Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy Dies Due to COVID-19 Complications

Roy Horn, a part of the famed duo Siegfried & Roy, passed away on Friday, May 8, 2020, at the Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas. Roy was 75 at the time of his death when he passed away due to coronavirus related complications. Horn is survived by his brother, Werner.

In late April 2020, ABC News had reported that Roy had tested positive for Covid-19 but was responding well to treatments. Siegfried Fischbacher, the surviving member of the magical duo, released a statement saying, “Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend. 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.” You can check out the entire statement below.

The duo was a mainstay on the Las Vegas strip for over a quarter-century. They were known for their illusions and work with big cats. Roy was a masterful showman born in Nordenham, Germany, during the Second World War. He became interested in animals at a very young age, caring for his childhood dog, Hexe. Later, Horn gained access to the Bremen Zoo, through the founder, Emil, who was Ron’s mother’s friend’s husband. There, he began to love exotic animals.

However, Ron started off working as a steward on a cruise ship, when he met Siegfried, the magician. Reportedly, Ron had asked the latter if he could make a cheetah disappear, and Siegfried had said that anything was possible in magic. Of course, the latter didn’t know the former had smuggled a cheetah on board and the two were reportedly fired.

The duo began performing all over Europe and was discovered in Paris. In 1967, they started having shows in Las Vegas. However, it was only in 1989 that the two started the lavish act at the Mirage. The largest theater, at that time, in Las Vegas, sold out nightly, and their gig ran for 14 years. Notably, the Mirage hosts the Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy animal attraction to this day.

Siegfried & Roy’s act included over 55 white tigers, jaguars, white lions, leopards, and an elephant that appeared and disappeared. However, Roy’s career came to an abrupt end in 2003, when Mantecore, a white tiger, bit his neck and carried him offstage. Despite suffering grave injuries, including a severed spine, Roy went on to tell People that he’d suffered a stroke, and Mantecore was trying to save his life.

Eventually, Roy had to relearn how to talk and walk and managed to continue traveling and appearing at events. In 2004, their act led to a short-lived television series, ‘Father of the Pride.’ February 2009 marked the duo’s final performance, and on April 23, 2010, Siegfried and Horn retired from the show business. The Hollywood Reporter noted in June 2016 that the duo was planning to produce a biopic documenting their lives.

Despite Roy’s tragic demise in these troubling times, his contributions, along with Siegfried’s paved the way for magic shows to be embraced as evening entertainment in Las Vegas. You can check out a tweet by Penn Jillette, famed magician, and entertainer, mourning the loss of Roy Horn and musing about his legacy.


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