Siegfried & Roy

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Roy Horn (left) and Siegfried Fischbacher with their white lion

Siegfried Tyron Fischbacher (June 13, 1939 – January 13, 2021) and Roy Horn (Uwe Ludwig Horn; October 3, 1944 – May 8, 2020) were German-American magicians and entertainers, best known for their acts with white lions and white tigers in Las Vegas, Nevada. They were born and raised in Germany, then moved to the United States and became U.S. citizens. From August 2004 to May 2005, Fischbacher and Horn were executive producers of Father of the Pride.

Early life[change | change source]

Fischbacher and Horn were born and raised in Germany. They emigrated to the United States and became naturalized citizens.[1]

Siegfried[change | change source]

Siegfried was born Siegfried Tyron Fischbacher in Rosenheim on June 13, 1939, to Martin and Maria Fischbacher.[1] 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 magic book as a child and began to practice illusions. He moved to Italy in 1956 and started work at a hotel.[2]

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 help during a show.[2]: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.[3]

Roy[change | change source]

Roy was born Uwe Ludwig Horn on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham,[4] in the midst of bomb attacks,[5] 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.[6] Horn became interested in animals at a very young age[4] and cared for his childhood dog named Hexe (witch). Horn's mother's friend's husband Emil was the founder of the Bremen Zoo, which gave Horn access to exotic animals from the age of 10.[2]:25–31 Horn left school at age 13.[4] He worked as a waiter on the cruise ship Bremen, where he met Fischbacher and launched his performance career.[2][3][4]

Career[change | change source]

The owner of the Astoria Theatre in Bremen saw Fischbacher and Horn's act aboard a Caribbean cruise ship and got them 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.[2]:51

In 1981, Ken Feld of Irvin & Kenneth Feld Productions started the Beyond Belief show with them at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino.[7][8] A version of the show was taken on a world tour in the third quarter of 1988.[8]

During a period of their careers, Fischbacher and Horn were romantically involved, though they avoided discussion of their private lives.[9]

2003 tiger attack[change | change source]

During a show at the Mirage on Horn's birthday on October 3, 2003, a 7-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.[10] 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.[11]

The attack severed Horn's spine, drained his blood, 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.[11][12][13][14][15] While being taken to the hospital, Horn stated, "Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecore."[16] He told People Magazine in September 2004 that Montecore saved his life by trying to drag him to safety after he had a stroke.[17] The incident prompted the Mirage to close the show, which had 267 cast and crew members.[18]

Trainer Chris Lawrence later refuted Fischbacher and Horn's explanations for why the tiger attacked Horn, alleging it was due to Horn's mishandling of Montecore.[19] The duo dismissed Lawrence's claims, stating he "had problems with his life anyway."[19] 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.[11]

Aftermath and retirement[change | change source]

Siegfried and Roy in April 2012

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 after 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.[20]

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).[21] Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television's 20/20 program.[22]

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).[21] Their performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television's 20/20 program.[22]

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."[23]

On March 19, 2014, Montecore died after a brief illness. He was 17 years old.[24]

In June 2016, director Philipp Stölzl announced that Fischbacher and Horn would produce a biopic film documenting their lives.[25] Following Horn's death in 2020, this did not happen.

Horn's illness and death[change | change source]

On April 28, 2020, Horn's publicist stated he "tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and is currently responding well to treatment".[5][26] However, his condition deteriorated and he died at the age of 75 on May 8, 2020 at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas.[27][28][29] The duo's spokesman, Dave Kirvin, announced Horn's death and said it was due to complications from the disease.[30] Fischbacher stated that "the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend".[27][31]

Horn was cremated and Fischbacher stated he would keep his ashes in an urn.[32]

Fischbacher's death[change | change source]

On January 12, 2021, Fischbacher announced he had terminal pancreatic cancer.[33] He died the next day in Las Vegas from the disease at the age of 81.[34]

Filmography[change | change source]

Television[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Today in history". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 13, 2014. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 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 1597775606.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Katsilometes, John (October 3, 2013). "The Weekly Interview: Siegfried & Roy, 10 Years Later". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Julia Anton: Zum Tode von Roy Horn : Einer der größten Magier (in German) FAZ May 9, 2020
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Roy Horn of Vegas duo Siegfried & Roy dead at 75 from coronavirus". NBC. May 9, 2020. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  6. Reinhold Schmitt: Siegfried & Roy – ein Magierduo eroberte die Show-Welt – Eine Weltkarriere, die tragisch endete (in German) 2004
  7. 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.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Disney Ice Extravaganza Opens". Los Angeles Times. Times Wire Services. July 1, 1988. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  9. 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.
  10. "Surgeon who treated Roy Horn of 'Siegfried and Roy' after tiger incident says 'he actually flatlined…we lost vital signs'". ABC News. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "The Tiger and the Tragic Trick: Siegfried & Roy's Animal Handler Breaks Silence on Mauling, Alleges Cover-Up". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  12. "20/20". ABC 9/28/2019.
  13. 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.
  14. "Mauled magician 'critical but stable'". BBC News. October 5, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  15. "Roy of Siegfried and Roy critical after mauling". CNN. October 4, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  16. "". CNN.
  17. "Roy Horn: Tiger 'Saved My Life'". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  18. "Magic show in doubt after mauling". BBC News. October 6, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2009.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Katsilometes, John (August 6, 2019). "Siegfried and Roy dismiss trainer's account of tiger attack". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  20. "The INSIDER Online: Celeb Central: Roy Horn Walks". March 6, 2006. Archived from the original on March 6, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Tiger and the Tragic Trick: Siegfried & Roy's Animal Handler Breaks Silence on Mauling, Alleges Cover-Up, by Gary Baum, in The Hollywood Reporter; published March 28, 2019; retrieved March 31, 2019
  22. 22.0 22.1 "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.
  23. "Siegfried & Roy Farewell Appearance". Associated Press. April 23, 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  24. "Mantecore, the tiger that injured Roy Horn, has died". Las Vegas Review Journal. March 25, 2014. Archived from the original on January 9, 2017.
  25. "Siegfried & Roy to Get Biopic Treatment". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  26. Yang, Allie (April 28, 2020). "Roy Horn of 'Siegfried and Roy' fame tests positive for COVID-19". ABC News. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  27. 27.0 27.1 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.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Spencer Perry: [1] May 8, 2020
  29. "Roy Horn, Illusionist Who Dazzled Audiences as Half of Siegfried & Roy, Dies at 75".
  30. 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.
  31. "Roy Horn, part of iconic magician duo, dies with coronavirus; Pence staffer tests positive". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  32. Katsilometes, John (May 11, 2020). "Roy Horn cremated; Siegfried will keep ashes in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  33. Gray, Mark (January 12, 2021). "Report: Siegfried Fischbacher of 'Siegfried & Roy' has terminal cancer". MSN. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  34. "Magier Siegfried Fischbacher ist tot". Der Spiegel (in German). January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  35. "The Legend of Sarmoti: Siegfried & Roy". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  36. Randy Matin: Siegfried & Roy’s Latest Is No Illusion Los Angeles Times October 28, 1999
  37. Kevin Thomas: A dance on the edge of truth Los Angeles Times April 23, 2004
  38. Holden, Stephen (April 9, 2004). "Film Review; Heading for the Chorus Line, Intertwining Fact and Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  39. Smith, Sid (August 31, 2004). "'Father of the Pride' too risque for kids, too dumb for adults". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  40. Paul Brownfield: ‘Pride’ has lions and tigers and pandas, oh my Los Angeles Times August 31, 2004
  41. Green, John (March 1, 2009). "No Illusion: Siegfried & Roy Magic Is Back". Retrieved August 12, 2019.