White Lions and White Tigers

Two legends that were best known for their appearances with the above mentioned animals are no other than Siegfried and Roy (Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn).

A duo of German/American magicians, both born in Germany however became US citizens in 1988. From 1990 to 2003 they were based in Las Vegas performing as Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino which is noted as the most visited show in Vegas.

Siegfried was working as a magician on a cruise liner, while performing aboard the ship, he met Roy who was working as a waiter and asked him to assist him during a show.

The owner of the Astoria hotel in Bremen saw their act on the cruise liner and recruited the duo to perform at her nightclub.

This launched their career on the European nightclub circuit where they began to perform with tigers.

It was during their stint across Europe that they were spotted and asked to go over to Las Vegas. In 1981 they started the Beyond Belief show at the New Frontier Hotel & Casino.

Fast forward to 2003, which I am sure all of you will know about! During a show at the Mirage on Roy’s birthday (October 3rd) a seven-year-old white tiger named Montecore attacked Roy. As part of the act, but veering away from the script, Roy held his microphone to Montecore’s mouth and told him to say “hello” to the audience.

Montecore responded by biting Roy’s sleeve. Roy swatted the tiger and barked “release!”. Suffering from dizziness, Roy 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 Roy’s neck and dragged him offstage. Trainers got the tiger to release Roy by spraying him with CO2 fire extinguisher canisters.

The attack severed Roy’s spine, resulting in huge 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, Roy stated, “Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to him. He told the People Magazine in September 2004 that Montecore saved his life by trying to drag him to safety after he had a stroke.

The duo continued to work together during Roy’s rehabilitation, including performing with Montecore for a final time in 2009 which was filmed for ABC’s television programme 20/20.

In 2010 the pair finally retired from show business opting for a quieter life.

Sadly in 2020 Roy was diagnosed with Covid 19 and sadly lost his battle at the age of 75 in May.

The world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend

Siegfried Fischbacher

In January 2021 Siegfried announced he had pancreatic cancer, he died 2 days later at the age of 81. Resulting in the magic community losing two legends in a really short space of time.

The Vegas strip’s shone a little brighter to honour one of its adopted sons … lighting up the marquees to honour the late Siegfried Fischbacher

Carol Cooper

Carol Cooper

Married to Antony, Mum to our children. Full time working in media for over 20 years, part time writer and assistant to Antony, which I guess makes me a magicians assistant :-)

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