Max Maven, out of character, performing an ESP card trick, 2007
December 21, 1950
Ithaca, New York
Max Maven (born Philip Goldstein 21 December 1950 in Ithaca, New York) is an American magician and mentalist. He often appears on television magic shows to perform "interactive" mind reading tricks that work for the television audience.
While his public persona and performances fall squarely within the genre of mentalism, Maven's contributions to the magic community span far wider. He is respected within the industry for being a prolific author and innovating many of the magical and mentalist effects that are used by other magicians. He has been a magic consultant for such performers as David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Siegfried & Roy, and Doug Henning, and he is a frequent contributor to industry journals such as Genii, The Linking Ring, and M-U-M. He has also been the featured magician at the annual conventions of both the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
He hosted a 12-part series for HTV (Harlech Television) in Britain, "Something Strange with Max Maven", a talk-show exploring all aspects of the paranormal. The show set a ratings record, and led to a second series the following year. He also starred as the title role in FOX's 1992 Halloween special Count DeClues' Mystery Castle. It was shot at The Magic Castle.
Maven occasionally plays a magician character (often as himself) on various television series, such as, "Magic", "The Art of Magic", "Something Strange with Max Maven", "Fresh Prince of Bel Air", and "The MAXimum Dimension".
His father, Jack Goldstein, was a professor of Astrophysics and dean of faculty at Brandeis University. The finance blogger Emma Needleman is his cousin.
Maven also appears as a part of the traveling science exhibit "Magic: The Science of Illusion" in the "Magic of the Mind Illusion," which has toured in science museums such as Los Angeles and Boston. His name has been changed legally to Max Maven but he still uses "Phil Goldstein" as a pen name for technical writings.
In 2007, he won The Magic Woods Award for Best Teaching Video for his mentalism DVD "Nothing". He has appeared on the cover of numerous magic-related journals and periodicals.
Maven is well respected amongst magicians for his breadth of knowledge of magic history and the origins various tricks and methods. He has stated in interviews that he believes it is vital to preserve the history of the art and provide credit to the originators of ideas.
- The Magic Woods Award for Best Teaching Video, 2007
- MINDvention Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015
- Max Maven's Book of Fortunetelling, 1992, Prentice Hall General. ISBN 0-13-564121-7
- Max Maven's Mindgames (video)
- VideoMind - Phases 1-3: Mentalism (3 volume DVD)
- "Obituaries (Mike Caldwell)". Genii. William W. Larsen Corporation. 58 (10): 858. September 1995.
- "MAXimum Dimension". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- "Magic Cafe". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- "Magic:The Science of Illusion". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- "Cover page (Special Max Maven issue)". Genii. 45 (3): 1. March 1981.