Penn Jillette
American magician
Penn Jillette
Penn Fraser Jillette is an American illusionist, comedian, musician, and best-selling author known for his work with fellow magician Teller in the team Penn & Teller, and advocacy of atheism, scientific skepticism, libertarianism and free market capitalism.
Biography
Penn Jillette's personal information overview.
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Relationships
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News
News abour Penn Jillette from around the web
Penn Jillette: Why we burned the flag for freedom
CNN - 3 months
At the beginning of this century, Teller and I made a TV show in which we traveled around the world watching street magicians. These weren't conjurers who worked for tourists, but the magicians who performed for locals. We spent the nights in fairly nice hotels, but the days we spent on the streets in real Egypt, real China and real India.
Article Link:
CNN article
WATCH: Penn Jillette Talks Working With Donald Trump on 'Celebrity Apprentice'
ABC News - 7 months
The magician also discussed his recent weight loss on "The View."
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ABC News article
Why libertarian Penn Jillette likes Bernie Sanders
CNN - over 1 year
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CNN article
Penn Jillette on the 2016 field
CNN - over 1 year
Magician and entertainer Penn Jillette talks to Chris Moody about why he favors Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump.
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CNN article
Penn Jillette: What shocked me about campaign videos
CNN - almost 2 years
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CNN article
Penn Jillette: In Indiana, let them eat gay wedding cake
CNN - almost 2 years
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CNN article
Penn Jillette on Indiana debate: 'Just sell cake and flowers'
CNN - almost 2 years
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CNN article
The Pulpit and the Ballot Box
NYTimes - almost 2 years
Ted Cruz announced his presidential candidacy at the conservative Christian Liberty University, saying he and his family have "not a second of doubt" that "faith is real." Jeb Bush says a major influence on his policy decisions is his Catholicism, while John F. Kennedy had to assure voters that faith would not be too great an influence. Right-wing conspiracists have said President Obama is a Muslim. Why do voters care about a candidate's religion? Does it matter? Responses: Caring in All the Wrong Ways Randy Boyagoda, author, "Richard John Neuhaus" Insight Into a Candidate's Worldveiw Colleen Carroll Campbell, author "My Sisters the Saints" An 'American Religion' Transcends Sectarianism Yehudah Mirsky, Theologian and rabbi Religious Groups Encourage Religious Campaigns Anthea Butler, Professor o ...
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NYTimes article
Penn Jillette: Beatles' mistakes inspired
CNN - about 3 years
Penn Jillette: When I first heard the Beatles, I thought they walked into the studio with a genius idea and recorded it perfectly. Then I heard the bootlegs...
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CNN article
Penn Jillette: Beatles, bootlegs and Vermeer
CNN - about 3 years
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CNN article
Film follows artist's attempt to recreate works of Vermeer
Fox News - about 3 years
Penn Jillette on his documentary
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Fox News article
I Play One On TV (Saturday at 10PM ET on FNC)
Fox Business News - about 3 years
HOLLYWOOD HYPOCRITES: Kevin Sorbo, former star of the TV series Hercules, pushes back against celebrities who say they "know how to fix the world." Jason Mattera, author of Hollywood Hypocrites, confronts celebrities like "environmental activist" Harrison Ford (he owns seven airplanes) and Robert Redford (after his Bill Ayers movie). He chases them down with his camera and "ambushes" them because, he says, the liberal media won't confront them. CELEBRITY ECOCRITES (my word for Eco-hypocrites): James Hirsen, author of Hollywood Nation, says environmentalism is like a religion to celebrities, and their leader, Al Gore, is one of the biggest hypocrites of all. ANTI-CAPITALISTS: Special Correspondent Kennedy points out how celebrities contradict themselves by constantly attacking capitalism, even though the film industry benefits from it. ANTI-GUN ACTORS: Former screenwriter, Michael Medved, says that although many actors call for gun control, they sure don't control guns in their ow ...
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Fox Business News article
I Play One On TV (9PM ET on FBN)
Fox Business News - about 3 years
HOLLYWOOD HYPOCRITES: Kevin Sorbo, former star of the TV series Hercules, pushes back against celebrities who say they "know how to fix the world." Jason Mattera, author of Hollywood Hypocrites, confronts celebrities like "environmental activist" Harrison Ford (he owns seven airplanes) and Robert Redford (after his Bill Ayers movie). He chases them down with his camera and "ambushes" them because, he says, the liberal media won't confront them. CELEBRITY ECOCRITES (my word for Eco-hypocrites): James Hirsen, author of Hollywood Nation, says environmentalism is like a religion to celebrities, and their leader, Al Gore, is one of the biggest hypocrites of all. ANTI-CAPITALISTS: Special Correspondent Kennedy points out how celebrities contradict themselves by constantly attacking capitalism, even though the film industry benefits from it. ANTI-GUN ACTORS: Former screenwriter, Michael Medved, says that although many actors call for gun control, they sure don't control guns in their o ...
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Fox Business News article
Teller talks up his directorial projects 'Play Dead,' 'Tim's Vermeer'
LATimes - over 3 years
The Sunday Conversation: The silent half of Penn & Teller gets chatty about directing the spooky stage show 'Play Dead' and documentary 'Tim's Vermeer.' Teller, the usually silent half of the renegade magician duo, Penn & Teller, recently perched on a couch at the Geffen Playhouse, where he had a lot to say about two projects he has helmed as director — "Play Dead," magician Todd Robbins' one-man creep show, which runs through Dec. 22 at the Geffen's Skirball Theater, and "Tim's Vermeer," about inventor Tim Jenison's quest to unearth the Dutch painter's techniques and re-create his work in a Texas warehouse. The film was executive produced by Penn Jillette, who also appears in it, and opens Dec. 13.
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LATimes article
The Rise of Libertarians? (Sunday at 10PM ET on FNC)
Fox Business News - over 3 years
IS THIS AMERICA'S LIBERTARIAN ERA? For the first time, several libertarians are members of Congress, and more Americans say they want government "to do less." Reason editors Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie say America has entered into a "libertarian era," and libertarians will be taken seriously. I sure hope so. RON PAUL REVOLUTION: Former presidential candidate Ron Paul did more than most anyone to get Americans interested in liberty. He says libertarians might be the future of the GOP. CONSERVATIVE RESISTANCE: Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, says the libertarian surge is a "blip" and libertarians are nave when it comes to foreign policy. We'll debate. NEXT GENERATION: Students for Liberty Co-founder, Alexander McCobin, says the student libertarian movement is growing, and is already bigger than college Republicans and Democrats. Students for Liberty recently held conferences in Chile, Venezuela and Nigeria. Students Barbie Sostaita and Matthew La Corte say t ...
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Fox Business News article
Lawrence O'Donnell, Glenn Beck Might Play Cop Partners In Movie
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Lawrence O'Donnell and Glenn Beck might play cop partners together on the silver screen. Yes, that's right. Penn Jillette appeared on Tuesday's "Last Word," where he announced his upcoming horror movie "Director's Cut." He said that two of the actors had already been cast: O'Donnell and Glenn Beck. Jillette, who is crowdfunding the movie, explained online: "I have gotten a tentative okay from BOTH Glenn and Lawrence to be in 'Director’s Cut.' They have both agreed to appear AND ACT in 'Director’s Cut.' Yeah, you’ve seen them in movies before, but it’s always playing themselves or generic newscasters. In our movie (and we’re all making this together), they will be playing police officers discussing their 'good cop/bad cop' strategy. Lawrence and Glenn have never met before but they will meet in person on the set of 'Director’s Cut.'" Beck and O'Donnell appeared in a video together, from different locations, for the movie's fundraising campaign. As of Wednesday afternoon, $880 ...
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Huffington Post article
NYFF 2013: How Penn & Teller came to make a movie about Dutch painting
LATimes - over 3 years
NEW YORK -- When the popular magician and entertainer Penn Jillette walked into the offices of Hollywood executives several years ago to pitch a documentary about the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, he was met with skepticism. After all, Jillette and his partner Teller were known for their cheeky stage act and television work, such as “Penn & Teller: Bull—,” which aired for many years on Showtime. Surely this was a gag?
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LATimes article
Penn Jillette: It Warms My Shriveling Heart How Many People Support My Quest to be a Bad Guy
The Huffington Post - over 3 years
I want to be a bad guy in my next movie. I want to be a monster. I want to be the nightmare. That's my goal. It would be a sexier goal, I suppose, if I started out as a really good guy, but I've never been hero material. At 6'7" and north of 300 pounds, I don't look like a good guy. No one cheers for Goliath. I did a show called "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" where the closest we had to a catchphrase was "Then there's THIS asshole." That's not something a good guy says. But recently on a bunch of TV "reality" shows I've tried to be nice and polite. I'm a dad. I'm a husband. I should be nice and polite. But, who gives a flying fuck about nice and polite in movies? Nice is not exciting. Polite is for douches. I want to be an evil fuck in my next movie, and my next movie is "Director's Cut." I pitched "Director's Cut" around Hollywood and the suits seemed to like it. They had little tweaks and polishes and little dumbing down here and there and m ...
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The Huffington Post article
'12 Years A Slave,' 'Gravity,' 'Labor Day' & Three Other Movies From TIFF
Huffington Post - over 3 years
We are now on the third full day of the Toronto International Film Festival. And, yes, the "big guns" of the festival are starting to roll out. In this batch alone, I saw all three of my most anticipated movies of the festival: Gravity, Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave. Anyway, enough with the chit chat (though I do miss you, America), let's talk about these movies. 12 Years a Slave This is your early frontrunner for Best Picture and, yes, it's the real deal. Based on a true story, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a 19th century free man named Solomon Northup who is kidnapped and sold into slavery - eventually winding up on the plantation of a sadistic owner, played by Michael Fassbender. This film is absolutely brutal. It's legitimately hard to watch. It's the Saving Private Ryan of slavery movies, in that it goes "all in" on the horrors of its subject. Also: You're not hearing about her yet, but keep an eye out for Lupita Nyong'o, who is absolutely terrific. (Note: If you're see ...
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Huffington Post article
Penn Jillette: By the Book
NYTimes - over 3 years
The illusionist and author of “Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday!” and “God No!” says he ends up liking nearly everyone, but reading Joseph Campbell “made me crazy.”
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Penn Jillette
    FIFTIES
  • 2015
    Age 59
    By his birthday, March 5, 2015, he had lost.
    More Details Hide Details He follows Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Nutritarian diet, which means that he eats no animal products, no processed grains, and no added sugar or salt. Jillette is married to Emily Jillette, and they have two children, Zolten and Moxie CrimeFighter. Speculation arises from Jillette's red fingernail on his left hand. From the FAQ from Penn & Teller's official website, there are three common answers: In several posts on Twitter in direct response to questions about his red fingernail, Penn states "People are asking about my fingernail. Wear my Dad's ring and my Mom's nail polish. Just for remembrance and respect." The color he uses is Jelly Apple Red (#054) by Essie. On the podcast Skepticality in 2012, Jillette said that he was considering changing the meaning of the red nail polish, telling his daughter it is for her. During his appearance on the Chopped Tournament of Stars (2014), he effectively told the story of his mother suggesting he get a manicure for the reasons stated above, and said that he kept it in respect for her.
  • 2014
    Age 58
    In December 2014, Jillette's blood pressure landed him in the hospital.
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  • 2012
    Age 56
    He endorsed Gary Johnson for US President in 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Jillette is a collector and connoisseur of song poems.
    Also on February 19, 2012, along with Michael Goudeau, he started the podcast Penn's Sunday School.
    More Details Hide Details In 2013, he returned for the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice season, where he successfully made his way to the finale, raising a total of $663,655 for the charity of his choice, Opportunity Village. On April 5, 2013 Penn and Teller were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the live performance category. Their star, the 2,494th awarded, is near the star dedicated to Harry Houdini. The following day they were recognized by the Magic Castle with the "Magicians of the Year" award. In July 1999, Jillette was granted for the "Jill-Jet", a hot-tub jet specially angled for a woman's pleasure. He has credited Debbie Harry of Blondie for suggesting the idea, as the two of them were once in a hot tub and Harry made a remark about changing the jets for a woman's pleasure. Jillette liked the idea enough to pursue a patent application at the USPTO under the patent title "Hydro-therapeutic Stimulator".
    Jillette was one of the contestants on The Celebrity Apprentice season 5, beginning on February 19, 2012.
    More Details Hide Details He was fired from the show by Donald Trump during the Week 11 episode.
  • 2011
    Age 55
    On August 16, 2011 Jillette's book God, No!
    More Details Hide Details Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales was released and made the New York Times Best Sellers shortly after, in the week of August 28, in the 14th position. An avid upright bassist, Jillette frequently accompanies jazz pianist Mike Jones, who opens for the magician's Las Vegas show.
  • 2010
    Age 54
    During 2010-2011, Jillette did a bi-weekly show on Revision3 called Penn Point.
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  • 2008
    Age 52
    In 2008, Jillette was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, paired with professional dancer Kym Johnson.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first celebrity to be eliminated. A reference to his large feet as a sign of another large body part was bleeped in the West Coast airing.
  • 2006
    Age 50
    During the 2006–07 television season, Jillette hosted the prime-time game show Identity on NBC-TV.
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    From January 3, 2006 to March 2, 2007, Jillette hosted, along with fellow atheist, skeptic, and juggler Michael Goudeau, a live, hour-long radio talk show broadcast on Free FM.
    More Details Hide Details The show, Penn Radio, broadcast from his Vintage Nudes Studio in his Las Vegas home. The most notable recurring segment of the show was "Monkey Tuesday" and later "The Pull of the Weasel". On March 2, 2007, Jillette announced that he would no longer be doing his radio show. He stated that he is a "show biz wimp" and decided to stop doing the show so he could spend more time with his children.
  • FORTIES
  • 2005
    Age 49
    In 2005 with actor Paul Provenza, Jillette co-produced and co-directed The Aristocrats, a documentary film tracing the life of an obscene joke known as "The Aristocrats".
    More Details Hide Details It principally consists of a variety of comedians telling their own versions of the joke.
  • 2003
    Age 47
    Starting in 2003, Jillette, along with Teller, began producing and hosting the show Penn & Teller: Bullshit! on Showtime.
    More Details Hide Details In the show, the two analyze cultural phenomena, debunk myths, criticize people and aspects of society they deem "bullshit".
  • 1997
    Age 41
    For a brief time in 1997, Jillette wrote bi-weekly dispatches for the search engine Excite.com.
    More Details Hide Details Each column ended with a pithy comment identifying which of the Penn & Teller duo he was. (For example: "Penn Jillette is the half of Penn & Teller that's detained at airports.") Jillette made a habit of linking many words in his online column to wacky sites that generally had nothing to do with the actual words. The columns are no longer available on the current Excite.com site, but have been republished with permission at PennAndTeller.com.
  • 1996
    Age 40
    Starting in 1996, he had a recurring role on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Drell, the head of the Witches' Council.
    More Details Hide Details He and Teller both appeared in the pilot with Debbie Harry as the third member of the Council. The show was created by Jillette's friend Nell Scovell. Penn and Teller appear as comedians Rebo and Zooty in the 5th season episode of Babylon 5, "The Day of the Dead", written by Neil Gaiman.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1990
    Age 34
    Jillette was a contributor to the now-defunct PC/Computing magazine, having a regular back-section column between 1990 and 1994.
    More Details Hide Details He and the magazine parted ways over a dispute with a new editor. Jillette felt the new editor was trying to tell him how to write his column and what topics he should be covering. Jillette asserts that he is unsure if he was fired or if he actually quit. Jillette was the primary voice announcer for the U.S.-based cable network Comedy Central in the 1990s.
  • 1988
    Age 32
    While the off-Broadway hit was running, in 1988 Jillette was in a speed mariachi power trio called Bongos, Bass and Bob.
    More Details Hide Details He played bass; bongos were by Dean J. Seal; and guitar was by Rob "Bob" Elk (Running Elk). The latter two became the a capella comedy duo Mr. Elk and Mr. Seal after the band broke up due to Jillette's movie commitments. They recorded an album with Kramer at Noise New York called Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's Bongos Bass and Bob (What on Earth Were They Thinking?). It was released to almost no notice outside of a mention in Spin Magazine, but was immortalized with a claymation video of the single, "Oral Hygiene".
  • TWENTIES
  • 1981
    Age 25
    In 1981, he and Teller teamed up as Penn & Teller, and went on to do a successful Off Broadway and later Broadway theatre show called "Penn & Teller" that toured nationally.
    More Details Hide Details In 1994 Jillette purchased a house in Las Vegas Valley and dubbed it "The Slammer". It has been featured in dozens of television shows and articles and was designed by his friend Colin Summers. He currently records music there, and previously conducted his radio show at the studio inside "The Slammer".
  • TEENAGE
  • 1974
    Age 18
    In 1974, Jillette graduated from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he was introduced to Teller by Weir Chrisemer, a mutual friend. The three then formed a three-person act called Asparagus Valley Cultural Society which played in Amherst and San Francisco.
  • 1973
    Age 17
    Jillette worked with high school classmate Michael Moschen in developing and performing a juggling act during the years immediately following their 1973 graduation.
    More Details Hide Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1955
    Born
    Born in 1955.
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