Comedian, illusionist, juggler and writer Penn Fraser Jillette was born March 5, 1955 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. When he was 18, he had the chance to watch a show by illusionist James Randi and was immediately fascinated with Randi's style. Jillette strongly believes in Randi's philosophy that magic is an entertainment and not a mysterious supernatural power.
In 1973, he and high school classmate Michael Moschen worked in juggling acts. After graduating from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, he met magician Raymond Joseph Teller through common friend Weir Chisimer. The three got along well and eventually formed Asparagus Valley Cultural Society, a three-person act. Later on, he and Teller formed the famous comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, where Jillette became the talkative half. In 2003, they produced and hosted the Emmy-nominated documentary TV series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The show's episodes focused on debunking supernatural beliefs, myths, popular fads and misconceptions.
Jillette is a Fellow at the Cato Institute H.L. Mencken Research. Aside from being a comedian and an illusionist, he's also a bass guitarist and a double bassist. He is also fond of composing songs.
In 2005, he was co-producer and co-director for the documentary film The Aristocrats. It focused on tracking down the source of a dirty joke with the same title. The documentary was a tribute for Johnny Carson because “The Aristocrats” was his favorite joke.
Penn Jillette soon became a celebrity contestant on season 6 of ABC's reality series Dancing with the Stars. He is paired with professional dancer Kym Johnson
. Unfortunately, he was the first to be sent home. He then released a book in 2011, titled " God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales." The next year, he was chosen to be a contestant in the reality competition Celebrity Apprentice.
(Photo courtesy of ABC)