72 years ago - Giovanni "John" Zatara is born.
56 years ago - 16-year-old Zatara develops his love of stage magic, and begins studying it in earnest.
53 years ago - 19-year-old Zatara begins his stage show.
50 years ago - 22-year-old Zatara discovers the existence of Homo Magi, begins studying real magic.
48 years ago - 24-year-old Zatara finds the private journals of Leonardo Da Vinci, designs his new stage show.
46 years ago - 26-year-old Zatara uses real magic to save the audience from a fire during a show, and decides to use magic to help people.
42 years ago - 30-year-old Zatara meets Thomas Wayne.
36 years ago - 36-year-old Zatara begins traveling through Europe to discover the history of the Homo Magi and meets Sindella.
35 years ago - 37-year-old Zatara helps Jason Blood stop Morgaine Le Fay from breaching the Paths Beyond and freeing Mordred.
31 years ago - 41-year-old Zatara returns from Europe when Thomas Wayne is killed. He is prevented from reuniting with Sindella & Zatanna by a mysterious spell cast by Morgan Le Fey.
28 years ago - 44-year-old Zatara finally breeches the spell keeping him from Zatana, and begins teaching her his magical technique
20 years ago - 52-year-old Zatara trains Bruce Wayne under a pseudonym in stage magic & escape artistry.
15 years ago - 57-year-old Zatara joins the 4th Shadowpact. When Zatanna is almost immolated he intervenes and gives himself in her place.
Frankly, Zatara is a bit of a stock character. There were quite a few tuxedoed magician heroes running around during the golden age, even more if you include characters that wore turbans instead of top hats. If pressed, I'd guess that the very first was Mandrake the Magician (a character from a syndicated comic strip by the legendary Lee Falk before he created the Phantom), but there might be an earlier one.
In any case, the thing that makes Zatara stand out is the fact that he was part of the origin of his daughter Zatanna, who is arguably the highest profile magic user in the entire DC Universe.
He was also one of Bruce Wayne's many teachers, and I tried to play that up in his story a little bit by making him a friend of Thomas Wayne.