Geller was born on 20 December 1946 in Tel Aviv, which was then part of British-administered Mandatory Palestine.
At the age of 11, Geller’s family moved to Cyprus, where he attended high school and learned English. At the age of 18, he joined the Israeli Army’s Paratroopers Brigade and served in the 1967 Six-Day War where he was wounded in action.
He worked as a photographic model in 1968 and 1969 and during that time began to perform for small audiences as a nightclub entertainer, becoming well known in Israel.
Geller became famous demonstrating what he claimed to be his powers of psychokinesis, dowsing, and telepathy. His performance included spoon bending, describing hidden drawings, and making watches stop or run faster.
In 1973, chaos followed Uri Geller’s appearance at the BBC (the first time he had appeared live on a TV show) when hundreds of people phoned in to say that watches had been ‘mended’ and cutlery twisted out of shape during his demonstration on The Dimbleby Talk-in.
During the show, Uri correctly identified the drawing of a boat in a sealed envelope, started a broken watch and snapped a steel fork simply by stroking it.
Geller’s actual methods were eventually revealed (largely due to the work of magician and investigator James Randi) to be largely stage magic tricks.