Michael Griffin (b.1961)
Griffin has been billed "America's Escape Hero"
Escape Artist, Author
Place of Birth
Michael Griffin possesses the uncanny ability to free himself from any extreme escape challenge known to man, from water-sealed oil drums, an assortment of complex police restraints, to mental hospitals, coffins, and other perilous escapes.
In 1983, Michael escaped from an actual public hanging for the first time in US history, in Wichita, KS. with hands restrained behind his back and a noose strung over a gallows. Michael escaped just seconds before passing out.
Michael Griffin spent his formative years in magic and escapology growing up in Lake Arrowhead, California.
When he was 5 or 6, he discovered magic in the form of TV shows like Wild Wild West, Green Hornet and cartoons like Superman and Batman.
To Griffin, those characters created magic through their exhibition of skillful escapes, death-defying stunts and super-human powers.
After watching those shows, Griffin and his brother would often tie each other up with rope, and then try to escape. Griffin was further hooked on magic when his babysitter showed him a magic trick where he vanished a bobby pin and then pulled it from the corner of his eye.
The very first magic trick Griffin performed were the tricks found in cereal boxes and mail-ins like the sliding coin changer.
He then discovered his biggest influence in magic in the form of a book: The "Amateur Magicians Handbook" by Henry Hay. Griffin would devour the book at school, during recess, any time he could play with coins and cards.
Michael's influences in magic were Dai Vernon, Theo Annemann, Kreskin. However, his greatest influence was his father, who was a respected and accomplished psychiatrist.
Griffin had often dreamed of being able to rise to similar heights in magic by making his escapes embraced by fellow magicians.
At first, his father was anything but supportive of his son's magic career. Michael comes from a family of medicine and his father wanted him to pursue the medical career. However, it was Michael's unthwarted ambition in the field of escapes that convinced his father that he could possibly make it in escapology.
Griffin's first public performance was for a church event on Halloween. He performed magic tricks, then went on to do a straitjacket escape.
When he was 18, he performed his first Death Defying escape in Lake Arrowhead. He was wrapped in 40 feet of chains and locks in the freezing cold and fog. He escaped successfully, unfortunately, he suffered a broken finger which required surgery the next day.
Two years later, Michael escaped from certain death at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean at Balboa Bay, CA. Breaking free of 25 pounds of chains and locks.
At 24, he stunned Sheriffs and deputies when he escaped jail's maximum-security cell in Wichita KS. with 14 pair of handcuffs, 6 leg irons and chains.
In 1987, Michael escaped a deadly rope tie in Tuscaloosa, AL. Challenge found to be from a suspect in coed murder investigation. Victims had been found tied in the same manner as suspect tied Michael on stage.
Four years later, Michael saved the lives of 1,400 people in Saskatoon, Sask., Canada. During a sold-out performance, he was notified there was a fire upstairs. Rather than risk panic, he decided to trick the crowd into leaving the theater in a calm, orderly manner.
He told the audience he wanted to do something different and that he'd do a big stunt outside. Michael got everyone out quickly, and the fire chief and chief of police commended him.
In 1993, The International Magic Awards Committee bestowed Michael Griffin the "Escape Artist of the Year" award - to date this award has not been given to another performer.
In 1997, as part of his world tour, Michael faced his most difficult challenge escape to date in Singapore. Michael took 17 agonizing minutes to escape a heavy specially reinforced packing crate.
After he had freed himself, the crowd mobbed the stage - the box was found to be untampered with leaving no clue as to his exit. Thereafter, Michael received a very real death threat; fortunately, the suspect was hurriedly detained.
In 1999, the World Magic Awards nominated Michael Griffin as "THE WORLD'S GREATEST LIVING ESCAPE PERFORMER." To date Michael is the only performer to receive this award twice.
The following year, he decided to offer a $100,000.00 reward in his shows. He'll give $100,000.00 to the group or individual that can restrain him in a rational way so that escape would be impossible. Many have stepped forward to accept the challenge but so far the money has remained in Michael's possession..
In 2002, Michael was the only escape artist granted permission to reenact Houdini's 1912 death-defying escape. He was bound, handcuffed and sealed inside Houdini’s 90 year-old original packing crate and lowered into the depths of Florida’s Intercoastal waters. He escaped in 45 seconds.
A year later, Michael was asked by the television show, "Ripley’s Believe It Or Not" to escape from a complicated rope challenge in the middle of Times Square.
Gregg Valentino, the man with the world’s largest arms, tied the knots with 200 feet of rope. Tightly bound neck to feet in a series of knots, Michael twisted his way out in seconds.
Michael Griffin has become one of the most talked about escape artists in recent years, not because of what he has done, but what he has not done.
What sets Michael apart is that he is constantly finding new ways to use those restraints to bring freshness and originality, as well as believability to the art of escapology.
For more information, visit
visit Griffin's official website.
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