Teller born February 14, 1948, is an American magician, illusionist, comedian, writer, and the frequently silent half of the comedy magic duo better-known as Penn & Teller, along w/ Penn Jillette. He is better-known for his advocacy of atheism, libertarianism, free-market economics, & scientific skepticism. He legally switched his name from Raymond Joseph Teller to just “Teller.” He is an atheist, debunker, skeptic, and Fellow of the Cato Institute. The Cato Institute association is featured prominently in the Penn and Teller Showtime TV series “Bullshit!”. His parents were of Russian Jewish & Cuban descent. Teller only acquired of his Jewish ancestry when he was 50 years old. He attended to Central High School and Amherst College and taught English and Latin at Lawrence High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He was selected to be a member of the Central High School Hall of Fame in 2001.
Teller’s trademark silence started during his youth, when he earned a living doing magic at college fraternity parties. He found that if he maintained silence throughout his act, spectators abstained from throwing beer & heckling him & focused more on his performance. Other exceptions to his silent act include cases in which his face is covered or obscured, as when he spoke while covered with a plastic sheet in the series premiere of Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, and when he was interviewed while in shadow for the 2010 History Channel documentary, Houdini: Unlocking the Mystery. Teller appears to have said “Science” in a high-pitched voice in Penn and Teller’s appearance on the television show Bill Nye the Science Guy, namely the episode “Light Optics,” but he rather mouthed the word while Penn used a ventriloquist technique to make it go as if Teller had spoken whilst maintaining his mouth from moving. Teller also spoke in his 1987 appearance on NBC’s Miami Vice (a fourth season episode titled, “Like a Hurricane”), and had a speaking part in the movie “The Aristocrats”. Teller began doing with friend Weir Chrisemer as The Ottmar Scheckt Society for the Preservation of Weird and Disgusting Music. Teller met Penn Jillette in 1974, when they joined a three-person act called Asparagus Valley Cultural Society, which played in San Francisco. In 1981, they began doing exclusively together as “Penn & Teller”, an act that continues to this day.
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