The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

QUILIETTI Robert Anthony 1950 [Magic Bob]

ROBERT ANTHONY QUILIETTI was born on 15th February 1950 at Simpson’s Maternity Hospital in Edinburgh.   He is the son of Robert Emilio Quilietti and Janet Malcolm Frame.  He is grandson of Emilio Quilietti and great grandson of Leonardo.

Bob  started off his working life as a Joiner

He married Joyce Elizabeth Lamond on 13th September 1987 and they have one beautiful daughter Ruth Mudra Quilietti.  

Ruth with her cousin Darren Wood

Ruth was born in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh on 31st May 1978.   Ruth married Mark Bird and he has changed his name to Quilietti-Bird.   Such a wonderful commitment and for the Quilietti family it means the name will live on.   They have two little girls Lucia and Isabella Quilietti-Bird.   

The family Quilieti-Bird.

Bob with his beloved family

Robert or Magic Bob as he is affectionately known to all his family and friends took on the profession of Magic and made it his career.

“I loved my job as a joiner, but I live in Gordon in the Borders and there wasn’t a lot of work around at that time” says Bob in an Evening News interview. I’d work on a housing scheme for seven months or so and, one I’d hit the final nail I’d have to sign on the dole until more work came along.  As a child I was really fascinated by magic.   David Nixon was the bit TV Magician at the time and I remember getting one of his magic sets for Christmas when I was at Primary School.  Before I took up magic full-time I would put together a show and went out busking in Edinburgh.  I would go into pubs and bars and entertain people at their tables for five minutes.  It was the best apprenticeship I could ever have had.  I was placed in difficult situations with people.  If people liked what I did they would ask for my phone number wondering if I did things like Office Parties.  The whole thing just stemmed from there” he said.

Bob's Business Card Photo

Bob spent a lot of time polishing up his act and says hid hard work has paid dividends.  “When you’re starting out you need to rehearse tricks for at least four hours a day for at least six months.  I used to work whilst watching the telly.  But once you have the basics in your head and fingers then it becomes very easy to learn new stuff.”  “Magic needs a vast input in terms of time, but not necessarily a vast input of cash.  I use anything from old bits of rope and lemonade bottles to elastic bands, coins and cards for my tricks.  I earn a sensible wage from magic now, but I have to work unsociable hours and I am usually working when most other people are on holiday.   The downside is that holiday periods are my busiest time.

It was in the year 1985 Bob and Karen Koren created an entertainment and touring agency called Comic Routes.  This agency looked after new comics and street entertainers, toured them and secured gigs for them all over Scotland.  The agency survived for a year until the Gilded Balloon established itself in 1986 as an Edinburgh Festival Fringe Venue.  It was then obvious that there was more work for the stand up comics in Scotland than just street entertainers and Bob carried on with his own work, mainly as the very successful Magic Bob.  As for the Gilded Balloon, that was the start of something really big in Edinburgh and remained the main venue for the comic circuit for many many years, all thanks to our own Magic Bob..
Over the next 25 years, Bob toured all over the UK, Europe and as far afield as Cairo. During performances, he would dress extravagantly in Hawaiian shirts and brightly coloured shoes, performing tricks while cracking jokes for children and adults.

What the Critics Say about our Bob

He not only played his magic act to children but also did the club scene for adults.   His casual relaxed approached was all part of the charm of his act.  He also liked to add a few gags to spice up the act.  He entered and won the Edinburgh contest to find the best club Entertainer.Three years ago, Bob started to experience health problems. His energy levels plummeted and he felt jittery and irritable while everyday tasks – fastening buttons, tying laces, opening envelopes – became difficult.

Joyce with grandchildren

In February 2004, a neurologist diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease. Bob said: “This conclusion was nothing more than a labelling, a name tag to pin on to a cluster of increasingly unpleasant symptoms.

“It’s what the illness does to us as individuals and our responses to these symptoms that count, not the name we give it.”

Ruth with Joyce

Over the last three years, Bob has scaled down his work commitments but he has refused to be defeated by his diagnosis. And now that he has decided to retire he hopes to helps others to recover from similar setbacks.

He is currently working with the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar, persuading those who have given up their careers because of illness that they still have something to offer.

He said: “When I first got Parkinson’s, I knew I had to give up entertainment because I just wasn’t able to do it.

“At the time I was very low and thought that the world had come crashing down. However, I heard about the Thistle Foundation and they helped me believe in myself.”

For the past few years Bob has suffered from Parkinson’s disease.  Being a true Quilietti nothing stopped him from his fighting this.

Bob Quilietti with Joyce and grandaughter

The Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar has helped Bob adapt to his life after his diagnosis.

Bob with sister Maggie presenting Foundation with cheque

Living with Parkinson’s disease isn’t easy for anyone, but when local magician, ‘Magic Bob’ Quilietti was diagnosed with the disease in 2003 he found great support at Thistle Foundation.

Bob’s sister Margaret Wood, an employee at Greggs’ Corstorphine branch, secretly nominated Thistle Foundation for a £1000 company award after seeing how much her brother Bob had been helped by the organisation as he learned to adapt to life after his diagnosis.

Bob told the Chronicle: “My sister is a very helpful and kind person. She is aware of how Thistle Foundation supported me through a very difficult time and this is her way of showing her appreciation.

Bob Quilietti with Billy Connolly

“The [neurologist’s] conclusion was nothing more than a labelling, a name tag to pin onto a cluster of increasingly unpleasant symptoms. It’s what the illness does to us as individuals and our responses to these symptoms that count, not the name we give it.”

Bob was helped initially by the charity’s lifestyle management programme. He said: “The course offers practical, jargon-free support that focuses on the achievement of goals agreed with the individual. People are supported to build their own coping capacity through self-management, pacing, scheduling and sleep management, stress reduction, symptom management, relaxation, activity and exercise, goal setting and overcoming barriers, effective communication, dealing with relapse and identifying triggers.”

Thistle Foundation’s courses helped Bob to get his confidence back and allowed him to train to be a peer facilitator, and then a course co-ordinator. Bob is now employed by Thistle Foundation to provide support to others by developing and running his ‘mindfulness’ programme, for people living with long term health conditions, and a support group for people with Parkinson’s in the Borders.

Lawson Auden, senior fundraiser for Thistle Foundation, was delighted with the donation. He told the Chronicle: “This generous donation will go straight to our health and wellbeing service, supporting people with a range of health conditions. Our programmes aim to empower people to lead great lives where they are in control

In one the Edinburgh Festivel Books

5 Responses to “QUILIETTI Robert Anthony 1950 [Magic Bob]”

  1. Catherine Mooney says:

    Dear Magic Bob,
    We were just talking about our children’s first memories and both remember your coming to the house (Rowallan Gardens) to do magic shows for their birthdays. Happy days.
    Wishing you well. In friendship, Catherine Mooney

  2. Jane Hale says:

    Bless you Bob..I worked with you quite afew years ago got work for me as a facepainter(Slapstik Facepainting)…I hve fond memories of you and your lovely wife and you were always kind and helpful..bless you in your work and lucky u meeting Billy Conolly!! Heheh nice one! Sending you lots of love and hugs..Jane Hale xx…i hve had a long time when i was too unwell to work..never thought i would get to a point where i would be able to hve my own wee business again..i run a wee school artclub which i the kids and hve just got some facepaintd again! Heres to you!

  3. Helen says:

    Thanks for posting this comment Jane. I will let Bob know that you have been in touch.

  4. June Whitelaw says:

    Hi Bob! We often speak about you and remember your fantastic show you put on for my daughter Soraya at Donaldson’s School for the Deaf. She was 6 then and is now 26! Many thanks for our lovely memories. God Bless. June

  5. Helen says:

    Thanks for the comment June. I will let Bob know of yur kind words. He is poorly now so thank you again for taking the time to leave this comment.

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