Famous mentalists and how they became famous mentalism performers
Mentalism and famous mentalists can be traced back as far as 1572. But in recent times mentalism performances have become even more popular.
Famous mentalists include performers like Derren Brown from the UK, Oz Pearlman originally from Israel and who now lives in American and Kieth Barry from Ireland. These mentalist performers provide inspiration to those new up and coming mentalists looking to master mentalism.
Modern day mentalists include the likes of Derren Brown, Keith Barry, Guy Bavli, Paul Brook, Oz Pearlman and Uri Geller.
If you're a budding mentalist and looking to master mentalism, it's always good to get inspiration from those that have succeeded before you.
With shows like Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent, Simon Cowell has provided a stage for new and up and coming mentalists. This has allowed modern mentalists like Colin Cloud and Oz Pearlman on the US show and DNA, Aaron Crow and Issy Simpson on BGT in the UK.
I love to see the perplexed look on Simon's face. The classic is with Issy Simpson. This can be seen on the video below in the third segment.
Mentalists that have appeared on Britain's Got Talent Show in the UK
Old-time famous mentalists
This article on famous mentalists wouldn't be complete without making mention of the old-time mentalists.
Famous Mentalist Tony Corina
Old-timer famous mentalists include the likes of Tony Corinda who died in 2010. Corinda was an English Mentalist and is known particularly for the book he wrote on mentalism the Thirteen Steps To Mentalism.
This book came from his original thirteen booklets. He wrote these in the 1950's. They were all about mentalism and magic tricks.
Each one of these steps deals with a different aspect of mentalism. They are well worth reading for any beginner in mentalism.
Most famous and proficient mentalists Joseph Dunninger
New Yorker Joseph Dunninger was known as 'The Amazing Dunninger.'
Born and lived in New York, America, Dunninger performed to the then President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. He also performed to inventor legend Thomas Edison too.
He was so confident in his mentalism that he had a standing offer of $10,000 (£7,100) to anyone who could prove that he used stooges or confederates. To get an idea of the gravitas of this offer, in today's terms this would be worth over $600,000 (£430,000)!
On the same lines as current day Derren Brown, Dunninger was keen to expose mediums or psychics. He was witness in a case against fraudulent medium Emerson Gilbert, after he attended one of his seances.
Having looked back at historical famous mentalists, let's take a look at the modern day stage performers.
Famous mentalist #1 - Derren Brown
Derren Brown has to be my favourite of all mentalists.
An English mentalist and was first discovered back in 2000. His first show was Mind Control and aired on Channel 4, which was four, hour long shows.
Derren Brown started his career learning hypnosis. But very soon into his training he decided that he didn't want become a hypnotherapist.
Derren was already performing magic tricks in front of audiences at Bristol bars and restaurants where he attended Bristol University.
Brown has written his own book 'Tricks of the Mind,' which is worth a read. His book provides an insight into his life and also into some of the skills and techniques in mentalism he uses.
Derren Brown is used to controversy, as many of his shows push the boundaries. Two shows that caused a stir were the Russian Roulette and Seance shows.
However, Brown doesn't see it as controversy. But instead likes to view it as dramatic showmanship and entertainment. Which I agree it is great entertainment.
People eyes are fixed to the screen or stage when he performs. His live shows are simply amazing.
Famous mentalist #2 - Keith Barry
Keith Barry is an Irish born mentalist. He started his mentalism career learning magic at aged just 14.
He became famous when he performed on TV series 'Close Encounters with Keith Barry' in 2003.
This show has been aired in 28 countries around the world. This led him to appearing on CBS in 2006 in a show called 'Keith Barry: Extraordinary.'
After appearing in many other TV shows including 'The Escape Live' on ITV, he went on to be the adviser on the Hollywood hit film 'Now You See Me' and its sequel.
Also, like so many mentalists, he likes to challenge psychics too. He made public his disapproval of the Psychic Readings Live and challenged Psychic Wayne to prove his powers, who declined the challenge.
Famous mentalist #3 - Guy Bavli
Originally born in Tel Aviv Israel, Guy Bavli now lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Bavli is also an entrepreneur and owns an entertainment company 'Master of the Mind,' which is based in Fort Lauderdale.
Guy Bavli started performing his mind reading act when he was still in the Israeli army. It was in 2002 that he moved to America when he became interested in mentalism and illusions. However, he started performing even earlier than that, and it was at the age of just five he was already performing in front of audiences.
He was very much influenced by Uri Geller (see below), a fellow Israeli and performing mentalist.
One of his TV appearances included a heart stopping show when he performed a similar show to Derren Brown's, which was a Russian Roulette type demonstration using eight jars of hydrochloric acid.
He is known to perform spoon bending like his fellow Israeli Uri.
Famous mentalist #4 - Paul Brook
Famous mentalist Paul Brook has authored over twenty books. However, none of which seem to be available on Amazon.
Paul Brook is an English mentalist and originally from Birmingham.
From an early age Paul Brook had an interest in the subjects of the mind. Like Derren Brown this interest began with hypnosis.
He started his career as a psychotherapist, running his own therapy practice in Birmingham. But it was in 2004 that became a full time psychological mind reader instead.
Brook has not had his own TV show, but he was the on-set Executive Consultant for the 10 episode mind reading series Draiocht, which was broadcast on Channel TG4, an Irish television channel.
Famous mentalist #5 - Oz Pearlman
Oz Pearlman got his break when he appeared on TV show America's Got Talent wowing the audiences and judges.
He finished in third place on the American talent show and has since gone on to achieve huge success.
Pearlman is another Israeli born mentalist, it must be something about Israel that produces mentalists. But he was aged just three when his parents moved to the USA.
Oz Pearlman was a very tallented and intelligent young man, scoring very highly on his maths SATs.
Pearlman was able to fund his University of Michigan degree course from the money he earned doing magic in restaurants from the age of just 14.
Oz Pearlman's early career was at Merrill Lynch in the Global Technology Services Department. However, it was this career that funded his living, whilst he developed his mentalism and magic career on the side.
Pearlman created an instructional DVD called 'Born to Perform Card Magic.' This DVD was filmed in Las Vegas and teaches techniques of magic.
Famous mentalist #6 - Uri Geller
Uri Geller is probably the most controversial of all famous mentalists. He has been involved in law suits and conspiracies throughout his career.
His approach was to convince people that he could actually bend spoons and that he possessed the power of psychokinesis, dowsing and telepathy. This is instead of all the other famous mentalists I've included in this article, who admit they are simply performing clever mental and mind tricks.
Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, he lived in the UK for a number of years, until returning to his home country in 2015.
Uri Geller has said that he performs these feats through will power and the strength of his mind, when in fact magicians and skeptics have caught him cheating. His performances have been duplicated by magicians and other mentalists, which prove he doesn't possess special powers.
Famous mentalist #7 - Colin Cloud
Famous mentalist who is professionally known as Colin Cloud, was born Colin McLeod in Scotland.
This Scottish stage mentalist describes himself as a forensic mind reader. He has appeared on Britain's Got Talent back in 2012 and then on America's Got Talent in 2017. In America he got to the semifinalist stage in the show.
Also in 2017 Colin Cloud appeared on The Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen. Here's a video of his appearance.
Famous mentalist #8 - Lior Suchard
Famous mentalist Lior Suchard made a big impact on Harry Connick Jr. on the James Corden Late Night Show in America. Harry Connick Jr. was so spooked by his performance that he ran off stage a couple of times!
Lior Suchard is another Israeli mentalist. He is a self-described "mystifier" who performs supernatural style entertainment.
Lior Suchard's live show which is called "Supernatural Entertainment" won the Best Innovative Act Award at the 2015 Live Quotient Awards in India. India is huge on mentalism. He has also toured Australia and Russia.
In Australia, his tour was so successful that it had to be extended.
Famous mentalist #9 - Famous mentalists in India - Nipin Niravath
Famous mentalists in India include the likes of Nipin Niravath.
Nipin Niravath performs mind reading and mentalism in Kerala, who is seen as the industry leader.
He is not only a famous mentalist who appears on TV shows like 'Super Nite,' but he is also a corporate entertainer too.
I hope you enjoyed this article about famous mentalists…
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your journey to become a performing mentalist or magician (or both). Please comment below. Please also share your experiences, both good and bad.!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about mentalism or magic, I will try to answer them (or specifically about famous mentalists), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about mentalism for you to read and learn about this fantastic skill.
Have fun and enjoy your journey to become a mentalist!