Siegfried & Roy
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Siegfried & Roy
Roy (left) and Siegfried with their white lion
Uwe Ludwig Horn
October 3, 1944 Nordenham, Lower Saxony, Germany
|Other names||Siegfried & Roy|
Masters of the Impossible
From 1990, until Roy's career ending tiger injury 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, Siegfried and Roy were executive producers of Father of the Pride.
Siegfried Tyrone Fischbacher (born June 13, 1939) and Roy Horn (born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944) were born and raised in Germany. They emigrated to the United States and became naturalized citizens.
Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim, Germany on June 13, 1939, to Maria and Martin Fischbacher. His mother was a housewife, and his father was a professional painter, who was imprisoned by the Soviets during World War II. Siegfried purchased a magic book as a child and began practicing tricks. Siegfried moved to Italy in 1956, and began working at a hotel.
He eventually found work performing magic on the ship the TS Bremen under the stage name Delmare. Siegfried and Roy met while Siegfried was performing aboard the ship, and asked Roy to assist him during a show. Siegfried and Roy 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 Horn was born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, in the midst of bomb attacks, to Johanna Horn. His biological father died in World War ll, and his mother remarried after the war ended. Roy's mother remarried a construction worker, and later began work in a factory. Roy had three brothers: Manfred, Alfred, and Werner. Roy became interested in animals at a very young age, and cared for his childhood dog, named Hexe.
Roy's mother's friend's husband, Emil, was founder of the Bremen Zoo, which gave Roy access to exotic animals from the age of 10. Roy visited the United States briefly when his ship wrecked and was towed to New York City. He returned home to Bremen before returning to the sea as a waiter, where he met Siegfried and launched his performance career.
The owner of the Astoria Theatre in Bremen, Germany saw Siegfried and Roy's act aboard a Caribbean cruise ship and recruited the duo to perform at her nightclub. This launched a career on the European nightclub circuit, and the duo 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.
In 1981, Ken Feld of Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions started the Beyond Belief show with Siegfried & Roy 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.
2003 tiger attack
On October 3, 2003, during a show at the Mirage, a seven year old white tiger named Mantecore (frequently misspelled Montecore or Mantacore) attacked Roy. As part of the act but veering off script, Roy held his microphone to Mantecore's mouth and told him to say "Hello" to the audience. Mantecore responded by biting Roy's sleeve. Roy swatted the Tiger and barked "release!" but Mantecore then knocked Roy down with his leg and pinned him to the floor.
As standby trainers rushed in from offstage to assist, Mantecore bit into Roy's neck and carried him offstage. Trainers were finally able to get the tiger to release Roy after spraying him with CO2 canisters, the last resort available.
The attack severed Roy's spine, inflicted critical blood loss, and caused severe crush injuries to other parts of his body, permanently affecting his ability to move, walk, and speak. Roy also suffered a stroke although doctors at the only Level I trauma center in Nevada, University Medical Center, center could not determine if the stroke occurred before or after Mantecore dragged him offstage.
While being taken to the hospital, Horn said, "Mantecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Mantecore." Horn told People Magazine in September 2004 that Mantecore "saved his life" by attempting to drag him to safety after he suffered a stroke. Steve Wynn, owner of the Mirage, later said the tiger was reacting to a "beehive" hairdo adorning a female audience member in the front row. The injury to Horn prompted the Mirage to close the show and 267 cast and crew members were laid off.
When trainer Chris Lawrence, who saved Roy's life by deploying the CO2 cannisters, later refuted Siegfried & Roy's and Steve Wynn's explanations for why the tiger attacked Roy, the duo responded by calling Lawrence an "alcoholic". Lawrence stated that Mantecore was "off" that night and in an irritable mood and Roy had failed to recognize that, resulting in Mantecore "doing what tigers do" and attacking.
Lawrence later said he believed that Siegfried & Roy and the Mirage covered-up the real reason for the attack in order to protect their image and brand.
Aftermath and retirement
In August 2004, their act became the basis for the short lived television series, Father of the Pride. Right before its release, the series was almost cancelled, until Siegfried & Roy urged NBC to continue production after Roy's condition from the injury of October 2003 improved. 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 Mantecore as a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute (although Chris Lawrence, the animal handler who interceded in the Mantecore incident, has stated that this performance involved a different tiger). Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television's 20/20 program.
On April 23, 2010, Siegfried & Roy 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." Mantecore died on March 19, 2014 after a brief illness. He was 17 years old.
In June 2016, it was announced that Siegfried & Roy would be producing a biopic film, documenting their lives.
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- Siegfried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible (1996)
- Vegas Vacation (1997)
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- Green, John (March 1, 2009). "No Illusion: Siegfried & Roy Magic Is Back". ABCNews.com. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
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