Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin France, 1805-1871

Born in France in 1805, Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin began his career as a watchmaker before pursuing his passion for magic. His innovative use of contraptions and electricity in his performances, as well his attire and flair for performance, have earned him the name "the father of modern magic." He ran a successful magical theater in Paris from 1845 to 1855 before retiring, and was even employed by the French government to use his tricks to quell a revolution in Algeria. He died of pneumonia in 1871.