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Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos (born December 19, 1967), better known by his stage name Criss Angel is an American magician, musician, mentalist, hypnotist, escapologist, stunt performer, and actor. He is best known for starring in his own television show, Criss Angel Mindfreak.
Criss Angel was born on December 19, 1967, raised in Long Island, New York and is of Greek descent. Angel grew up loving music, had a love for playing drums, and has always had an interest in magic. His parents are John and Dimitra Sarantakos. His mother hails from Mystra, Greece. He has two brothers, Costa and JD, as well as two cats, Minx and Hammie (short for Hamlet). One of Criss's biggest influences has been his father, who died from stomach cancer.
According to his interview with Larry King before Halloween in 2007 he was an altar boy in the Greek Orthodox Church as he was growing up, and he still believes strongly in God.
Angel played in an Industrial music band called AngelDust with friend Klayton Scott (Celldweller, Argyle Park) who produced, co-wrote, and helped arrange the music for his show, Mindfreak.
Angel performed World Of Illusion at Madison Square Garden in 1998. Criss then scored an off Broadway show titled "Criss Angel Mindfreak," which ran up until January 6, 2003 following a run of 600 performances at The World in The World Underground Theater in Times Square. He also starred in several television specials.
He has even revealed the methods for many of his tricks to viewers at home on TV and in videos, although the effects revealed are usually very simple such as making a toothpick disappear, picking a pocket, or making a Styrofoam cup float. Angel discusses magic and his life in Mindfreak: Secret Revelations (published April 24, 2007), which became a Los Angeles Times best seller.
On the Penn Jillette Radio show, hosted by a fellow magician, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller, Criss Angel stated that he does not have supernatural abilities, nor does he believe that anyone has supernatural abilities.
Criss Angel Mindfreak
Main Article: Mindfreak
Criss Angel is the star and creator of the A&E Network show Criss Angel Mindfreak. Seasons 1 and 2 were filmed at the The Aladdin in Las Vegas, with Season 3 at the Luxor Hotel. Premiering on July 20, 2005, the illusions have included walking on water, levitating above the Luxor Hotel, floating between two buildings, causing a Lamborghini to disappear, surviving in an exploding C4 Crate, cutting himself in half in full view of an audience and getting run over by a steamroller while lying stomach down on a bed of glass. Criss is scheduled to begin filming Season 4 of Mindfreak in October 2007, and the show is scheduled to run for two more seasons after that.
Angel was the featured guest star on CSI: NY on February 28, 2007 in an episode titled "Sleight Out of Hand" as the character of Luke Blade, a famous magician whose assistants die in unusual ways that are strangely related to the illusions he performs in the episode. In the episode, he performed three illusions (being sawed in half, being set on fire, and a version of his "Submerged" illusion).
On the October 31, 2007 episode of the reality show Phenomenon, Paranormalist Jim Callahan performed a summoning, purportedly of author Raymond Hill, to help discover the contents of a locked box. Although fellow judge Uri Geller praised the performance, Angel called it "comical" and subsequently challenged both Callahan and Geller to guess the contents of two envelopes he pulled out of his pocket, offering a million dollars of his own money to whomever could do so. This led to an argument between Callahan and Angel, during which Callahan accused Angel of being an "ideological bigot", and after Angel rose from his chair and approached Callahan, the two were pulled apart as the show promptly went to a commercial break. Angel has since revealed the contents of one envelope and at the unveiling he challenged Geller one more time. Geller unsuccessful, and the envelope was revealed to contain an index card with the numbers "911" printed on it for September 11, 2001. Criss' explanation was this "if on 9-10 somebody could have predicted that 9-11 was going to happen, they could have saved millions of lives". The other envelope's contents will be revealed on the first episode of Season 4 of Criss Angel: Mindfreak.
Criss has just signed for a film version of the depression-era comic strip Mandrake The Magician. Written by Lee Falk, the story centers on a magician with hypnotic powers and a penchant for fighting mad scientists and criminal king-pins. Criss' role is Mandrake's father. He will be in estedica for the entire movie. Mandrake will start shooting in March of this year.
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