The acclaimed sleight-of-hand magician was as famous for his ability to throw "Cards as Weapons" as he was for his memorable film and television performances.
Hollywood stars and fellow magicians took to social media Saturday night to pay tribute to the prolific talent Ricky Jay, who passed away Saturday at 72.
One of the most revered and famous magicians of his generation, Jay was able to parlay that success into a film and television career that included roles on such projects as "Magnolia," "Boogie Nights," "Heist," "The Prestige," "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "Deadwood," for which he had a recurring role and also served as a writer during the first season.
A sleight-of-hand magician, Jay's act was most associated with playing cards. He was listed for many years in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card at 90 mph for 190 feet. This was a feat he would perform countless times in public appearances live and on television.
He even filmed a card-throwing sequence while a Bond villain, but things didn't go exactly as planned and the bit ultimately got cut from the film. That said, he did warn them:
So sorry to hear about Ricky Jay. Here's my favorite interview bit about being a James Bond villain: pic.twitter.com/MGiNjtOBkH— Jack Ketch (@JackKetch1) November 25, 2018
So popular was his ability it even became the subject of his first book, the cult classic "Cards as Weapons." He would go on to write several more quirky and highly entertaining books as part of his deep study into the history of illusion and magic.
"The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable," tweeted fellow actor/magician Neil Patrick Harris. "Such sad news, such a profound loss."
Beyond his mastery of the magical arts, many from Hollywood remember his commitment to his roles, commanding presence on film and genuine kind-heartedness. Check out Hollywood's tributes to Ricky Jay below:
Oh man, Ricky Jay. Just a genius. One of the best who ever lived. We’ll all miss you, Ricky. Oh man.— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) November 25, 2018
Master magician and historian Ricky Jay has passed away. The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable. Such sad news, such a profound loss. #RIP https://t.co/VRYRxhkQKr— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) November 25, 2018
As Mamet wrote and Ricky said: “Bad day for the race.” Bad guy says “what race?” Ricky says “the human race.”— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) November 25, 2018
Folks: there was no one like Ricky Jay.
So glad I got to spend real time with him, listen to him, learn from him.
I worked with Ricky Jay twice, in the movie MAGNOLIA and in the series DEADWOOD, in which I got to see his amazing prestidigital talents at close hand as his character Eddie... https://t.co/WTPmQYIHbW— Jim Beaver (@jumblejim) November 25, 2018
Awful news about Ricky Jay. One of a kind and now there's none. RIP, Ricky. #irreplaceable— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) November 25, 2018
Rest In Peace, Ricky Jay. You were an unsurpassed artist and an exceptionally kind soul. I will miss you, xo, your pal, Louis.— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) November 25, 2018
RIP #RickyJay The greatest: https://t.co/fqZc1zQTK5 Classic New Yorker profile: https://t.co/4g2rV4MNjN Ricky to Greg Kinnear's Captain Amazing in "Mystery Men": "I'm your manager, I'm not a magician."— Kurt Loder (@kurt_loder) November 25, 2018
I was blessed to have the legendary Ricky Jay as a consultant on Rogue Nation. An off-handed comment he made inspired the climax of the opera sequence. It’s safe to say it would not be the same scene without him.— Christopher McQuarrie (@chrismcquarrie) November 25, 2018
He was the greatest of a vanishing breed.
When we were shooting DEADWOOD, the fad of Celebrity Poker was white-hot. I asked Ricky why he wasn’t on the televised version. After a pause for dramatic effect, he said, “If I win - they’ll think I cheated. If I don’t... I’m RICKY JAY.”#RickyJay— W. Earl Brown (@WEarlBrown) November 25, 2018
Just learned we lost Ricky Jay today, my friend and neighbor for 30 years. A irreplaceable world of arcane history, theatrical passion, and his particular, singular performing genius passes with him. RIP buddy. #rickyjay— Mark Frost (@mfrost11) November 25, 2018
R.I.P. my dear friend Ricky Jay. The world has truly lost a little of its magic today.— Joe Mantegna (@JoeMantegna) November 25, 2018
God, this man was such a badass in every way. I remember first seeing him in Magnolia and being desperately obsessed with him. RIP Ricky Jay: Magician and Actor Was 72 – Variety https://t.co/ya1MkXpqCb— Josh Gad (@joshgad) November 25, 2018
Ricky Jay’s whole life and career was a magnificent prestige.— John Hodgman (@hodgman) November 25, 2018
Ricky Jay. Magic. RIP.— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) November 25, 2018
The first time I saw Ricky Jay, @wossy took me to see him doing his 52 Friends show on the stage at the Old Vic. It was a remarkable night, as fascinating for the stories told as for the magic. #RIPRickyJay— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 25, 2018
I first saw Ricky Jay when I was 15 at the International Jugglers Convention. 20 years later he was the first celebrity guest we had on Mythbusters in 2003, and he agreed to a playing card showdown gunslinger style. He defeated me easily and was a pure delight on set that day.— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) November 25, 2018
Sorry to hear of Ricky Jay's death. He had the chops alright. Saw him and his "52 Assistants" (in an air conditioned tent to keep his fingertips dry) and was blown away. Impossible feats. His book "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" a masterpiece.— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) November 25, 2018
Ricky Jay was truly peerless, both in his knowledge of his craft and his execution of it. We wrote "The Amazing Maleeni" expressly for him, fans eager to share his sleight of hand with @TheXFiles audience. He was the definition of the word “master." pic.twitter.com/0yOnOp4RTV— Frank Spotnitz (@FrankSpotnitz) November 25, 2018
LEARNED PIGS AND FIREPROOF WOMEN and CARDS AS WEAPONS are Ricky Jay books and the are amazing. Love you Ricky! pic.twitter.com/5T2KEG3tuR— Jerry O'Connell (@MrJerryOC) November 25, 2018
So gutted to hear about the passing of Ricky Jay. One of the kindest humans I've met. Had a glorious smile and laugh. Could listen to his stories for hours. He lived and breathed history. He was beyond special yet never showed it. Truly one of a kind. #rip— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) November 25, 2018
Oh no, Ricky Jay has died. He was such a brilliant magician. This is a terrible loss of an incredible craftsman.— Ken Olin (@kenolin1) November 25, 2018
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