The mysteries of David: Hester Lacey asks David Copperfield if he flies by wire (and what Claudia sees in him . . .)

ONE of the world's greatest superstars flies into London next week.

Sweet-faced, blue-eyed German supermodel, Claudia Schiffer, is universally recognised as the most beautiful woman in the world. Strong men swoon when she tosses her famous shining blonde hair. Oh, and her fiance, David Copperfield, will be turning up as well.

Mr Copperfield is a magician - 'the most spectacular illusionist in the world' according to his publicity material. He makes his UK debut at Earls Court next week. But in his 15-year career as a worldwide megastar, why hasn't he visited Britain before?

'You didn't know who I was,' he explained from Milan last week, unruffled by allegations in the Sun that, among other glitches, there were visible body doubles flitting around the stage during the show. 'It would have been like a musician coming to a country before anyone had heard their records.' Now we've been softened up with television shows, he feels we are ready for the live Copperfield experience, complete with thundering rock music, dry ice, Houdini-style escapes, Copperfield chopping up scantily-clad women, etc.

But, amazing as it is to levitate the Orient Express (well, one carriage, anyway), what really made the ears of the British public prick up was the news of his engagement. Never mind the disappearing aeroplanes, what's the secret of pulling a global lust icon? 'What does she see in him?' gasped a nation of fascinated women and disappointed men.

What indeed? Copperfield is very rich. Churning out 500 shows a year rakes him in dollars 26m (pounds 17m), which means he can afford to be very romantic. Miss Schiffer sports a diamond ring the size of a pigeon's egg; he flies Concorde to New York just to spend minutes with her.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Copperfield's deep tan, quiffed hair, and smouldering gaze have not gone down well with sophisticated British observers (the terms nerd, geek and even dweeb have been freely tossed around). But the Hollywood Reporter says he's a sex symbol. And in Claudia's native Germany, 'Coppi' is referred to as a 'sex wizard'.

Finally, there is that unique and special dash of magic. They met when he plucked her from an audience in Munich and read her mind. (She was imagining a lion and a fox.) The coup de foudre was cemented when they went to supper after the show and he did magic tricks with the French fries. Boys, this ploy is worth noting; from the disappearing chips it was but a short step to cheek-to-cheek smooching, lipsynching along to Lionel Richie crooning 'Helloooo . . . is it me you're looking for?'

Copperfield's personal transformation is as amazing as any of his illusions.

He was born David Seth Kotkin in Metuchen, New Jersey, where his father worked in a clothing store. A solitary, lonely child, he was given a ventriloquist's dummy; he graduated from voice-throwing to magic. At 18 he had his own stage show, at 22 his own TV show. He's 38 now; more people see him live every year than any other entertainer worldwide. His shows sell out in America, Europe and Asia. It takes him around two and a half years to bring each illusion to performance standard - learning to fly took seven.

Copperfield has been the subject of some hostile articles written by snarky Brit reporters (one of the kindest adjectives used about him is 'taciturn').

But he doesn't take it personally. 'It's pretty normal for the British press, isn't it? Everything Diana's done they've picked on. The royal family, they're pretty nice people, but they're just about torn apart, just to sell newspapers. Everybody's game, I guess, even to the point of making up stories.'

What have they been saying about him? 'It's pretty comical, what people decide to twist. You can get decorated as a knight by the French government, you can be a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and you pick up the British papers and the headline is something like 'Copperfield's Fake Tanning Lotion]]' All of those things are not true. I don't use fake tanning lotion. Tweezed eyebrows is another good one. And I've never had a manicure in my life. My nails are horrible,' he reveals exclusively.

He reacted to the Sun's claim that wires were visible when he 'flew' in Milan with a long bray of laughter. 'They better buy some glasses. In the Italian papers today the headlines say 'Triumph]' People come for the show with binoculars - there was a show full of people with binoculars who didn't see these wires. That paper has a vivid imagination. Wires? File next to the manicures and the tanning lotion.'

Will a staid British audience give Copperfield the rapturous reception he is used to? 'Judging from ticket sales you may have even more enthusiasm than an American audience. It should be interesting - I'll give it my best shot.'

But we have a lot to live up to. Mary Elisabeth van der Happer, 28, from Westport, Connecticut, has seen Copperfield's show three times. 'His shows are just the best,' she says. 'You'll never see anything else like him. What he does is close to supernatural-you can believe he really can fly. I mean, I don't believe he can fly really, but just for a moment you wonder . . .'

(Photographs omitted)

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer - Kent - £43,000

    £35000 - £43000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# and .Net Developer - n...

    Guru Careers: Digital Marketing Exec / Online Marketing Executive

    £35 - 40k: Guru Careers: Our client has a new role for a Digital Marketing Exe...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'