Criss Angel (born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos on December 19, 1967) is an American magician, illusionist, musician, mentalist, hypnotist, escapologist, stunt performer, yoga master and actor. He is best known for starring in his own television show, Criss Angel Mindfreak.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Magic career
* 3 Criss Angel Mindfreak
* 4 Other television appearances and movies
* 5 Books and music
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Angel was born on December 19, 1967, raised in East Meadow, New York and is of Greek descent. Angel grew up loving music (playing drums, flute and accordion) and has always had an interest in magic. His parents are John and Dimitra Sarantakos. His mother hails from Mystra, Greece. He has two brothers, Costa and JD, as well as two cats, Minx and Hammie (short for Hamlet). One of Criss's biggest influences has been his father, who died from stomach cancer.
Criss Angel first became interested in magic at the age 7, when his Aunt Stella showed him a card trick. Two of his biggest magic influences are Harry Houdini and Aldo Richiardi . As a teenager, Angel performed at birthday parties, at night clubs, at home to entertain his family, and at private events. Early in his magic career, magician James Randi designed Angel's professional business card.
He played in an Industrial music band called AngelDust with friend Klayton Scott (Celldweller, Argyle Park) who produced, co-wrote and helped arrange the music for his show, Mindfreak.
Angel performed in World Of Illusion at Madison Square Garden in 1998. Criss then scored a show on Broadway titled "Criss Angel Mindfreak," which ran up until January 6, 2003 following a run of 600 performances at The World in The World Underground Theater in Times Square. He also starred in several television specials.
Criss Angel won the Academy of Magical Arts' Magician of the Year award in 2005, and the IMS Magician of the year in 2001 and 2004.
He has even revealed the methods for many of his tricks to viewers at home on TV and in videos, although the effects revealed are usually very simple such as making a toothpick disappear, picking a pocket, or making a Styrofoam cup float. Angel discusses magic and his life in Mindfreak: Secret Revelations (published April 24, 2007), which became a Los Angeles Times best seller.
Angel is scheduled to appear in a new illusion-based Cirque du Soleil production at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, and it is expected to open in September 2008. Angel has recently said that there are plans for this attraction to run for 10 years, including 4,600 shows with a possible 5 year renewal option of his contract. The show is a permanent Las Vegas show and will not be in any other city.
In July 2007, NBC signed Angel and Uri Geller for Phenomenon, a show airing on October 24 that searches for the next great mentalist. Angel does not believe Geller has any paranormal abilities.
Criss Angel Mindfreak
Main article: Criss Angel Mindfreak
Angel is the star and creator of the A&E Network show Criss Angel Mindfreak. Seasons 1 and 2 were filmed at the The Aladdin in Las Vegas, with Season 3 at the Luxor Hotel. Premiering on July 20, 2005, the illusions have included walking on water, levitating above the Luxor Hotel, floating between two buildings (although this could be interpreted by some as a studio created blue screen trick and not an on site illusion), causing a Lamborghini to disappear, surviving in an exploding C4 Crate, and cutting himself in half in full view of an audience. Criss is scheduled to begin filming Season 4 of Mindfreak in October 2007, and the show is scheduled to run for two more seasons after that.
In the first episode of season three of his series "MindFreak", Angel demonstrated the illusion of levitation at the Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas. In one scene, he appears to levitate from the 26th floor inside the hotel, slowly descending through the hotel's atrium to the entrance lobby. Later, he levitated above the 500-foot-high apex of the hotel at night, in the middle of the famous Luxor's spotlight which has an output of 42.2 billion candlepower. This episode was viewed by almost 3 million viewers making it the most watched episode in series history and the number one show in its time slot on cable television.
Other television appearances and movies
Angel was the featured guest star on CSI: NY on February 28, 2007 in an episode titled "Sleight Out of Hand" as a character named Luke Blade, a famous magician whose assistants die in unusual ways that are strangely related to the illusions he performs in the episode. In the episode, he performed three illusions (being sawed in half, being set on fire, and a version of his "Submerged" illusion).
Angels' more notable television appearances include but are not limited to Las Vegas, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as VH1's Rock Honors Awards performing and introducing legendary Honoree Ozzy Osbourne. In June 2007, Angel appeared on the cover of the DUB Magazine. He also appeared on CNN's Larry King Live on July 12, 2007. On June 8, 2007, he stated on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson that Richiardi was one of his greatest influences.
Criss Angel is cast to star in the upcoming movie Mandrake the Magician.
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