Johnathan Edward Szeles, a stand up comedian and magician better known by his stage name, The Amazing Johnathan, has died. He was 63.
Szeles died late Tuesday in his Las Vegas home after a long battle with a severe heart condition, his wife Anastasia Synn first told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“The last thing I said to him was, ‘I love you, honey, I’ll be with you when you get up from your nap,’” Synn told the paper Tuesday night. “We were feeding him oranges and strawberries. He was so peaceful. He said, ‘Yay!’ He had the most pure and sweetest look on his face.”
Szeles was the self-described “Freddy Kreuger of Comedy,” a comedian who “deconstructed” magic acts with gory displays that involved him sucking on his own eyeball dangling from its socket, by cutting his wrists or inserting a knife through his tongue.
Though he began performing in the ’80s as a comic, had an appearance on a short lived show with Weird Al Yankovic and even appeared in the 2005 documentary “The Aristocrats,” his career took off after he appeared on stage with Criss Angel during one of his “Mindfreak” performances. Szeles would after that become a headliner throughout Vegas between 2001 and 2014, up until the point that he was told he would have a year to live due to a critical heart condition.
Szeles however defied his prognosis and recovered enough to stage a comeback tour in 2017. As a result, he became the subject of a documentary film that premiered in Sundance and aired on Hulu called “The Amazing Johnathan Documentary.” The film profiled Szeles but posed the question that his heart condition may not be real and just another extension of his act.
A separate documentary film was released in 2019 on YouTube called “Always Amazing: The True Story of the Life Death and Return of Amazing Johnathan.” It focused on his relationship with an Australian comedian, Joel Ozborn.
Szeles previously released a book on how to perform simple magic tricks and practical jokes called “Every Trick in the Book” and had been working on a memoir.