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Magicians Remember Roy Horn

Siegfried & Roy in their heyday, left to right.
Associated Press

Siegfried & Roy in their heyday, left to right.

Roy Horn, one half of the animal and magic act Siegfried & Roy, helped revolutionize Strip entertainment and paved the way for other Las Vegas illusionists 

Horn, who died last week at 75 from COVID-19 complications, started playing in Las Vegas in the 1960s and helped the then-new Mirage become a success in the 1990s. Siegfried & Roy’s large-scale production values influenced later shows in ways that can be seen today.

"The best way to describe Siegfried & Roy is if you put a Cirque du Soleil-scale production with magic and exotic animals at the center," longtime Las Vegas entertainment writer John Katsilometes told State of Nevada. "It was a spectacle that was fit for the entire family."

The act also kindled interest in magic in Las Vegas, boosting the careers of other illusionists.

“Without Siegried and Roy there would never have been Lance Burton,” said longtime Strip headliner Lance Burton.

Burton recalled seeing Siegfried & Roy perform on the “Merv Griffin Show” from Las Vegas and how that inspired him to become a magician.

“And so I wanted to come to Las Vegas from that early age,” he said.

Burton also said Siegfried & Roy's signature white tigers helped raise awareness of preserving endangered species.


Lance Burton, magician;  Murray Sawchuck, magician; John Katsilometes, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.