Home Celebrity James Randi, Magician and Paranormal Debunker, Dies at 92

James Randi, Magician and Paranormal Debunker, Dies at 92

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James Randi, a magician and illusionist known as “The Amazing Randi” as well as a scientific investigator who debunked paranormal and occult phenomena through his organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has died. He was 92.

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The James Randi Foundation announced his passing in a tweet, saying he died of “age-related causes” on Tuesday.

Randi was remembered on Wednesday by magician Penn Jillette in a pair of tweets, which you can see below, as an “inspiration, mentor and dear friend.”

Randi, born Randall Zwinge, got his start as a magician and escape artist, escaping from jail cells or safes and even emerging from a coffin on the “Today” show in 1956, and he would later host his own television show from 1967 to 1968. In the ’70s he also performed a special for Canadian TV in which he escaped from a straitjacket while suspended upside down over Niagara Falls.

Randi even helped spice up the theatricality of rock star Alice Cooper, helping him to build his guillotine stage prop as well as touring with him in the ’70s. And throughout his career as a magician he became a regular guest on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson and on the children’s television show “Wonderama.”

But by age 60 Randi had retired from magic and was one of the co-founders of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or CSI. The committee responded to a rise of interest in the paranormal in the ’70s and had a mission statement of promoting scientific inquiry and critical thinking to to investigate extraordinary or controversial claims.

Among one of Randi’s more famous instances of debunking — a word he frequently said he disliked in favor of “investigator” — was of the religious televangelist Peter Popoff, who became famous in the mid-80s for televised healing sermons. Randi discovered that Popoff was using an electronic transmitter to get information about his subjects broadcast to him by his wife behind the scenes, something that Randi then exposed on “The Tonight Show.”

In 1996 he founded the James Randi Educational Foundation, a non-profit group that encouraged and educated the public and media on vetting unverified and outlandish claims, later launching the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge for people who could demonstrate paranormal abilities under agreed upon scientific testing conditions. While over 1000 people have applied, no one has proved their supernatural strength.

Goodbye to the truly Amazing James Randi, our inspiration, mentor and dear friend. We will love you forever. @jref pic.twitter.com/bwgvWnvcoD

— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) October 21, 2020

The last picture of me and Randi. I can’t type through the tears. This will be a hard day of making tv. I love you Randi. You invented us. pic.twitter.com/z2SKY59Jtb

— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) October 21, 2020

More to come…

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Read original story James Randi, Magician and Paranormal Debunker, Dies at 92 At TheWrap

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