RIP Brian Gillis

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Dustin Stinett
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RIP Brian Gillis

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 2nd, 2018, 10:36 pm

Castle regular Brian Gillis died today due to complications after a heart attack. Brian was a true "worker," making his living performing close-up magic and mentalism. He was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson several times, was one of the subjects of the documentary, Magicians: Life in the Impossible, and consulted on many other film and TV magic projects. The Genii Forum sends its condolences to his family and many friends.

Mr. Charming
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby Mr. Charming » July 2nd, 2018, 11:20 pm

So sad to hear the news. He was one of my favorite magicians.

jason156
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby jason156 » July 3rd, 2018, 12:37 am

I still remember him performing on the Tonight Show all those years ago, and I remember the knowing feeling I had when I realized he was doing the Han Ping Chien move ..... Rest In Peace Mr. Gillis

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 3rd, 2018, 12:52 am

He was on the Carson show at least three times. But more than that, when he would go to the studio for the taping, he got to session with Carson in his office. I think maybe only Dean Dill could also say that.

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Dustin Stinett
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 3rd, 2018, 1:11 am

Eric Mead shared this marvelous story about Brian on his Facebook page. He has kindly allowed us to share it here as well (thanks Eric!):

Let me tell one quick Gillis story--a group of magicians had finished a gig together in Palm Desert and went to dinner together. A group from another table overheard our boisterous conversation and asked if we'd do some magic. The great Karrell Fox was with us, and he offered to do something. Brian insisted that he be allowed to do a couple tricks first--and I witnessed one of the most amazing and generous things I've ever seen.

In the course of his short performance Brian stole the wrist watches off of a man and a woman. He finished his set without returning them, then passed them off to Karrell secretly. Karrell went over, performed the classic Benson Bowl routine, but at the end he made the wrist watches appear under the bowl. It was an unforgettable miracle for those people, made possible by Gillis' doing the hard work, then giving the credit and the "moment" to Karrell Fox. It was a beautiful thing to see.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby MagicbyAlfred » July 3rd, 2018, 9:01 am

I am saddened by this. Sincere sympathies to his family.

I met him back at Malone's Magic Bar around 1996. He was there with a group at a table, and I had no idea who he was - had actually never heard of him. When I had finished my set, one of the other magicians told me, "Hey, you just performed for Brian Gillis." That's when I learned of his reputation, and that he'd been on Carson and at the Castle etc. He never let on that he was a magician - just laughed and enjoyed himself, reacting like a layman out for the evening to enjoy some magic - although I'm sure nothing I did fooled him. I did do card on the ceiling because it was the trademark trick of the bar that we did at every table, but it was one of the other spectators who had signed the card. Oh well, would'a been nice to be able to say...

I'd like to think Brian is sessioning with Eugene and Daryl as we speak.

Bill Mullins
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby Bill Mullins » July 3rd, 2018, 10:36 am


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erdnasephile
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Re: RIP Brian Gillis

Postby erdnasephile » July 3rd, 2018, 10:51 am

I remember watching Mr. Gillis live on The Tonight Show during one of his many performances. I still have it on tape--what a great set he did. Nothing terribly novel in terms of plot or methodology, but you knew you were watching a confident pro, the product of thousands of performances. Classic magic, done superbly (rather refreshing in this day and age of overhyped, non-practical single trick downloads).

He didn't seem to hang out on the convention circuit much so I regret never meeting or interacting with him. However, I seem to recall he did a Penguin Live lecture, which I'll have to check out at some point.


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