Although a 2003 tiger attack ended the show business careers of high-profile magicians Siegfried & Roy, the duo told ABC in a recent interview they lived with no regrets.
Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn lived on a sprawling estate in Las Vegas, Nevada, and occasionally made their way into the public eye. Siegfried performs impromptu magic acts at the Secret Garden, a place Roy called “home,” according to 20/20.
Roy Horn remained partially paralyzed from a 2003 tiger attack, which damaged his windpipe and an artery which carries blood to his brain. The reason behind the attack was never officially solved, according to USA Today. The couple contends Montecore the tiger (which is also spelled Mantecore) was reacting to Horn suffering a mini-stroke onstage and dragged him to an area where paramedics could treat him.
The men had a long history together. They met early in life on a luxury liner, TS Bremen, where they both worked. Siegfried started performing magic acts on the ship after trying out his tricks for the crew. He met Roy, who had experience with exotic animals, and asked him to join him in his performances. Thus, Siegfried & Roy was formed. They were both born in Germany during World War II. Roy Horn’s mother went into labor during Allied bombings on her town. You can read more about their backgrounds here.
ABC 20/20‘s Siegfried & Roy: Behind the Magic originally aired September 27, 2020 as the season 42 premiere. The episode is airing again Friday, April 17, 2020 at 9 p.m. EST.
Here’s what you need to know:
Siegfried & Roy Sent a Warm Message to Their Fans During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Siegfried and Roy sent a warm message to their fans during the coronavirus pandemic. Mitigation efforts for COVID-19 have forced people throughout the world to stay home, spend time away from their friends and family and practice social distancing. Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn recognized that many people were at home watching ABC 20/20 and the encore episode of the Siegfried and Roy special while they were away from loved ones.
“For those watching tonight’s #ABC2020, Siegfried and Roy shared this message of love and support during the coronavirus pandemic,” ABC 20/20 wrote on Facebook.
Siegfried and Roy said “the real magic” is that caring for one another will keep others safe and healthy. They further wrote that they are looking forward to the day when everyone can “hug each other safely again.” Tragically, Roy Horn did not live to see the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
The message said:
Everyone in the United States and around the World impacted by this health crisis remain in our prayers.
We know the real magic in all of us caring, cheering, loving, and thanking one another will return everyone to good health and happiness.
We can’t wait until it is possible for all of us to hug each other safely again.
Love to all,
Siegfried & Roy
Siegfried & Roy Live on an Estate in Las Vegas & Often Meet Visitors at Their Secret Garden
Siegfried & Roy lived on an estate in Las Vegas called “Little Bavaria.” It was specially equipped for Horn, who was partially paralyzed from a 2003 tiger attack. The sprawling estate has hip-high railings designed for Horn to move around. He could only walk short distances and had trouble talking, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Siegfried and Roy remain “almost inseparable,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. They made frequent appearances around Las Vegas for charity events and productions.
Siegfried & Roy also made appearances in their Secret Garden, sometimes dazzling visitors with on-the-spot magic tricks, according to 20/20. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at Mirage Las Vegas is home to white tigers, white lions, leopards and bottlenose dolphins, including a baby bottlenose dolphin.
“When I go to the Secret Garden, I meet the people from all over the world,” Fischbacher told 20/20.
Roy Horn told the ABC when he is in the secret garden, he is home.
German Filmmakers Will Release a Biopic About Siegfried & Roy
Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn will be the subjects of a biopic film, which began filming in 2017. The film is directed by Nico Hofmann and written by Philipp Stölzl. Stölzl is known for his work on North Face in 2008, The Physician in 2013 and Young Goethe in Love in 2010. The film has not yet been given a title, according to IMDB.
The movie’s description on IMDB says, “The real life story of two incredible men who had nothing in post-war Germany defying all odds to become the most successful act of all time. This biopic will show how two young boys lived out their dreams and became the world famous Masters of the Impossible. It will also show how they continue to work today to protect and save tigers as well as many other precious animals from extinction through their humanitarian conservation efforts.”
The film will be expanded into a multi-part docu-series for TV, according to ABC.
Siegfried Doesn’t Miss Show Business & Has No Regrets
Despite the sudden and tragic end to Siegfried & Roy’s Las Vegas show, Siegfried told 20/20 he doesn’t miss show business. He said his life as a high-profile magician left him with no time to focus on anything else.
The show had a bleak end when Roy Horn was attacked by a tiger on his 59th birthday on October 3, 2003, in front of a live audience in Las Vegas. The attack left him with a broken windpipe and a damaged artery carrying blood to his brain. He remained partially paralyzed from the attack and had trouble speaking. The reason for the attack was never solved after several theories were ruled out in a two-year investigation, according to USA Today. Siegfried & Roy repeatedly said the tiger, Montecore (sometimes spelled Mantecore), was only reacting to Roy suffering from a mini-stroke onstage and tried to save him, dragging him to safety. Chris Lawrence, a trainer, told The Hollywood Reporter he thinks the tiger attacked because Roy did not spend enough time bonding with Montecore and changed the routine from what was practiced. Siegfried & Roy have denied this.
“If I had to do everything again, I would do everything the same way,” Siegfried told 20/20. “I regret nothing.”