Known for his professional career as a magician and his roles in films like Boogie Nights and the HBO series Deadwood, Ricky Jay has died. He was 70.
Details about Jay’s death have not been revealed, but his attorney Stan Coleman confirmed his death while his partner at Deceptive Practices, Michael Weber tweeted, “I am sorry to share that my remarkable friend, teacher, collaborator and coconspirator is gone.”
Richard Jay Potash was born in Brooklyn, New York and had an impressive resume of films. In addition to Boogie Nights and Deadwood, Jay appeared in films such as Magnolia, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Spanish Prisoner, Mystery Men, and, appropriately, the magician drama The Prestige. He was also the subject of PBS’ American Masters in 2015 and was the first magician to be profiled in the series. He was also the subject of the documentary Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.
Acclaimed playwright David Mamet directed three of Jay’s one-man shows which were “Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants”, “Ricky Jay: On the Stem”, and “Ricky Jay: A Rogue’s Gallery.” Mamet went on to cast him in his films Heist and House of Games.
Jay was also a consultant for magic, gambling, con games and unusual entertainment. That said, be became the man in Hollywood when it came to magic. He worked on Francis Ford Coppola’s The Escape Artist and worked with Robert Redford on The Natural to show him how to manipulate coins.
Jay and Weber created their firm Deceptive Practices on the ’90s and provided their expert services to film, TV, and stage productions. They helped design the wheelchair that gave the illusion that Gary Sinise had no legs in Forrest Gump and provided other tricks of the eye in movies such as Congo and for the Broadway production of Angels in America, part 2: Perestroik. They also worked on The Illusionist, Sneakers, and Oceans Thirteen.