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 incredible limits. One of his most recent television specials, "World's Most Dangerous Magic II" on N.B.C., Gunnarson faced his greatest fear as he escaped suspended upside down over a swamp of 130 hungry alligators in the Florida everglades covered in chicken meat and blood.
Dean has travelled from the Great Wall of China to the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, the Glaziers of Iceland & the Amazon rain forest of South America, Niagara Falls, Hoover Dam to the bright lights of Las Vegas & from Hollywood to Nashville to Broadway. Dean has performed from one end of this Earth to the other! He has travelled around the world entertaining people with his unique style of escaping, while always putting wonder or laughter on people’s faces.
When Dean Gunnarson was honoured 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 sold-out shows in 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". Here he was invited to compete as one of 54 international variety acts from Russia, Europe, The United States and Asia. His exploits have gained international media attention, including the front page of the Bangkok newspaper for an escape suspended from a burning rope in downtown Bangkok, Thailand. In India over 65,000 people came just to witness one of his amazing escapes. In Egypt, the Cairo stadium was filled with 100,000 cheering people watching Dean Gunnarson escape!
Dean first captured the attention of an International audience on Halloween Night, 1987 when he performed one of the most daring escapes of all time -- "Houdini's Milk Can Escape" -- like a last-minute replacement for James "The Amazing" Randi. Randi was scheduled to enact the escape for the live television special "The Search For Houdini." Just hours before the show, Randi was injured and asked Dean, who had never 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.
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. Chained and handcuffed to the inside of a shark cage, Dean was lowered into the water surrounding Disneyland's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. For two minutes and thirteen seconds, the audience held its breath expectantly until Dean broke the surface of the water. The escape impressed the show's host, George Burns, that he exclaimed, "Now there is a new Houdini, and his name is Dean Gunnarson!"
One of Dean's most adventurous 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 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. He was handcuffed and chained into a 1970 Cadillac -- his neck chained to the steering wheel, his legs to the brake pedal, and his arms to the doors. Viewers from more than 40 countries around the world watched Dean wrestle free from the web of chains, locks, and cuffs as the car plunged into the powerful, bone-shattering jaws of a car crusher.
Some of Dean's other television appearances include The Nashville Network's popular "Statler Brothers Show," the Disney Channel and Family Channel, where he is a favourite family entertainer. He also has appeared on many shows on the Discovery, TLC, Travel, and even the Food Channels. One of Dean's career highlights was opening for Aerosmith at their CD Release Party of "Nine Lives" in New York City.
Many of Dean's greatest escapes have been performed for charitable organizations including The Cancer Foundation, The Rainbow Society, 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, has also honoured Dean's significant contribution to magic by appointing him International Ambassador. He was the first Canadian and the youngest person ever to receive either award.
Dean also broke new ground as the first performer in the magic field to be honoured with his own set of Collector Cards chronicling his most daring escapes and a comic book.
Dean'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. He is determined to meet and beat every challenge that comes his way to achieve his destiny of becoming The Greatest Escape Artist Of All Time!