Harry Houdini was a famous magician, born on March 24, 1874 under the name Erik Weisz in Budapest. His family soon moved to the States where he lived a daring life, running away from his Wisconsin home at the age of 12, reuniting with his family the next year in New York City and then first performing under the name Eric the Great.
Houdini eventually performed at the Royal Palladium theater in St. Louis. After successfully performing the "Escape from the Watery Grave" in 1925, J. J. Thompson gave him half ownership of the theater. Houdini decided to give his half to Louisa Falcone, as Thompson had not paid her for doing the artwork inside the theater.