Talk with Siegfried & Roy

Siegfried & Roy was an iconic Las Vegas duo renowned for their spellbinding illusions and exotic animal magic shows.


Who is Siegfried & Roy?

Siegfried & Roy were a German-American duo of magicians and entertainers, best known for their appearances with white lions and white tigers. The duo was composed of Siegfried Fischbacher (1939–2021) and Roy Horn (1944–2020). They had a long-running residency at The Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, making their elaborate magic and tiger-filled shows a popular attraction. In 2003, their careers ended abruptly when Horn was severely injured by one of their white tigers during a show. The incident left Horn partially paralyzed and led to the closing of their show.

What inspired Siegfried & Roy to work with animals?

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, known collectively as Siegfried & Roy, were inspired to work with animals, particularly big cats, largely because of their childhood experiences. Siegfried became interested in magic at a young age, often using his pet rabbits in his acts, while Roy, who grew up with his beloved half-wolf, Hexe, developed an affinity for animals. The switch to larger exotic animals came after Roy suggested that Siegfried's magic could be more exciting with a cheetah rather than a rabbit. This led them to incorporate big cats into their performances, which eventually became their trademark. Their work reflected their belief in the importance of conservation and their love for animals. They also believed that through their performances, they could inspire others to respect and appreciate wildlife.

What happened at the final performance of Siegfried & Roy in 2003?

On October 3, 2003, during a performance at the Mirage in Las Vegas, a tragic incident occurred during Siegfried & Roy's final show. It involved one of their white tigers, a seven-year-old male named Montecore.

During the performance, Roy Horn, who loved and cared for these animals, was interacting with Montecore as part of the act. Unexpectedly, Montecore grabbed Roy by the neck and dragged him off stage. This was a very unusual behavior, as Siegfried & Roy had established a long history of working closely with big cats without significant incidents.

The injury Roy received was serious; he had severe blood loss and was in critical condition for several days. This tragic event ended their successful 13-year run at the Mirage. Their show was a blend of magic, wildlife and spectacle, and was one of the most popular shows in Las Vegas at the time.

As a result of his injuries, Roy was partially paralyzed and had to use a wheelchair. However, Siegfried & Roy maintained that the tiger was trying to protect Roy, not harm him. They believed Montecore sensed that Roy was having a mini-stroke and was dragging him to safety, a behavior exhibited by mother tigers with their cubs. Despite the incident, their love and affection for the exotic cats never waned. They continued to care for their animals until they both passed away; Roy in 2020 and Siegfried in 2021.

What awards have Siegfried & Roy won?

Siegfried & Roy earned a number of awards and recognitions throughout their career for their contributions to the entertainment industry and magic. Some of their most notable awards include:

  1. Three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which were awarded for Live Theatre, Radio, and Television respectively.
  2. They received the "Golden Clowns" award at the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, indicating their prominence in magic and show business worldwide.
  3. In recognition of their contributions to the Las Vegas community, a street was named after them, "Siegfried & Roy Drive."
  4. They were made honorary police officers in Las Vegas, not an award but certainly a distinguished recognition.
  5. They won the 1999 World Magic Award for "Magicians of the Century."
  6. The German Magic Circle awarded Siegfried & Roy the "Magicians of the Decade" in 2000.
  7. They were also inducted into the Nevada Entertainment/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV in 2012.

These recognitions underscore their profound impact on the entertainment industry.

How did Roy Horn recover from his injury?

Roy Horn, of the duo Siegfried & Roy, suffered a severe injury during a performance when one of their white tigers, Montecore, bit him on the neck and dragged him offstage. After the incident, which took place on October 3, 2003, Horn was left partially paralyzed and spent several months in a hospital.

He underwent intensive physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain his mobility and strength. The process was extremely challenging, and often painful, requiring immense determination and resilience.

In interviews following his recovery, Horn expressed gratitude for the support he received from fans, friends, and especially his lifelong partner Siegfried Fischbacher. He always maintained a positive attitude towards the incident, saying that Montecore had tried to save him during a stroke, rather than attack him.

Despite the major life changes brought on by the accident, Horn was able to make public appearances again, albeit in limited capacity. Unfortunately, Roy Horn passed away in May 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. His tenacity and positive outlook throughout his recovery period, however, continue to inspire many around the world.

Can you tell me about Siegfried & Roy's private life?

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, known collectively as Siegfried & Roy, were long-time partners in a stage magic act that was globally successful. Their show, known for its elaborate use of white lions and white tigers, was a staple of Las Vegas entertainment for more than a decade.

In their private lives, Siegfried and Roy were as close as they appeared on stage. They shared a home together in Las Vegas, called the "Little Bavaria," where they lived with their animals, which they considered part of their family. The property featured habitats for their animals and lush private gardens. In their spare time, they spent a lot of time caring for their animals.

Siegfried and Roy never formally declared themselves as a couple, however, they did refer to themselves as a "family." Their relationship was more than just a stage partnership; it seemed to be a bond of deep friendship, mutual respect, and shared passion for magic and animals.

They both had a penchant for privacy, which is why not much is known about their personal lives beyond their extravagant shows and shared love for animals. They were also philanthropists and spent a lot of time and money supporting animal conservation causes and other charities.

Tragedy struck in 2003 when Roy was severely injured by one of their tigers during a performance. After Roy's accident, the duo retired from performing and lived quietly. Their private life after their retirement was spent mostly out of the spotlight. Siegfried Fischbacher died in January 2021 and Roy Horn died in May 2020.

How did Siegfried & Roy die?

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, the magician duo collectively known as Siegfried & Roy, both have passed away.

Roy Horn died on May 8, 2020 due to complications related to COVID-19. He was 75 at the time of passing. Siegfried Fischbacher died a few months later on January 13, 2021 from pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old. Both had reached significant ages and left behind a tremendous legacy in the world of performance and magic.

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