Farewell to James Randi, also known as a magician and escape artist, The Amazing Randi. I successfully nominated him to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (and be the commencement speaker) at my university in 1995. He came back to campus that fall, when we spent much of a delightful week together at public and private events that he and I arranged. He had an incisive mind, could see and call out nonsense, wrote many books full of humor and intellect, and lived the life of a renowned stage magician as well as scholar and MacArthur Foundation Fellow (the so-called "Genius Award").
A short, slender man, but one of gigantic professional stature, James influenced countless fellow magicians and academically-oriented skeptics; testified before Congress; appeared many times on "The Tonight Show" and other TV programs (including his own NOVA special on PBS); consulted and performed globally; established the James Randi Educational Foundation; and made fans and friends everywhere he went. Many will remember him as a "debunker" of those who make false claims of psychic, occult, supernatural, and paranormal abilities; he disliked the term, but that's what he did. People he outed as fakers include "spoon bender" Uri Geller, who (last I heard) sells crystals imbued with his "power" (whatever that is), and Peter Popoff, who now touts "miracle spring water" (basically, tap water in a ketchup packet).
There is no actual magic in the world except what we as people can achieve alone or together in real life. In that realm, he was a miracle--and a happy, funny, charming one at that.