Siegfried & Roy
Siegfried & Roy
Roy Horn (left) and Siegfried Fischbacher with their white lion
|Other names||Masters of the Impossible|
|Known for||Stage acts involving big cats|
|Born||June 13, 1939|
Rosenheim, Gau Munich-Upper Bavaria, German Reich
|Died||January 13, 2021 (aged 81)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
|Birth name||Uwe Ludwig Horn|
|Born||October 3, 1944|
Nordenham, Gau Weser-Ems, Greater German Reich
|Died||May 8, 2020 (aged 75)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Siegfried & Roy were a duo of German-American magicians and entertainers, best known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers. It was composed of Siegfried Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021) and Roy Horn (born Uwe Ludwig Horn; October 3, 1944 – May 8, 2020).
From February 1, 1990, until Horn's career-ending injury on his birthday on October 3, 2003, the duo formed Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, which was regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas, Nevada. From August 2004 to May 2005, Fischbacher and Horn were executive producers of the animated sitcom Father of the Pride.
Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim on June 13, 1939, to Martin and Maria Fischbacher. His mother was a housewife, and his father 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.
Eventually, Fischbacher found work performing magic on the ship TS Bremen under the stage name Delmare. While performing aboard the ship, he met Horn and asked him to assist him during a show.:33 Fischbacher and Horn 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.
Roy was born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, in the midst of bomb attacks, 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. Horn became interested in animals at a very young age and cared for his childhood dog named Hexe (witch). Horn's mother's friend's husband Emil was the founder of Bremen Zoo, which gave Horn access to exotic animals from the age of 10.:25–31 Horn left school at age 13. He worked as a waiter on the cruise ship Bremen, where he met Fischbacher and launched his performance career.
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. They spent some time in Puerto Rico and may have purchased property there.:51
In 1981, Ken Feld of Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions started the Beyond Belief show with them at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. A revamped version of the show was taken on a world tour in the third quarter of 1988.
In October 1988, Fischbacher and Horn became naturalized US cititzens.
During a period of their careers, Fischbacher and Horn were romantically involved, though they avoided discussion of their private lives.
2003 tiger incident
During a show at the Mirage on Horn's birthday on October 3, 2003, a seven-year-old white tiger named Montecore attacked Horn. As part of the act, but veering off script, Horn held his microphone to Montecore's mouth and told him to say "hello" to the audience. Montecore responded by biting Horn's sleeve. Horn swatted the tiger and barked "release!". Suffering from dizziness, Horn tripped and fell onto his back, and Montecore moved to stand over him.
As standby trainers rushed in from offstage to assist, Montecore bit into Horn's neck and dragged him offstage. Trainers got the tiger to release Horn by spraying him with CO2 fire extinguisher canisters, the last resort available.
The attack severed Horn's spine, resulted in massive blood loss, and severely injured other parts of his body, permanently impairing his motor and verbal abilities. He also had a stroke either before or after Montecore dragged him offstage.
While being taken to the hospital, Horn stated, "Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecore." He told People in September 2004 that Montecore saved his life by trying to drag him to safety after he had a stroke. The incident prompted the Mirage to close the show, which had 267 cast and crew members.
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 Montecore. The duo dismissed Lawrence's claims, stating he "had problems with his life anyway." 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.
Aftermath and retirement
In August 2004, their act became the basis for Father of the Pride. Right before its release, the series was almost cancelled until Fischbacher and Horn urged NBC to continue production after Horn's condition improved following the attack by Montecore in October 2003. 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.
In February 2009, the duo staged a final appearance with Montecore as a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (though Chris Lawrence had stated this performance involved a different tiger). Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television's 20/20 program.
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."
On March 19, 2014, Montecore died after a brief illness. He was 17 years old.
Horn's illness and death
On April 28, 2020, Horn's publicist stated that he "tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently responding well to treatment". However, his condition deteriorated, and he died at the age of 75 on May 8, 2020, at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada. The duo's spokesman, Dave Kirvin, announced Horn's death and said it was due to complications from the disease. Fischbacher stated that "the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend".
- Siegfried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible (1996)
- Vegas Vacation (1997)
- Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (1999)
- Ocean's Eleven (2001) as Boxing Spectator
- Showboy (2002)
- Father of the Pride (2004–2005, TV series)
- Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Returns (March 6, 2009)
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- Randy Matin: Siegfried & Roy's Latest Is No Illusion Los Angeles Times October 28, 1999
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