Magician The Amazing Johnathan Dies February 22
Johnathan Szeles, better known as magician and comedian The Amazing Johnathan, died on February 22, 2022. He was 63.
The Amazing Johnathan was a Las Vegas star, appearing at the Golden Nugget, the Sahara, and Bally’s, along with a number of other venues. That was a long way from his early days as a street magician in San Francisco.
His onstage performances were funny, shocking, and riveting. He called himself the “Freddy Krueger of Comedy” and sometimes pretended to swallow his own eyeball or impale his tongue with a knife.
He wrote a book for aspiring magicians, called “Every Trick in the Book.” He also appeared on a number of television shows, including “Late Night with David Letterman” and “Comic Strip Live,” and his own special, “Wrong on Every Level.” He was the subject of two documentaries: “The Amazing Johnathan Documentary” and “Always Amazing.”
Szeles had been diagnosed with a heart condition in 2007. During an event years later in Las Vegas, he said, “For two years, I did 500 seats a night. Every single night we sold out and then for the next 13 years I had a great time. The greatest time of my entire life has been here, and I’ve made millions of dollars. I have two beautiful houses, and everything came crashing down when I was told I had a year to live.”
However, some people were skeptical of The Amazing Johnathan’s health concerns, with some justification. He had been known for creating elaborate pranks, plus he once said, “I wanted to fake my death…. Nobody has ever done that and come back, and I wanted to be the first one to do it.”
Perhaps the prankster in Szeles would have been amused at the thought of passing on 2/22/22, a date that was celebrated for its uniqueness.
The Amazing Johnathan died in his home in Las Vegas. He is survived by his wife, performer Anastasia Synn.
Katsilometes, John. “Groundbreaking Vegas magician The Amazing Johnathan dies at 63.” Las Vegas Review-Journal, February 24, 2022, https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/entertainment-columns/kats/groundbreaking-vegas-magician-the-amazing-johnathan-dies-at-63-2533797/.
Schimkowitz, Matt. “R.I.P. The Amazing Johnathan, unpredictable and inventive magician and stand-up comedian.” AV Club, February 23, 2022, https://www.avclub.com/rip-amazing-johnathan-magician-standup-comedian-1848583983.
Welk, Brian. “The Amazing Johnathan, Las Vegas Stand Up Comedian and Magician , Dies at 63.” The Wrap, February 23, 2022, https://www.thewrap.com/the-amazing-johnathan-dies-comedian-magician/.
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