Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini c. 1899, Library of Congress, Author McManus-Young Collection

Birth Name: Erik Weisz

Date of Birth: March 24, 1874

Place of Birth: Budapest, Austria-Hungary

Date of Death: October 31, 1926

Place of Death: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Harry Houdini was an American stage magician, illusionist, and stunt performer. He is known for his sensational escape acts.

He was born in Budapest, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Hungary), the son of Cecília (Steiner) and Rabbi Mayer Sámuel Weisz/Weiss. His father was born in Nagykanizsai, Zala County, Hungary. The family moved to the U.S. in 1878, settling in Appleton, Wisconsin. They later moved to Milwaukee, and then New York City.

Born Erik Weisz, his named was changed somewhat to Ehrich Weiss.

He was a cousin of Helen Schonberger, the wife of actor and comedian Moe Howard, of The Three Stooges. His brother was magician and escape artist Theodore Hardeen.

Harry was married to his stage assistant, Bess Houdini (born Wilhelmina Beatrice Rahner), until his death.

Harry’s paternal grandfather was named Moshe Zvi Halevi Leopold Weisz.

Harry’s paternal grandmother was named Josephine.

Harry’s maternal grandfather was Herman Steiner (the son of Saje Steiner and Szure/Zali Weinstock).

Harry’s maternal grandmother was named Hannah Heller.

Sources: Genealogy of Harry Houdini – https://www.geni.com

Pictures of, and information about, Harry’s parents – http://www.findagrave.com

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