses) go to childhood cancer research, treatment and ultimately a cure. His first-ever benefit event, H.E.L.P. (Heal Every Life Possible), brought in over $1m during the one-night live production in Las Vegas. In 2018 Criss received the first American Cancer Society Compassionate Heart Award, presented by Barrick. This award honors community leaders whose compassion is put into action and serve as role models for others.