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Unchained

Philadelphia Jewish museum to honor David Copperfield, Houdini

Officials say the two entertainers demonstrated ‘what’s possible when individuals are simply given the chance to be great’

Legendary escape artist Harry Houdini is shown in chains in this photo circa 1899 (AP Photo, File)
Legendary escape artist Harry Houdini is shown in chains in this photo circa 1899 (AP Photo, File)

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History will honor two men who entertained the world with their magic.

The museum announced on Thursday it will induct illusionists Harry Houdini and David Copperfield into its hall of fame on December 12. The museum said the award recognizes the achievements and contributions of American Jews “who share and exemplify the ideals of the stories explored in the museum.”

Houdini was born Erik Weisz in Hungary in 1874 and came to America when he was 4 years old. The son of a rabbi, he toured the US and the world as a magician until his death in 1926 at age 52.

Copperfield, 64, was born David Kotkin in New Jersey. He has earned 21 Emmy Awards, and will accept the honor from his International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas.

In this Nov. 6, 2017, file photo, David Copperfield attends the 14th Annual CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Gala in New York (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

“From immigrant Harry Houdini to first-generation American David Copperfield, this event clearly demonstrates what’s possible when individuals are simply given the chance to be great,” said museum trustee Sharon Tobin Kestenbaum.

Previous recipients of the museum’s award include the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and director Steven Spielberg.

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