Rumors of the Original Roy: by Joe Oesterle

siegfried_roy_tiger_1_rNo one who claims it to be true can prove it, but just about every Las Vegas local has heard the rumor of the death of animal-trainer/magician and the darker haired half of the Siegfried and Roy shows, Roy Horn.

The rumor goes like this; during the mid-80’s “everyone” had noticed how thin and sickly the pair of prestidigitators had become. There was talk the duo (who have never openly discussed their sexuality) were lovers, and had contracted the deadly AIDS virus. In a desperate bid to cure themselves of the fatal disease, the duo closed their wildly popular show for an undetermined period of time, and flew to Europe.

Their publicity department said the magicians were given an invitation to meet the Pope in Rome, but many who buy into this piece of dark gossip claim that was merely a cover story for their true reason for the continent-hopping vacation.

The real motivation behind this excursion across the Atlantic (according to those supposedly in the know) was that Siegfried and Roy intended to receive full blood transfusions. Purging their bodies of the lethal epidemic, and leaving them once again healthy enough to entertain, the two would be robust enough to perform their physically demanding act in front of hundreds of thousands of patrons, and continue to rake in the millions.

The tale turns grim at this point, as it appears the operation only cured Siegfried, leaving Roy dead on the surgeon’s table. The distraught surviving sorcerer, not wanting to give up the act, or the money made from it, immediately scuttled off to Germany in search of a cousin of Roy’s who was about the same age, coloring and build.

Siegfried gave the unsuspecting European a crash course on animal training and illusion, a piece of the action, and treated Roy’s relative to a complete surgical makeover, so as to resemble late Roy Horn as closely as possible.fake-roy

Upon returning to the states, there was some talk about how different both of the spell-casters looked, but especially Roy. Most dismissed it as routine cosmetic surgery. Not uncommon in a town that can be unforgiving to aging performers, but a few held to their claim that there was something noticeably off about Roy.

Fast forward 17 years later and “Roy” is mauled nearly to death by a white tiger named Montecore.

Is this because it wasn’t the real Roy at all, but rather a stand-in who had been riding an almost two decade long lucky streak, cavorting about the stage with 600 pound man-eating beasts?

Some say yes.

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5 thoughts on “Rumors of the Original Roy: by Joe Oesterle

  1. Back in the mid to late 1990’s, I read a news paper article about the death of Roy Horn. A day later my father asked if I had seen the article, I said that I had and was sorry to hear the bad news, the family had just seen the show in Vegas a year before. Go forward a few years to 2003 or so, and my wife and I are in Vegas and we see a billboard advertising the Siegfried & Roy show. I call my father to tell him the news and he is astounded, thinking Roy is dead. I talk to several people around Vegas and they know nothing about Roy’s death. Now I would swear on a stack of bibles that I read that news story about Roy’s death. My father would confirm it, so would my wife. This is very strange indeed.

    1. I just heard this information concerning Roy Horn’s death a couple of weeks ago on KFI radio. I went to Youtube and looked at some “early” pics of Roy in his younger days and compared them with pics of the present Roy – they are clearly NOT the same man ! ! ! !

  2. Harry, if you ever do recall which newspaper you read this in, please drop me another email. Very interesting. – Joe

  3. Cheryl, curious which show you were listening to on KFI. I check out that station from time to time. Anyway, it is pretty strange to look at the “younger” Roy and compare him to the Roy who was mauled by the tiger. I suppose they could be the same man, after tons of cosmetic surgery, but there is plenty of room for doubt.

  4. So you’re telling me they made the AIDS just….disappear?! Haha, magician jokes.

    But honestly, I don’t think that’s how AIDS works, and even then, there is no possible way they could have gotten some life threatening disease without someone knowing.

    Also, I have the most curious feeling that the animals would have killed “Roy” long before Mantecore attacked.

    Also, Siegfried was devastated when Roy was hurt. That wouldn’t be the same emotion for some sordid cousin, even if they were friends.

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