Many Hollywood denizens count themselves among his fans and were quick to pay tribute to him on social media.
“Rest In Peace, Ricky Jay,” wrote “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “You were an unsurpassed artist and an exceptionally kind soul. I will miss you, xo, your pal, Louis.”
Rest In Peace, Ricky Jay. You were an unsurpassed artist and an exceptionally kind soul. I will miss you, xo, your pal, Louis.
— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) November 25, 2018
Neil Patrick Harris lauded Jay’s skill: “The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable. Such sad news, such a profound loss.”
Master magician and historian Ricky Jay has passed away. The breadth of his knowledge and appreciation for magic and the allied arts was truly remarkable. Such sad news, such a profound loss. #RIP https://t.co/VRYRxhkQKr
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) November 25, 2018
“Twin Peaks” co-creator Mark Frost, who described Jay as his friend and neighbor for 30 years, wrote that “a irreplaceable world of arcane history, theatrical passion, and his particular, singular performing genius passes with him.”
Just learned we lost Ricky Jay today, my friend and neighbor for 30 years. A irreplaceable world of arcane history, theatrical passion, and his particular, singular performing genius passes with him. RIP buddy. #rickyjay
— Mark Frost (@mfrost11) November 25, 2018
Michael McKean called him “one of a kind.”
Awful news about Ricky Jay. One of a kind and now there's none. RIP, Ricky. #irreplaceable
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) November 25, 2018
“Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna tweeted that “the world has truly lost a little of its magic today.”
R.I.P. my dear friend Ricky Jay. The world has truly lost a little of its magic today.
— Joe Mantegna (@JoeMantegna) November 25, 2018
Author Neil Gaiman recounted seeing Jay for the first time: “It was a remarkable night, as fascinating for the stories told as for the magic.”
The first time I saw Ricky Jay, @wossy took me to see him doing his 52 Friends show on the stage at the Old Vic. It was a remarkable night, as fascinating for the stories told as for the magic. #RIPRickyJay
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 25, 2018
Filmmaker Errol Morris simply wrote, “Oh no. My friend Ricky Jay is gone.”
Oh no. My friend Ricky Jay is gone.
— errolmorris (@errolmorris) November 25, 2018
Several recounted working with Jay in film or TV.
“The X-Files” executive producer Frank Spotnitz explained that the show creators “wrote ‘The Amazing Maleeni’ expressly for him, fans eager to share his sleight of hand with @TheXFiles audience.”
Ricky Jay was truly peerless, both in his knowledge of his craft and his execution of it. We wrote "The Amazing Maleeni" expressly for him, fans eager to share his sleight of hand with @TheXFiles audience. He was the definition of the word “master." pic.twitter.com/0yOnOp4RTV
— Frank Spotnitz (@FrankSpotnitz) November 25, 2018
Jim Beaver remembered working with Jay on Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” and HBO’s “Deadwood.” “I got to see his amazing prestidigital talents at close hand as his character Eddie…”
I worked with Ricky Jay twice, in the movie MAGNOLIA and in the series DEADWOOD, in which I got to see his amazing prestidigital talents at close hand as his character Eddie… https://t.co/WTPmQYIHbW
— Jim Beaver (@jumblejim) November 25, 2018
“Mission Impossible” director Christopher McQuarrie expressed appreciation for Jay’s input as a consultant on “Rogue Nation”: “An off-handed comment he made inspired the climax of the opera sequence. Its safe to say it would not be the same scene without him.”
See more reactions below.
— Al Jean (@AlJean) November 25, 2018
So gutted to hear about the passing of Ricky Jay. One of the kindest humans I've met. Had a glorious smile and laugh. Could listen to his stories for hours. He lived and breathed history. He was beyond special yet never showed it. Truly one of a kind. #rip
— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) November 25, 2018
I watch Ricky Jay videos when I’m fighting a panic attack and/or can’t fall asleep at night. Seeing the natural confidence that can only come from a complete understanding of an art form and its history immediately puts me at ease. He was a giant. https://t.co/JRvTLGemvJ
— Griffin Newman (@GriffLightning) November 25, 2018
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) November 25, 2018
Ricky Jay was a hero of mine. And when I met him, got to know him, work with him twice, his kindness, professionalism, sense of humor, brilliance, made him even more of a hero. He was one of the greatest entertainers of our lifetime. And a true genius. #RipRickyJay https://t.co/U3R5uprXG5
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) November 25, 2018
Injured my rotator cuff trying to throw cards like Ricky Jay. An astonishing performer. A writer of uncommon wit and erudition. pic.twitter.com/u4kyWkKlXI
— Michael Green (@andmichaelgreen) November 25, 2018
Sorry to hear of Ricky Jay's death. He had the chops alright. Saw him and his "52 Assistants" (in an air conditioned tent to keep his fingertips dry) and was blown away. Impossible feats. His book "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" a masterpiece.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) November 25, 2018