Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn, whose collaboration with Siegfried Fischbacher created the world-renowned duo Siegfried & Roy, died of complications from COVID-19 today in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 75.
Together, Siegfried & Roy redefined live magic by combining remarkable stagecraft with rare and endangered animals. In doing so, the duo created the modern era for Las Vegas entertainment.
“Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend,” said Siegfried. “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”
“Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days. I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy’s life.”
The duo never defined their relationship for the public but over time they became known as “former lovers and lifelong friends.”
Born October 3, 1944 in Germany, Roy developed a connectivity to animals from an early age, beginning with his beloved wolfdog Hexe and his pet cheetah, Chico, which he adopted from the Bremen Zoo.
While working as a steward on a cruise ship, Roy assisted in a performance of Siegfried’s magic act. After the show, Roy asked the question that changed both of their lives: “Siegfried, disappearing rabbits are ordinary, but can you make a cheetah disappear?”
After a pause, Siegfried said, “In magic, anything is possible.” Unbeknownst to him – and the ship’s captain – Roy had smuggled his pet cheetah aboard the cruise.
So began a 50-year entertainment odyssey that took Siegfried & Roy around the world, breaking box office records from Japan to Radio City Music Hall. But it was their four-decade-long run in Las Vegas that established them as global superstars.
Siegfried & Roy started in 1967 as a featured act in notable Las Vegas revues “Follies Bergère,” “Hallelujah Hollywood” and “Lido de Paris.” They grew to headliners in “Beyond Belief” at the New Frontier in 1981.
But the duo became a Las Vegas “destination” of international renown with their precedent-setting, 14-year run at The Mirage that began in 1989.
The $30-million production – unheard of at the time – sold out the then-largest theater in Las Vegas history nightly. The expectations for live entertainment, especially on all the stages of the Las Vegas Strip, were forever changed the moment the show opened.
In their good vs. evil spectacle of lights, sound, and never-before-seen spectacular magic, the duo introduced the world to their extensive animal family – more than 55 white tigers, white lions, leopards, jaguars — even an elephant – that appeared and vanished with mesmerizing speed and panache.
Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage became a must-see for all Las Vegas visitors and hundreds of notable personalities including Presidents, royalty, Hollywood and sports stars, and dignitaries from all walks of life.
Their creative vision ultimately grew to include film, television and books, and Siegfried & Roy continue to share their magical world with millions of visitors at the Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage.
On October 3, 2003, Roy’s performance career ended when one of his white tigers, Mantecore, reacted to what Roy believed was a stroke and dragged him off the stage.
Roy mystified all medical experts by surviving the incident, and its complications, to live a full and rewarding life after the show ended. He traveled the world, visited his animals daily and could be seen attending shows and philanthropic events in Las Vegas.
From that night on, Roy referred to Mantecore as “my lifesaver.”
“Roy’s whole life was about defying the odds,” added Siegfried. “He grew up with very little and became famous throughout the world for his showmanship, flair and his life-long commitment to animal conservation. He had a strength and will unlike anyone I have ever known.”
Roy is survived by his brother Werner Horn, his animal family, and of course, Siegfried.
(via press release)