Brooklyn-born famed magician and actor Ricky Jay has died of natural causes in Los Angeles at the age of around 72 (his exact birth date is unknown).
Jay, once dubbed “the most gifted sleight of hand artist alive,” is considered one of the greatest magicians of modern times. He held a Guinness World Record for throwing playing cards, and was a noted historian in the field of illusions – operating as an expert consultant on magic, gambling, con games and unusual entertainment.
However, he also racked up an impressive cinematic resume over the years on film and television in numerous supporting roles. He was a regular in David Mamet films including “Heist,” “State and Main,” “Redbelt,” “House of Games” and “The Spanish Prisoner,” and Paul Thomas Anderson with roles in “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia”.
Memorable work including supporting turns in Chris Nolan’s “The Prestige,” Gus Van Sant’s “Last Days,” Rian Johnson’s “The Brothers Bloom,” the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” the superhero comedy “Mystery Men,” the con woman comedy “Heartbreakers,” and major guest roles on “The X-Files,” “Lie to Me,” “The Unit” and “The Simpsons”.
Jay also had a recurring role on the first season of “Deadwood” during which he also wrote one of the first season’s best episodes (‘Jewel’s Boot Is Made For Walking’). He co-created the firm Deceptive Practices which offered practical solutions for film productions like “Sneakers,” “Congo,” “The Illusionist,” “Leap of Faith,” “Wolf” and most memorably helped work out the ‘removal’ of Gary Sinise’s legs in “Forrest Gump”.
Source: The BBC