Dean Gunnarson (b.1964)


Dean Gunnarson's Real Name

Dean L. Gunnarson


Billed "The World's Greatest Escape Artist"



Place of Birth

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


Approx. 5' 6"






Dean possesses the ability to escape from any human restraint under the most impossible conditions. He is a decorated master of death-defying escapes, and has accomplished numerous challenges, including Buried Alive, Cement Tomb Escape, Houdini's Milk Can Escape, Challenge At Hoover Dam and Airplane Jump, among others.

Interesting Fact

Dean's favorite book is "Flim Flam" by James Randi.


Dean Gunnarson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on January 27, 1964.

His interest in escapology manifested when he was 10 years old, when his mother bought him a book on Houdini.

Dean was moved and inspired by the legendary escape artist and felt that it was his calling to follow in the masters footsteps.

From that point on, there was no question in Dean's mind that he'd found his calling.

He began performing magic shows around his neighborhood by his early teens. He amassed various magic routines and escapes he learned from reading books on the masters of escapology, like Houdini.

He eventually started getting paid for his performances, which also helped finance his way into a University. However, after a couple of years of education, Dean decided to leave the University to pursue his dreams as an escape artist.

At 19, Dean narrowly escaped death in October 1983 during an escape stunt in which he was bound and chained and nailed into a weighted coffin which was then lowered in the Red River in Winnipeg.

The stunt took a turn for the worse as Dean was unable to escape from the submerged coffin. After 3 minutes, he was pulled from the river and freed by the emergency crew, at which point he was not breathing and had to be resuscitated by paramedics.

That near fatal day did not deter Dean from his dream of becoming an international escape artist. In fact, that stunt made him stronger and wiser in his craft, giving him that special drive to persevere in his career.

It wasn't until 1987, on Halloween night when Dean got his big break. James "The Amazing" Randi was scheduled to perform an escape for the live television special "The Search For Houdini."

The two-hour live special featured famous magicians, such as David Copperfield, Penn and Teller, Harry Blackstone, Jr., and was hosted by actor William Shatner.

Just hours before the show, Randi was injured and asked Dean, whom he took under his wing, to performed The Milk Can Escape before, to take his place.

Following Dean's successful escape from The Milk Can, which he had only seen for the first time the day before, Johnny Carson described the performance to his Tonight Show Audience as "Incredible."

That fateful night launched Dean's International career, endearing him to people of all ages around the world.

Dean Gunnarson has achieved new heights as an escape artist. Whether he is dangling by his toes from a trapeze bar 726 feet over Hoover Dam in Las Vegas or opening for legendary bands like Aerosmith; Dean is always setting new records.

He has successfully conquered many challenges and obstacles by taking his daring escapes to a new limit. His most recent television special, "World's Most Dangerous Magic II", on N.B.C. Gunnarson faced his greatest fear as he escaped over a swamp of 130 hungry alligators in the Florida everglades.

When Dean Gunnarson was honored as the first recipient of the Houdini Award on the "Magic Stars" television show in Tokyo, Japan, it officially recognized what the world has known for many years, Dean is the "World's Greatest Escape Artist!"

Dean received the award from Tony Curtis, who played Houdini in the 1953 movie. The Houdini Award is only one recent highlight in an internationally acclaimed career that has showcased Dean's talents to millions of people around the world.

He has performed over 100 shows in the Republic of China, had several successful tours in South America, and was voted one of the top variety acts in the world on the Italian television show "Bella Fresca".

For the N.B.C. Special, "Magic In The Magic Kingdom," Dean delighted crowds in Disneyland and across North America with his Shark Cage Escape.

One of Dean's most venturous escapes was filmed for a Japanese television special to mark the 500th episode of "Naruhudo! The World."

While free falling from an airplane 13,500 feet above the earth, Dean escaped from a straight jacket and two pairs of handcuffs before parachuting to safety with only six seconds to spare!

Dean Gunnarson has surpassed Houdini with numerous escapes, establishing his career as an original Escape Artist. He conceived the unique "Car Crusher Escape" for the television show "The Spectacular World of Guinness Records," hosted by David Frost.

Many of Dean's greatest escapes have been performed for charitable organizations including The Rainbow Society, The Cancer Foundation and as an Ambassador for the Variety Club.

His devotion to these causes was recognized when the United Commercial Travelers of America named him the Humanitarian Of The Year from more than 185,000 people selected.

The Society of American Magicians, the oldest magic organization in the world, have also honored Dean's significant contribution to magic by appointing him International Ambassador.

He is the First Canadian and the Youngest Person ever to receive either Award.

Gunnarson has appeared on television over 165 countries around the world performing his daring escapes. He has taken his amazing escape shows into countries like India, Egypt, Iceland, Italy, France, Columbia, Venezuela, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, and many more. Gunnarson has performed over 200 shows across China and his TV escapes have been seen by millions of people there.

In 2012 the Chinese Government presented him with award of "The World's Top Escape Artist" after a successful escape on live TV. He has also performed across Canada and the US on TV and for many of the countries top corporations.

That same year, Gunnarson won the prestigious Merlin Award for "World's Best Escape Artist". Presented in Shenzhen, China by The International Society of Magicians, the world's largest magic organization with over 37,000 members.

Founded in 1968, it was the first and only time that they have given the Merlin Award to an escape artist. Past winners are David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Penn & Teller, and Criss Angel.

In February 2013 Ripley's Believe It or Not presented him with the Ripley's record "World's Most Daring Escape Artist" while in New York for the Anderson Cooper Live TV show with Anderson Cooper and co-host Stacey London. Gunnarson performed a difficult escape. He has also been featured in many Ripley's books including a two-page colour spread in "Ripley's-The Remarkable Revealed" pages 130–131, where he was buried alive in 2 1/2 tons of wet cement.

Dean Gunnarson's exploits have added several exciting chapters to the history of escapes, including some of the most daring escapes the world has ever seen. Dean assures that the best is yet to come.

For more information, visit Dean Gunnarson's offical website

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