Celebrity magician Penn Jillette learns grandfather is from Carbonear

Published on February 24, 2016
American magician and comedian Penn Jillette poses for a photo with Newfoundland actor and comedian Shaun Majumder.
Twitter photo

A famous American magician and comedian already aware of his family’s Newfoundland roots learned this week his grandfather came from the Conception Bay North area.

Penn Jillette — one half of the comedic magic duo Penn and Teller known for its edgy brand of entertainment — has visited Newfoundland and Labrador in the past.

On Tuesday, Newfoundland actor and comedian Shaun Majumder posted a photo of himself with Jillette taken after Majumder watched him perform in Las Vegas, remarking it was “(just) a coupla Newfoundlanders hanging out.”

A reply post from CBC reporter David Cochrane asking about Jillette’s Newfoundland and Labrador connection attracted a response from the magician, who said he wasn’t really sure where exactly his grandfather came from.

“Don't really know,” he said. “Lost in the fog of time. We went up there and could find no records.”

A further question from Twitter user @RobandDenise asking about the last name enticed Jillette to offer more clues. He said the last name was Jillette and had been changed from Gillette.

“(I)f ‘Samuel Edgar,’ he was b.1872 in Carbonear,” responded @RobandDenise. “Gillett's not a common name there now. All moved.”

Jillette confirmed that was the right one.

“(W)ow. That's him. I never knew him.”

Samuel Edgar Jillette eventually moved to Massachusetts, the state where the magician’s father, Samuel Herbert Jillette, was born in 1910. Penn Jillette was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts in 1955.