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Magician Drummond Money-Coutts specializes in death

Death-defying British magician Drummond Money-Coutts performs stunts that have killed others in “Death By Magic.”

The eight-episode Netflix series follows Money-Coutts (who calls himself DMC for brevity purposes), 32, as he travels to various cities to learn about stunts that went fatally wrong for other magicians.At the end of each episode, he performs his own interpretation of the deadly stunt.

“When I met with [the producers] in Los Angeles, I said, ‘I want to make a magic show that nourishes people beyond just, ‘Here is something impossible,’ ” he says. “Storytelling, for me, has always been a wonderful way of doing that. And so we struck upon the idea of celebrating the people and spirit behind what are some of the most tragic stories within magic. Obviously there’s a great sadness to the research, but I really do see it like we can allow these people to live on through the stories we tell about what they achieved.”

Most of these stunts involve Houdini-style escape acts. For instance, the show’s London episode sees DMC learning about The Amazing Joe, a magician who died when a stunt involving being buried alive went wrong in 1990. The Edinburgh episode sees DMC give his own interpretation to a fire stunt that resulted in magician The Great Lafayette burning to death in 1911.

Of course, a Netflix show can’t risk its talent dying. To ensure DMC’s survival, paramedics were on set.

“We used the paramedics three times across the eight stunts, for minor burns and smoke inhalation,” he says. “I cut my hand pretty badly in Miami. There’s no way around the very real danger of being set on fire, or leaping from a cage above burning spikes. For me personally, this was a huge lesson in that quote about courage not being the absence of fear, but acting in spite of it.

“There was no question that I felt fear.”

DMC is an unlikely candidate to be a daredevil magician. Born as a blue-blooded aristocrat to a father with a title (Crispin Money-Coutts, the 9th Baron Latymer), his family founded Coutts, the seventh-oldest bank in the world. For generations, his family has worked in finance — a far cry from magic.

“I would imagine for most families, if any child says ‘I want to be a magician …’ it’ such a ludicrous concept that one could ever make a life from it,” he says. “I think there was a natural parental anxiety, but it changed when they saw how dedicated I was to the business elements.”

But leaving his family’s line of work didn’t mean leaving the company of aristocrats. DMC also performed magic for the Queen, in 2004.

“It was an incredible moment many years ago,” he says. “I was invited to a private musical concert for Her Majesty, and in-between the music [I did] the magic. I actually chose what was probably highly unsuitable for a monarch — a card cheating trick.”

Regardless of whether he’s performed for royalty or strangers on the street, DMC says he sees magic as an equalizer.

“I’ve always thought that magic is one of those universal languages where it doesn’t matter where you’re from, where your background is, what your age is. It evokes that childlike wonder. Background and wealth and prestige and influence — all those things fall apart when faced with magic.”

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