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.
In preparation for Canada Day, Mike Donovan, a maintenance employee with the Ramada Hotel on the corner of Pippy Place and Kenmount Road in St. John’s, installed Canadian flags on the light poles around the main lawn of the hotel on Thursday.
Chosen through a poetry and essay contest, about 35 local youth embarked on a week-long journey late Wednesday night, leaving from St. John’s International Airport on a flight to London, England, bound for Beaumont-Hamel, France, on the 101th anniversary of the tragic advance of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on July 1, 1916, in the First World War.
Charles Garland’s gravesite lies in a row of graves at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in St. John’s, not far from the Field of Honour section of the cemetery where the bodies of many of this province’s heroes of the various wars and conflicts lie.
Grand Bank resident Ralph Douglas said it was a nice surprise recently to learn that Canadian soldiers and provincial Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers training on Brunette Island had cleaned up the grave marker of his uncle, Aaron Keeping Douglas.