Richard Turner's Final Performance: Looking Back on His Career

Expert magician and card mechanic Richard Turner announced his retirement from performing publicly after his send-off set at Magifest.

Magician Richard Turner glides his hand along a deck of cards spread out in front of him
Richard Turner

Magifest just concluded its 93rd convention in Columbus, Ohio and this year the weekend honored guest of honor Richard Turner. Turner has become a giant in the magic community by pushing the boundaries of card mechanics as we know them. 

This wasn’t just another performance for Turner however, it marked his last public performance of his 52 year career. Here’s a look back at what he has accomplished in these decades and what his mark on the magic community will look like.

It’s well documented how Turner was diagnosed with a retina degeneration disease at the age of nine that caused him to lose his vision completely. This wouldn’t deter him to not only become an expert at the card table, but also partake in shark hunting, cliff diving, and achieve a high rank in martial arts.

His performances are marked by his dextrous abilities with a deck of cards highlighted best by his straightforward gambling routines. His blindness has heightened his ability to feel each card and he has even consulted for top playing card companies to make sure their decks are of the finest quality.

His career has led him to act in The Tree of Life alongside Brad Pitt, cheating his character at the poker table. His appearance on Penn and Teller: Fool Us showcases the duo at what could potentially be their most stumped, as they don’t even deliberate together for a second to see if they can figure out Turner’s sleights.

At Magifest, he graced the same stage as marquee performers like Jason Suran, Harrison Greenbaum, and Ran D' Shine. A wide variety of magic’s biggest names were in attendance in Columbus as usual, notably with Dynamo making an appearance mingling with convention goers. Magifest boasts the intimacy of limiting the event to only 1000 attendees while hosting the biggest dealer room for any American convention.

Although Magifest hosted Richard’s last public performance, do not expect him to disappear completely. He is a prolific speaker who uses his storied past to motivate audiences across the globe. Even if he isn’t going to continue to speak in big venues, his message could be spread on different media outlets like podcasts and long form interviews. 

If you want to learn more about Richard Turner, you can watch the biographic documentary DEALT to see a detailed look into his rise to prominence in the magic community. The documentary was heralded as a hit while earning a 95% rating on the popular movie site Rotten Tomatoes. The documentary is free to view with ads on the streaming platform Tubi.

It’s only fitting that Richard Turner did his last public performance over 52 years after his career began. 52 cards were the tool he used to build a career that will make his name remembered for decades to come. If there’s anything to remember Richard Turner’s career by, it’s his ability to accomplish almost anything under seemingly insurmountable odds.