Angel, Criss PDF

Born: 1973

Born in East Meadow, N.Y, US

The youngest of three sons in a close Greek-American family. He got interested in magic at age 6, after his Aunt Stella did a trick for him. He did his first paid gig-for $15-when he was 12. By age 19 he was making $3,000 a week performing at children's parties and nightclubs.

Soon he began experimenting with bigger stunts, mixing magic with loud, pulsating rock music that he composed. "I wanted to combine magic and music in a much grander vision that required a band, larger illusions and more equipment." This paid off in the mid-1990s when Angel landed a spot in an ABC special. Then came a show on Halloween at Madison Square Garden in 1998; he took in $50,000 signing Criss Angel memorabilia for fans. In 2001 he produced Criss Angel Mindfreak, a bona fide off-Broadway hit, investing $300,000 (borrowed against his mother's house) and reaping $4 million in 14 months. Later he landed appearances on the ABC Family channel, TBS in Japan, MTV, Discovery Channel and Sci Fi Channel, with most gigs paying him $300,000 to $450,000 in production fees.

Last summer (2003) Angel signed with the Firm, which manages Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. Baram, the president, matched Angel with Johnny Depp's stylist, who stripped the magician's black nail polish, cut his waist-length hair and traded his leather wardrobe for a more artsy, athletic look.

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