Richard Jay "Ricky" Potash (born 1948), better known by the stage name Ricky Jay, is an American stage magician, actor, and writer. He is a sleight-of-hand expert and is notable for his card tricks, card throwing, memory feats, and stage patter.
Jay was born in Brooklyn, New York to a middle class Jewish family. His grandfather, Max Katz, was a well-to-do certified public accountant and amateur magician who introduced Jay to the profession.
At least two of his shows, Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants and On the Stem, were directed by David Mamet, who has also cast Jay in a number of his films. Jay has appeared in productions by other directors, notably Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights and Magnolia, as well as The Prestige and season one of HBO's Deadwood as card sharp Eddie Sawyer.
Until recently, Jay was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card 190 ft at 90 miles per hour (the current record is 216 ft, by Rick Smith, Jr.). Ricky Jay can throw a playing card into a watermelon rind (which he refers to as the "thick, pachydermatous outer melon layer" of "the most prodigious of household fruits") from ten paces.
Jay created a consulting firm, Deceptive