Page 11                                                 Summer 1993

In Memoriam


Billy Gillen

Brooklyn juggler Billy Gillen died February 25 of cancer at age 34. Gillen entertained in the New York City area and helped coordinate activities of the New York Jugglers at the Carmine Street Gym.


He began joggling several years ago and took it to its limits, earning himself records in the Guinness book for the five ball mile (7:41.01 in 1989) and the five ball 5-kilometers (28:11, 1989). He also joggled five balls for the entire New York Marathon in 1988, finishing the 26-mile course in slightly more than seven hours, and joggled three balls up the 107 floors of stairs in the World Trade Center in 18-1/2 minutes in 1989. He competed in joggling races at the IJA festival for at least four years, and won the five kilometer race in 1987 (19:52).


Friends remember his energy and enthusiasm. Robaire Straus said, "He was a little outrageous and crazy in some aspects, like juggling fire balls, his three ball strip tease, and solving the Rubix cube while juggling. But it was just his way of pushing for his personal best. He had so much love to give to people that he made a difference in their lives."


One of Gillen's performing partners, Reed Payne, wrote of him, "Billy was great with kids, especially since he never stopped being a kid himself. Also, he knew from personal experience that a lot of the kids in the city had a hard time finding anything to laugh about. .. Billy was using juggling to try to bring some kind of fun and magic into the lives of kids whose main concern was just surviving from one day to the next... If Billy would happen to see a child as we were going to do shows in Central Park , he immediately would go over to that child and entertain him or her with a balloon animal as if it was the most important thing in the world. .. He was dedicated to teaching juggling and promoting the New York Jugglers Club. He even wanted to try to unionize the performers among us so that we could get a decent income for our years of practice."


Robbin Cage

New Orleans juggler Robbin Cage died March 2 after being hit by a car a week earlier. He was 24 years old.


Cage was an active part of the juggling communities in Lafayette , La. , during high school and in Baton Rouge as a college student. He graduated from Louisiana State University in May 1992, then moved to New Orleans and worked as a full-time street performer until his death. His act included rope spinning, comedy juggling and juggling on the unsupported ladder. He attended IJA festivals in Akron and Denver . He was interested in filmmaking and wanted to be a stand-up comic.


He was buried in Lafayette on March 4, and his friends and fellow performers in New Orleans gave him a jazz funeral procession and did shows in his honor the following day.

Thanks to Billy Prudhomme

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