Some considered him ‘the best magician of all time’, Ricky Jay, died at his Los Angeles home late Saturday, he was 72. Jay’s manager Winston Simone said, “He was one of a kind, We will never see the likes of him again. In addition to his work as a magician, Jay had a long movie career as well. He appeared in, ‘Magnolia’ with Tom Cruise, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, ‘Boogie Nights’ with Burt Reynolds. Jay also appeared in the films of his close friend director David Mamet. He appeared in House of Games, Homicide, Things Change, Spanish Prisoner, and several other Mamet films.
His close friend actor Steve Martin said, “I sort of think of Ricky as the intellectual elite of magicians. I’ve had experience with magicians my whole life. He’s expertly able to perform and yet he knows the theory, history and literature of the field. Ricky is a master of his craft, you know how there are those teachers of creative writing who can’t necessarily write, but teach? Well Ricky can actually do everything.” Jay was often called on by Hollywood to consult on films that dealt with magic. He consulted on the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ franchise, The Prestige, The Illusionist.
Jay’s long time partner in his magic consulting firm, ‘Deceptive Practices’ Micheal Weber tweeted the news of Jay’s death. He said, “I am so sorry to share that my remarkable friend, teacher, collaborator and co-conspirator is gone.” Jay also consulted on ‘Mission Impossible-Rouge Nation’. The director Christoper McQuarrie said the entire success of the film depended on Ricky, ‘he plotted and planned the entire Opera scene, it would not have been the same without him.’ Actor Neil Patrick Harris said, “The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable, such sad news, such a profound loss.” Jay is survived by his wife producer Chrisann Verges.