Farewell Siegfried and Roy

Siegfried and Roy created an entire universe evolving around magic and white tigers.

Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Bavaria, which then belonged to the German Reich. As a child he bought a book about magic and later performed under the name of Delmare. Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn was born shortly before the end of World War II in the north of Germany. A friend of his mother enabled him to have access to wild animals in the Bremen Zoo. Roy dropped out of school as a teenager and worked as a waiter on MS Bremen. At the same time Siegfried performed as a magician on board and their fate was sealed.

Farewell Siegfried and Roy bekitschig blog
Image credit by Carol M. Highsmith cc

How is that for from rags to riches?

Siegfried and Roy incorporated wild animals in their magic act and hoofed it in European night clubs. By 1976 they made it to The Strip in Las Vegas. They were one of the most flamboyant couples in showbusiness. As for their relationship, the magicians preferred to keep their lives rather private. While both were romantically involved until 1998, they didn’t have their coming out until 2007 (source).

Back in the good old days, people called these things open secrets. Oh, là là.

The duo became world famous magicians. They toured in South America, Japan and played the Lido in Paris. However, their biggest success must have been their shows in Las Vegas. Tropicana, Stardust, New Frontier and Mirage are big names.

Siegfried, Roy and the Tigers

In what seems like a different life today, I wrote a paper about the contribution to animal preservation by Siegfried and Roy at Uni. (Don’t get an arts degree kids …)

One could argue that wild animals should be exactly that; wild. For the duo it was a calling to breed white tigers and lions.

Farewell Siegried an Roy Magicians Tiger Mirage
The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 1990, cc

Part of the Mirage is the Secret Garden, where white tigers and lions, snow tigers, black panthers and white panthers live. Rumors go, their contract with the Mirage at the time was the highest in live entertainment. Ever.  May their cats live happily ever after.

Roy raised the white tiger Montecore from the bottle and had a strong bond with the animal. In 2003 during a show on his 59th birthday at the Mirage said cat attacked him severely.

Well, you know the quality of Wiki and Co. and what really happened, we will never know. Did he handle the cat wrong? Did he have a small stroke? Was he affected from celebrating his birthday? Roy claimed later, Montecore felt that something was wrong and wanted to drag the magician off stage. Despite doctors’ prognosis, Roy survived. Half of his body was paralyzed but he fought his way back to live step by step.

At the end of April 2020, Roy Horn was tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away a week later. He was 75 years old. At 81, only months after the dead of Roy, Siegfried lost his battle with cancer on 13th of January 2021.

Farewell

I went on a little YouTube interview binge, as you do, and I honestly got the impression, the illusionists respected the animals and wanted to preserve the lions and tigers. They referred to the cats as their true friends. The accident was very likely the only one in 45 years.

The story of Siegfried and Roy also shows how our media works. Did they put in a huge effort to preserve the white cats for future generations or where they just props in their show? Take some European je ne sais quoi, add American business mind and a unique selling point and there you have it!?

Two boys born during WWII, who lived with drunk fathers and started with nothing. This is what fairy tales are made of. The world has lost two true entertainers. May they rest in peace.

Germany has lost all their A celebrities, unless you count Heidi Klum.

Where do we go from here? (Add Buffy Musical Tune)

Preserve the magic in your life! Be kitschig.

Feature image cc

Farewell Karel Gott

LockDownVision 2020

Schlager Has Ruined My Life

Farewell Ingo Maurer

Gone Forever – Karl Lagerfeld

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15 thoughts on “Farewell Siegfried and Roy

  1. I was going to suggest David Hasselhoff as one of the last of the German entertainers, but apparently he’s American and has been all along. It’s his surname and his singing success in Germany (decades ago!) that made me think he was German, I suppose. And Gisele Bündchen is Brazilian. Rammstein?

  2. You know when I heard about Siegfried’s death the other day I wondered if you’d do a post on it Jeanine. I am far behind in Reader, but the title jumped out at me (or should I say pounced out at me?). I would have loved to see their act. I have not been to Las Vegas, but a former boss of mine went with his wife and said their show was the highlight of his trip. Much has been said about the accident with Roy that night. The trainers of Montecore who were always waiting in the wings in case something should go wrong complained that Roy wanted Montecore to do something and he didn’t so he did a “boop on the snoot” with his microphone. Roy tapped him on the nose and Montecore got mad and so the trainers said that started the unfortunate sequence of events. Others said Roy had a small stroke, but I think Roy kept saying on the stretcher “don’t kill Montecore” makes me think that the tapping on Montecore’s nose might have been the cause. I always found their success story interesting … and the touching story by Siegfried that after Roy died last May of COVID, Siegfried always set a place setting for him for dinner. They didn’t give Siegfried’s death much attention due to the events going on in the U.S. – just a passing blurb online. I had read before that Siegfriend as a young boy wanted a magic book and I think it was 5 marks and he didn’t have the money and left the bookstore, walked into the street and found a 5 mark bill in the street. (Pretty sure it was 5 marks and I don’t know my German currency). Exactly the amount needed to buy the book – just think … serendipity that he found it and became so famous as a result.

    1. Oh no, am I so predictable? 🙂 I just had to do a little entry on them!
      I read that 5 Mark story as well. Magical!
      With big celebreties you never know what is truth or image or if one of the trainers maybe needed some extra cash …
      We will never know! I wonder who is going to replace our big entertainers? It seems there are more and more passing and many these days are forgotten after a few years. Well, Britney was fun for a while but she’s no Whitney

      1. Oh not at all Jeanine – I was thinking you would do a post for two reasons: they were German but more important, their style was a bit kitschy. In a good way. I’d have loved to see one of their shows. A lot of performers lost their job after the Montecore attack which was sad – it was a perfectly choreographed show. That was evident from the video you showed. I think there was a special on them I saw one time – may have been some of those clips as they said “ABC” on them. Whitney had a beautiful voice, style, flair – she was a woman and I think of Britney as a girl next to her. Too bad for Whitney’s choice of men … it was her downfall and to an extent her daughter’s as well.

  3. Although I can in no way agree with their use/abuse (in my opinion) of animals for entertainment over the years, the world will certainly be a duller place without two such eccentric characters!! 🖤🖤

    1. I guess it was different times when they started out … Not that this is an excuse. There are animal free circuses today. But you’re right, the world will be a duller place. All the bid entertainers slowly passing

  4. That’s really sad, I didn’t know much about Seyfried and Roy, glad they got to be together as a couple in the end and sounds like aside from the mishap with the lion they were pretty happy together Farewell to them both

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