Jonathan Pendragon (b. 1953)
Claude Douglas Yarbrough
Place of Birth
Jonathan Pendgragon possesses the ability of masterful conjuring, escapism and illusionary skills. For many years, Jonathan and Charlotte Pendragon called their work "physical grand illusion."
Jonathan used his athletic skills in a career as a Hollywood stuntman, performing the back hand springs for John Belushi down the church aisle in The Blues Brothers. He became Belushi's stunt double and friend, coordinating stunts and second directing in the movie Continental Divide.
Jonathan Pendragon was born Claude Douglas Yarbrough in 1953. He grew up with an affinity for athleticism; he was a gymnast, spring board diver, martial arts expert and fencer.
He also had a love for magic. He began his career performing escapes, mentallism and close-up card tricks.
He met his future magic counterpart, Charlotte Ann Brown (later to be known as Charlotte Pendragon ) at the University of California, Irvine. Jonathan was studying theatre and Charlotte was studying dance under choreographers Eugene Loring and George Balanchine.
They married soon after, and forged a husband and wife magic team, called The Pendragons.
Jonathan and Charlotte's athletic skills allowed the pair to develop a distinctive and graceful take on classic illusions such as levitation. Their shows included a number of illusions with which they became particularly associated, including Interlude, in which a woman crawls through a man's chest.
They were the first artists to perform this trick. They are noted for their version of Metamorphosis. This illusion won them a place in the 50th edition of The Guinness Book of Records, under the heading of the "Fastest Transformation Illusion."
Another illusion was Clearly Impossible, a sawing in half trick designed by Jonathan. Its distinctive feature is a transparent box that allowed the audience to see Charlotte from head to toe throughout the trick.
In 1996, for the finale of the third of NBC's World's Greatest Magic television specials, the duo made 25 show girls vanish and then re-appear in front of a live audience at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jonathan recently premiered his one-man show Metaphysics, an amalgam of mentalism and magic, at the Peller Theater in the Magic Castle, as well as theaters in Daytona and Orlando, Florida.
The Pendragons appeared on television in more than 50 countries and starred in 14 prime time specials on US networks, including their own Night of Magic show for Disney, several World's Greatest Magic shows for NBC, and Champions of Magic for ABC.
They were also frequently guests on programmes such as the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Paul Daniels Magic Show.
The Pendragons performed at presidential galas for US presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, including a performance for President Clinton at the Ford's Theater for an ABC TV Special. They were singled out for praise by President George W Bush at the end of a gala for him in June 2005.
In Britain they appeared at the Royal Variety Performance. They also appeared in a televised Royal gala show in Monaco, which included a collaboration with Princess Stéphanie.
Jonathan Pendragon was involved at a production and direction level in many of the shows in which The Pendragons appeared and was jointly responsible with conductor Erich Kunzel for creating their innovative show with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
Alongside director Norman Jewison, Jonathan co-directed a segment for the movie Bogus starring Whoopi Goldberg. He created and directed a levitation similar to the Pendragons' Midsummer's Night Dream levitation performed for Disney in Europe.
Jonathan Pendragon was honored by the Lab School in Washington DC. Every year the school honors five distinguished individuals who have overcome a learning disability while growing up and gone on to accomplish great achievements in their fields. Other honorees include Cher and Tom Cruise.
During a fall at his home in late September 2006, one of the arrows from Jonathan's archery collection pierced his liver, his stomach, and his heart. It happened while rehearsing a dangerous trick for his upcoming show involving a compound bow and arrow.
He fell on the non-sharp broken end of the arrow while trying to hang a light fixture. The arrow pierced through his stomach, liver, an artery and several inches in his heart.
It is through speed of hospitalization, modern surgical techniques and Jonathan's will to live that he continues with us today.
On July 8, 2009 Jonathan was arrested at gunpoint for allegedly firing a bullet into the floor of his home during a dispute with his wife, Charlotte. He was later charged with assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, terrorist threats and firing a weapon in an inhabited dwelling.
On 9 March 2010, Jonathan Pendragon, pleaded no contest to two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon as part of a plea bargain in which other charges were dropped.
Jonathan Pendragon continues to perform around the world.
Information: Courtesy of Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of magic and Magicians.
Photos: Courtest of Coralie Caboche
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