Obituary: Barnaby (Dan Jeffery)


We are sad to announce the passing of well-known comedy and cruise ship juggler Barnaby. Barnaby was born Dan Jeffery in Chicago, IL (USA) in 1947. While working as a college English professor at the University of New Mexico in 1978, a student taught him to juggle. Dan used his new found skill to liven up classes and found that he loved entertaining audiences with his juggling. At first he combined his skills as a juggler and singer / songwriter as he performed at coffee houses around Albuquerque, NM, but he found that the audiences responded much better to the juggling than they did to the music. From that point on he concentrated on juggling and began working steadily. He was fortunate to be mentored by long time juggler and juggling historian Fransisco Alvarez, who also lived in Albuquerque. Barnaby even wrote a juggling book, the Juggler’s Handbook, in 1976.


Barnaby was best known for three tricks or routines. First was his musical combination trick of juggling, playing the guitar, and singing all at the same time.

Second was his version of the Japanese juggling act using a ball and two drumstick-like props. This included the transfer of a soccer ball from one stick balanced on his chin to another balanced on his forehead.




Finally, he was quite famous for performing the famous Bobby May cigarette trick. You can watch Barnaby doing this incredible feat in the following video.

He was also well-known for his work with balls, ball spinning, ball bouncing, and club juggling.


Barnaby found great success performing his juggling and comedy on cruise ships. He even inserted original comedy songs into his act, completing his original idea of combining his two loves in one show. He was a consummate professional who impressed his fellow entertainers with his preparation, original material, and wonderful stage persona. Although his constant work kept him from attending many IJA Festivals, he did compete in the 1984 IJA Seniors Championships.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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