Inside magician Dynamo’s life – from convict dad to health battle
Magician Dynamo shares update on battle with Crohn's disease
He’s famous for walking across the River Thames and levitating above The Shard, but magician Dynamo has been making “the impossible possible” since he was a child.
Dynamo, whose real name is Steven Frayne, got into magic with the assistance of his beloved great-grandfather, who he affectionately called “grandpa”.
Express.co.uk takes a closer look into the life of the famous magician and the trials and tribulations he faced on his journey – from playground bullies to health woes – to becoming a well-known name in the world of magic.
The Bradford-born illusionist will be among the guests at this weekend’s coronation for King Charles III.
He will be attending the historic event held at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, May 6.
Born Steven Frayne, Dynamo was raised on council estates in Bradford, West Yorks, by his single mum Nicky Goodwin, who was just 16 when she had him.
Dynamo was the eldest of four children and had little to no contact with his father, who was also in and out of prison.
The TV magician spoke about their fraught relationship following his dad’s death in 2015.
He explained how his convicted dad turned up at one of his gigs and it was an awkward encounter.
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He told the Daily Star: “I only met him once when I was younger. He left when I was four but I didn’t know him then and he was in and out of jail throughout my life.”
Dynamo explained they didn’t have much contact after his mum remarried.
The 40-year-old, who rose to fame in 2011 with his mind-bending series Magician Impossible, said his dad reached out again once he had hit the big time.
He says: “He got in touch by turning up to a gig. It was really awkward.
“It wasn’t the best meeting. I went to visit him at his home and he tried to introduce all his current family and say, ‘These are all your brothers and sisters’.”
Dynamo added his dad “only came out of the woodwork” when became famous but added he was grateful to have met his dad, however, decided against attending his funeral, although he was admittedly out of the country at the time.
The magician’s great-grandfather, Kenneth Walsh, became the main role model in his life and showed him magic tricks he had learned while in the Navy during the Second World War.
Dynamo shared that getting in magic was a way of dealing with playground bullies who picked on him for being smaller than the other kids at school and believed other children saw him as “geeky” and “a bit of a loner”.
His playground levitation trick was enough to “freak out” the bullies, who left him alone for the rest of school.
Reflecting on his childhood, Dynamo told Huffington Post: “I was like ‘I want to prove you wrong’. I took that negativity and turned it into fire and just wanted to show people.
“I try and achieve the impossible for a living.”
During his time at school, Dynamo realised something may be wrong with his health when he didn’t experience the same growth spurt as his friends aged 13.
After experiencing severe stomach pain he was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 15 – a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
At 17, the star had his stomach removed.
Several years ago Dynamo experienced a severe case of food poisoning that caused arthritis and was warned at the time he might never use his hands again.
He was treated in hospital for two months with the condition, but eventually managed to regain use of his hands. But even while he wasn’t able to use them, he was busy improving old skills and learning new ones.
“I was like, I’m Dynamo, I’ve got to figure out a way to do it,” he said on The Travel Diaries podcast in 2020.
“I do the impossible. I’m not going to go out like this.”
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