Roy Horn biography
Roy Horn was born on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, Germany. Horn joined Siegfried Fischbacher to become the magical act Siegfried & Roy, putting on headlining Las Vegas shows for almost three decades. In 2003, Horn was mauled onstage by one of the tigers used in the act and suffered major injuries. He has since recuperated and retired, and the duo reunited for a final appearance in 2009.
Animal trainer and stage performer Roy Horn was born on October 3, 1944, in Nordenham, Germany. As a young boy, Horn spent much of his time with a beloved half-dog, half-wolf named Hexe, an animal whom Horn claimed once saved his life. During the war, Horn found solace at the Bremen Zoo, where he befriended a two-year-old cheetah. After months of communicating with the animal through its cage, he gained permission to feed him and take him for walks.
In 1957, while working as a waiter on an ocean liner, Horn met Siegfried Fischbacher, who was working as a steward while performing magic tricks on the side. Horn volunteered to be Siegfried's assistant and soon the pair was collaborating, upping the ante from making a rabbit disappear to vanishing a cheetah. For the next five years, they performed throughout Europe, playing for little money. They eventually received their big break while performing at a casino in Monte Carlo, where a scout spotted them and invited them to do their act in Las Vegas.
Siegfried and Roy have been combining magic tricks with tiger stunts in Las Vegas for more than 30 years, at first with shared billing and eventually as their own show. In addition to their hugely popular performances, they are active preservationists of rare white tigers and white lions. The duo has created a special compound outside of Las Vegas for the birthing, care and conservation of these animals.
Tiger Attack and Retirement
In October 2003, the show was brought to its knees when a white tiger brutally attacked Horn during a performance, leaving the trainer in critical condition. The show was closed down indefinitely following the incident. A year later, Horn remained partially paralyzed, but continued to insist that the animal was not at fault. He claimed that he fainted on stage and that the 380-pound tiger was only trying to help him by dragging him off stage. By September 2005, Horn was walking on his own, a recovery many called miraculous.