Did you know that Roy Horn, one half of the dazzling Siegfried & Roy, once snuck a cheetah out of a zoo and on to a cruise ship in a laundry bag? And then proceeded to convince Siegfried Fischbacher to do magic tricks with the cheetah for cruise ship guests? I’ve (embarrassingly) been on my fair share cruises, and the closest I’ve come to a live animal on a ship is the towel art in the shape of an elephant wearing sunglasses I sometimes found on my bed. Needless to say, a live cheetah would have certainly spiced things up.
This little vignette, part of a New York Times profile on Roy Horn is, ostensibly, the origin story of the act that would go on to become one of the most prolific acts to ever take up residency on the Las Vegas strip, Siegfried & Roy. The show, which was canceled after a 2003 incident in which Horn was attacked by a tiger on stage during a performance, had been performed 10,000 times prior to its 1990 opening at the Mirage in Las Vegas, which would become its permanent home. Following the tiger attack, Horn went on to make a full recovery, although the show would never be performed again.
Friday, May 8th, it was reported that Horn died from covid-19 related complications, the disease is caused by the novel coronavirus strain. Horn is survived by Siegfried Fischbacher, who was his partner both on stage and in life, and a brother, Werner Horn.
In memoriam and in honor of a true Tiger King, here are some absolutely incredible pictures of Roy, Siegfried, and some notable guests from back in the day.
First of all this glamour shot, which is the stuff velvet painting dreams are made of.
And before you go on and assume it was all just white tigers, they’ve got this shot of a lion to remind you they were extremely well rounded.
One white lion wasn’t enough you say? Here, try six.
Here come the celebrity cameos, starting off with a very energetic looking Tom Cruise, and Penelope Cruz feeding a hungry little tiger.
I can only hope these Charo and Aaron Carter pictures were snapped in immediate succession.
And remember, it wasn’t just lions and tigers, there was magic happening too!
Of course, no photographic retrospective would be complete without this truly iconic shot of Siegfried and Roy with Elizabeth Taylor. What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when this picture was taken.