I've read atleast three different biographies about Houdini. Basically he was born in Europe but moved to the United States as a child. He grew up in Wisconsin. At a very young age, he got bitten by the showmanship bug. He studied magic and then escape tricks and then illusions. In his day and age he was a bonafide celebrity.
Of course, part of his legend was his sudden death at age 52. He often challenged men to hit him in his stomach; he could withstand these physical attacks by tensing his abdominal muscles. In late 1926, however, he was ill prepared for a young man's blow. He died of a ruptured appendix a few days later on October 31, 1926.
Anybody out there remember the Harry Houdini TV-movie that was made circa 1975 starring Paul Michael Glaser and Sally Struthers? I wasn't sure if I was remembering it correctly, but a quick Google search found that it really did exist. I never did see the Tony Curtis movie, "Houdini" from 1953. I have read that it was mostly fabricated...the fact that Curtis as Houdini dies while failing to escape from his famed Chinese Water Trick just makes it unwatchable for me.
Today would have been Houdini's 139th birthday. In honor, pick a card...any card....!