Ricky Jay (born Richard Potash in Brooklyn, New York, 1948) is an American actor and professional sleight-of-hand artist.
Jay is known for his signature card tricks, card throwing, feats of memory, and inimitable stage patter. At least two of his shows, "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants," and "On the Stem," were directed by David Mamet, who has cast Jay in a number of his films. He has also appeared films by other directors, notably Boogie Nights.
When not performing, he collects rare books and artifacts, has worked with libraries and museums on their collections, and is the author of several books such as "Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women" and a newsletter.
Up until recently Ricky Jay was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing a playing card 190 feet at 90 miles per hour (the current record is 216 feet, by Rick Smith, Jr.). He 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.
Mr. Jay created a consulting firm called "Deceptive Practices," which provides "Arcane Knowledge on a Need-To-Know Basis." Among his firm's clients are the stage, television and film industries.