The World Food Prize Foundation

Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller interviews his 'biggest hero' Dr. Norman E. Borlaug


Penn, minus Teller, interviews Borlaug


Penn Jillette, best known for his work on the Penn & Teller illusionist and comedy team, hosted World Food Prize Founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and Borlaug biographer Leon Hesser on his radio show August 9.

Throughout the interview on Penn Radio, Jillette referred to Borlaug as “my biggest hero in the world.” He concluded the interview saying, “I have tears in my eyes just from being able to talk to you [Borlaug and Hesser]."

The interview covered many facets of Dr. Borlaug’s extraordinary career, including his founding of the World Food Prize. The entire interview is available for download from nationally-syndicated Free FM radio at:

At 92, Borlaug continues to travel the world working for the Sasakawa Africa Association and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico (CIMMYT). He also teaches a course each year at Texas A&M University. In October, he will visit Des Moines, IA to witness the awarding of the Twentieth Anniversary World Food Prize and speak at the organization's Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium.

The interview also discussed when Hesser first met Borlaug nearly 40 years ago in Pakistan. Hesser has spent the past year and half dedicated to writing “The Man Who Fed the World,” Dr. Borlaug’s authorized biography that will be available in stores September 5.

This wasn't the first time Jillette expressed his admiration for Borlaug on the air. He once wagered all his worldly possesions that there is no hero greater than Dr. Borlaug on the Showtime Network television show he co-hosts with Teller. In that episode Jillette said, "Norman is the greatest human being, and you probably never heard of him."

Penn & Teller still appear together in near-daily stage performances in Las Vegas. Jillette's Penn Radio show is co-hosted by Michael Goudeau and is syndicated nationwide on satellite radio and on CBS Radio's broadcast, HD, and streaming online networks.



Iowa Senate votes 50-0 to place Borlaug statue in US Capitol (February 25, 2010)
World Food Prize dedicates $29.8 million Hall of Laureates in honor of Norman Borlaug (October 14, 2009)
Norman Borlaug discusses famine's persistence with WSJ in one of his final interviews (September 22, 2009)
Tributes to Norman Borlaug from around the world (September 13, 2009)
World Food Prize Founder and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug dies at age 95 (September 12, 2009)
Iowa Senators introduce legislation to declare Borlaug home a National Historic Site
(August 4, 2009)
Borlaug in Wall Street Journal: Farmers Can Feed the World
(July 30, 2009)
Borlaug/Lugar: A new green revolution
(April 5, 2009)
Borlaug: Start initiative to feed hungry worldwide
(March 16, 2009)
Dr. Borlaug to celebrate 95th birthday
(March 4, 2009)
Borlaug Honored with butter sculpture at Iowa State Fair (August 6, 2008)
President Bush, others present Dr. Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal
(July 18, 2007)
Dr. Borlaug to receive Congressional Gold Medal
(December 6, 2006)
U.S. Senate votes to honor Borlaug with Congressional Gold Medal (September 28, 2006)
Penn, minus Teller, interviews Borlaug (August 15, 2006)
Norman Borlaug returns home to statehouse honors
(March 16, 2006)
Dr. Norman Borlaug recieves National Medal of Science
(February 14, 2006)
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug honored with Padma Vibhushan in India
(January 25, 2006)
'Food for Thought'
(published in the Wall Street Journal on October 14, 2005)
"My 60 Years of Fighting Hunger" a retrospective on the life of Dr. Norman Borlaug released from the First Annual Governor's Lecture
(PDF file, October 25, 2004)
Dr. Norman Borlaug throws ceremonial first pitch at Boston's Fenway Park
(June 9, 2004)


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