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Siegfried & Roy

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Siegfried & Roy
Roy Horn (left) and Siegfried Fischbacher (right) with their white lion
Other namesMasters of the Impossible
Known forStage acts involving big cats
Siegfried Fischbacher
Born(1939-06-13)June 13, 1939
Rosenheim, Gau Munich-Upper Bavaria, German Reich
DiedJanuary 13, 2021(2021-01-13) (aged 81)
Las Vegas, Nevada, US
Roy Horn
Birth nameUwe Ludwig Horn
Born(1944-10-03)October 3, 1944
Nordenham, Gau Weser-Ems, Greater German Reich
DiedMay 8, 2020(2020-05-08) (aged 75)
Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Siegfried Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021) and Roy Horn (born Uwe Ludwig Horn; October 3, 1944 – May 8, 2020) were German-American magicians and entertainers who performed together as Siegfried & Roy. They were best known for their use of white lions and white tigers in their acts.

The pair met on a cruise ship and began to perform together on ships and in European clubs and theaters. In 1967, they were invited to begin performing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Starting in 1990, they headlined a show at The Mirage casino resort. Their performing career came to an end in 2003 when Horn was critically injured by a tiger during a performance.[4][5]

Early lives[edit]

Fischbacher and Horn were born and raised in Germany. They moved to the United States and became naturalized citizens in 1988.[2]


Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany, on June 13, 1939, to Martin and Maria Fischbacher.[6] His mother was a housewife and his father was a professional painter who, during World War II, ended up as a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. Fischbacher purchased a book about magic tricks as a child and began to practice illusions. He moved to Italy in 1956 and started work at a hotel.[7]


Roy was born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, Oldenburg, Germany,[8] in the midst of bomb attacks,[9] to Johanna Horn. His father died in World War II, and his mother married a construction worker after the war ended. She later began work in a factory. Horn had three brothers: Manfred, Alfred, and Werner.[10] Horn became interested in animals at a very young age[8] and cared for his childhood dog named Hexe (witch). A family friend was the founder of Bremen Zoo, which gave Horn access to exotic animals from the age of 10.[7]: 25–31  Horn left school at age 13.[8]


The duo met on board the cruise ship TS Bremen where Horn was a waiter and Fischbacher was performing magic under the stage name Delmare.[7][11][8] While performing on board, Fischbacher asked Horn to assist him during a show.[7]: 33  The two were fired from the TS Bremen for bringing a live cheetah onto the ship, but were scouted by a cruise line based in New York and began performing together as a duo.[11]

The owner of the Astoria Theatre in Bremen saw Fischbacher and Horn's act aboard a Caribbean cruise ship and recruited the duo to perform at her nightclub. This launched a career for the pair on the European nightclub circuit, and they began to perform with tigers.

They were discovered performing in Paris by Tony Azzie, who asked them to come to Las Vegas in 1967, where they debuted at the Folies Bergere at The Tropicana Hotel Las Vegas.[12] The duo were originally placed 14th on a long bill, but by 1978, they had become the grand finale.

In 1981, Ken Feld of Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions started the Beyond Belief variety show with them at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, located on the Las Vegas Strip.[13][14] A revamped version of the show was taken on a world tour in the third quarter of 1988.[14]

In 1990, Fischbacher and Horn moved their show to a newly opened casino and resort in Las Vegas, The Mirage, where they performed until 2003.[12]

During a period of their careers, Fischbacher and Horn were romantically involved, though they avoided discussion of their private lives.[15]

2003 tiger incident[edit]

During a show at the Mirage on October 3, 2003, on his 59th birthday, Horn was attacked by a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantacore (the tiger's name having been frequently misspelled as "Montecore" in media reports).[16] As part of the act, but veering off-script, Horn held the microphone to Mantacore's mouth and told him to say "hello" to the audience. Mantacore responded by biting Horn's sleeve. Horn swatted the tiger and barked "release!" while standby trainers attempted, unsuccessfully, to distract the cat with cubes of meat. Possibly incited by Horn's retreat, the tiger leapt at Horn, swinging at his legs and knocking him off his feet.[16]

As trainers rushed to the stage to assist, Mantacore bit into Horn's neck and dragged him offstage toward his cage. Horn was finally released after trainers sprayed the tiger with CO2 from fire extinguisher canisters, their last available resort.[16]

Horn survived, but the attack severed his spine, resulting in massive blood loss and severely injuring other parts of his body. It left him with permanent impairment to his motor and verbal abilities. He also had a stroke either before or after Mantacore dragged him offstage.[16][17][18][19][20]

While en route to the hospital, Horn stated, "Mantacore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Mantacore."[21] He told People in September 2004 that Mantacore saved his life by trying to drag him to safety after he had a stroke.[22] The incident prompted the Mirage to close the show, which had 267 cast and crew members.[23]

Trainer Chris Lawrence later contradicted Fischbacher and Horn's explanations for why the tiger attacked Horn, alleging it was due to Horn's mishandling of Mantacore. The duo dismissed Lawrence's claims, stating he "had problems with his life anyway."[24] Lawrence later said he believed that the duo and the Mirage covered up the real reason for the attack in order to protect their image.[16]

Aftermath and retirement[edit]

Siegfried and Roy in April 2012

In August 2004, Siegfried & Roy's act became the basis for Father of the Pride, an animated sitcom about a lion who performs in their show and is head of a family of lions. Shortly before its release, the series was almost cancelled until Fischbacher and Horn urged NBC to continue production after Horn's medical condition had improved.[citation needed] By March 2006, Horn was talking and walking, with assistance from Fischbacher, and appeared on Pat O'Brien's television news program The Insider to discuss his daily rehabilitation.[25]

In February 2009, the duo staged a final appearance with Mantacore as a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (though Chris Lawrence had stated this performance involved a different tiger).[26] Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television's 20/20 program.[27]

On April 23, 2010, Fischbacher and Horn retired from show business. "The last time we closed, we didn't have a lot of warning," said longtime manager Bernie Yuman. "This is farewell. This is the dot at the end of the sentence."[28]

On March 19, 2014, Mantacore died after a brief illness. He was 17 years old.[29]

In June 2016, director Philipp Stölzl announced that Fischbacher and Horn would produce a biographical film documenting their lives.[30]

Illnesses and deaths[edit]

On April 28, 2020, Horn's publicist stated that Horn had "tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently responding well to treatment."[9][31] However, his condition deteriorated, and he died ten days later on May 8, at age 75 while at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada.[32][33][34] The duo's spokesman, Dave Kirvin, announced Horn's death, saying it was due to complications from the disease.[34] Fischbacher stated that "the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend."[32][35]

On January 11, 2021, it was reported that Fischbacher had terminal pancreatic cancer.[36] He died at his North Las Vegas home two days later at age 81.[37]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hogan, Kate (January 14, 2021). "Siegfried & Roy: Remembering the Illusionists' Lives and Careers in Photos". People. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Siegfried and Roy Become U.S. Citizens". Deseret News. October 4, 1988. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  3. ^ Mooney, Michael J.; Jones, Chris (October 13, 2022). "The Improbable Rise and Savage Fall of Siegfried & Roy". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Duggins, Alexi. "‘It took four men and a fire extinguisher to get the tiger off him’: the tragedy of Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy." The Guardian, January 17, 2021. Retrieved January 17, 2021
  5. ^ McCarthy, Kelly; Effron, Lauren (April 17, 2020). "Siegfried and Roy's storied career on the Las Vegas Strip". ABC News. Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard; Hauser, Christine (January 14, 2021). "Siegfried Fischbacher, Magician of Siegfried & Roy, Dies at 81". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d Mydlach, Jim; Lavery, Jimmy; Mydlach, Louis (June 1, 2008). The Secret Life of Siegfried and Roy: How the Tiger Kings Tamed Las Vegas. Phoenix Books. pp. 12–23. ISBN 978-1597775601.
  8. ^ a b c d Julia Anton: Zum Tode von Roy Horn : Einer der größten Magier (in German) FAZ May 9, 2020
  9. ^ a b Romero, Dennis (May 9, 2020). "Roy Horn of Vegas duo Siegfried & Roy dead at 75 from coronavirus". NBC. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  10. ^ Reinhold Schmitt: Siegfried & Roy – ein Magierduo eroberte die Show-Welt – Eine Weltkarriere, die tragisch endete (in German) isa-guide.de 2004
  11. ^ a b Katsilometes, John (October 3, 2013). "The Weekly Interview: Siegfried & Roy, 10 Years Later". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Mooney, Chris Jones, Michael J. (October 13, 2022). "The Improbable Rise and Savage Fall of Siegfried & Roy". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 6, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Grove, Lloyd (August 28, 2008). "The World According to Kenneth Feld". Upstart Business Journal. American City Business Journals. p. 5,18. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Disney Ice Extravaganza Opens". Los Angeles Times. Times Wire Services. July 1, 1988. Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  15. ^ Friess, Steve (November 11, 2003). "The truth about Siegfried & Roy: the duo have never denied their past romantic relationship. So why is the media ignoring it?". The Advocate. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c d e "The Tiger and the Tragic Trick: Siegfried & Roy's Animal Handler Breaks Silence on Mauling, Alleges Cover-Up". The Hollywood Reporter. March 28, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  17. ^ "20/20". ABC News.com 9/28/2019.
  18. ^ Koch, Ed; Manning, Mary; Toplikar, Dave (May 15, 2008). "Showtime: How Sin City evolved into 'The Entertainment Capital of the World'". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  19. ^ "Mauled magician 'critical but stable'". BBC News. October 5, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  20. ^ "Roy of Siegfried and Roy critical after mauling". CNN. October 4, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  21. ^ King, Larry (October 8, 2003). "Interview With Siegfried Fischbacher". Larry King Live. CNN. Archived from the original on January 25, 2005. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  22. ^ "Roy Horn: Tiger 'Saved My Life'". People.com. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  23. ^ "Magic show in doubt after mauling". BBC News. October 6, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  24. ^ Katsilometes, John (August 6, 2019). "Siegfried and Roy dismiss trainer's account of tiger attack". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "The INSIDER Online: Celeb Central: Roy Horn Walks". March 6, 2006. Archived from the original on March 6, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  26. ^ Baum, Gary (March 28, 2019). "The Tiger and the Tragic Trick: Siegfried & Roy's Animal Handler Breaks Silence on Mauling, Alleges Cover-Up". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  27. ^ "Siegfried and Roy and tiger share final performance". CBC News. Associated Press. March 1, 2009. Archived from the original on March 2, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2009.
  28. ^ "Siegfried & Roy Farewell Appearance". Associated Press. April 23, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  29. ^ Weatherford, Mike (March 25, 2014). "Mantecore, the tiger that injured Roy Horn, has died". Las Vegas Review Journal. Archived from the original on January 9, 2017.
  30. ^ Roxborough, Scott (June 27, 2016). "Siegfried & Roy to Get Biopic Treatment". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  31. ^ Yang, Allie (April 28, 2020). "Roy Horn of 'Siegfried and Roy' fame tests positive for COVID-19". ABC News. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Katsilometes, John (May 8, 2020). "Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy dies at 75". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on May 9, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  33. ^ a b c Spencer Perry: [1] comicbook.com May 8, 2020
  34. ^ a b McFadden, Robert D. (May 8, 2020). "Roy Horn, Illusionist Who Dazzled Audiences as Half of Siegfried & Roy, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  35. ^ "Roy Horn, part of iconic magician duo, dies with coronavirus; Pence staffer tests positive". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  36. ^ Gray, Mark (January 12, 2021). "Report: Siegfried Fischbacher of 'Siegfried & Roy' has terminal cancer". MSN. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  37. ^ "Magier Siegfried Fischbacher ist tot". Der Spiegel (in German). January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  38. ^ "The Legend of Sarmoti: Siegfried & Roy". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  39. ^ Randy Matin: Siegfried & Roy's Latest Is No Illusion Los Angeles Times October 28, 1999
  40. ^ Kevin Thomas: A dance on the edge of truth Los Angeles Times April 23, 2004
  41. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 9, 2004). "Film Review; Heading for the Chorus Line, Intertwining Fact and Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  42. ^ Smith, Sid (August 31, 2004). "'Father of the Pride' too risque for kids, too dumb for adults". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  43. ^ Paul Brownfield: ‘Pride’ has lions and tigers and pandas, oh my Los Angeles Times August 31, 2004
  44. ^ Green, John (March 1, 2009). "No Illusion: Siegfried & Roy Magic Is Back". ABCNews.com. Retrieved August 12, 2019.

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