Siegfried and Roy.
They’ve been doing this for you know, 30 years and never had an incident and now all of a sudden they had an incident.
They’re like, whoa, this is not typical.
Michael Game is the police detective with the Las Vegas counterterrorism unit.
He is investigating whether the tiger attack wasn’t an accident.
So everybody I think was just kind of like something had to happen.
So what we were looking at was did somebody in the audience do something to cause the animal to react differently than it was normally known to react?
Is it the right way to frame it that somebody may have tried to use a tiger as a murder weapon?
Well, I would put it that way.
I mean, that’s not something I’m willing to state, but could you imagine if we were to come out with something like that?
We’d be inundated with major news up and down the strip.
Did you consider whether this might be an inside job?
I mean, trust me, you were always looking at other motives other than what the number one thing everybody thinks occurred.
You have to, because if you don’t you’re going to miss something.
So that was OK.
So that’s a question we have, you know, is there a disgruntled employee?
Michael interviews various crew members, animal trainers, and dancers to see if they might have been involved or if they know anyone who might.
Some of these interviews prove challenging well when you’re dealing with employees of a corporation.
It’s expected they’re going to be a little guarded.
And only answer questions the way they want to answer is because they don’t want to get themselves in trouble.
OK, this will probably get me in trouble.
Ladies and gentlemen, the superstars of magic some mystifying, the Most Outstanding Act in show business.
Big Frieda, Siegfried and Roy, Siegfried and Roy High, I’m Siegfried, and I’m Roy Roy.
He said no to montecore, no, no, no.
No people have agendas.
You know they were entertainers.
They became big business and they were responsible for.
Awful lot of people.
This is wild things Siegfried and Roy.
So I had been on the show now about six months.
And I was told by our dance captain, he said, hey, if you wanna go up and watch the opening number you know just make sure that you’re down by the 2nd number of the show.
I was like thumbs up I’m going to go up to the light booth to watch in 2000.
Brad Barnes begins dancing in Siegfried and Roy show at The Mirage.
Months into his new job, he is still learning his way around backstage.
So on my way back the door was closed.
And it said do not open till after the laser field.
I’m like I have no clue what this means.
So of course I open this door and I go through it.
Well come to find out shortly thereafter there is a tiger that comes out of the ceiling and what’s called a crystal chamber, and then Roy takes the tiger out, runs it around the passerelle up this ramp into this hallway.
Well, the door that I went through was across through of this hallway so I could have come in contact with the big white tanker.
Obviously I got called to office in between shows and they were like if you had come in contact with that tiger.
It could have been bad.
I actually had to go and apologize to Mr.
Calling them Mr.
Roy, I think you know that’s just what everyone called them.
It was a way to acknowledge the respect, but still be on a playful, fun level.
Listening to Brad.
I keep wondering whether anyone working for the magicians could possibly hold a grudge.
Mr Roy was incredible like he was so much fun we would always go into his dressing room and he’d be like telling me your joke.
I used to watch the monitor during the balloon illusion and then after the balloon popped he would run off stage left and so I was just kind of put my hand up and he would high five it as he ran by.
I was like Oh my gosh like it made me feel like I belong to something.
In the illusion Brad is referring to, a large balloon appears floating in the theater.
Roy then holds a torch to the balloon and pops it, suddenly revealing Siegfried.
As a child.
I dreamed of floating inside a balloon that dances in the sky.
Mr Roy was so friendly but oh Mr Siegfried.
Yeah he he was a little more reserved whenever he would try to quit smoking he would come and kind of just like wander around because he was trying to do anything but smoke a cigarette and so he would walk into the boys dressing room and he would just kind of lean over your shoulder and just kind of look at you in the mirror as your opinion your face.
You wouldn’t say anything and then you were just kind of look at him and you would be like I was just agreed.
Are you OK?
And he was like yeah he would leave sigfried his personality.
He was more of the the calm, subdued person while Roy was the young kid running around and screaming and jumping and all that good stuff.
Silver and Roy.
They were fun characters.
They were fun guys who work for Everett.
Taylor is also a dancer in the show.
He and Brad made his cast members.
I was really surprised about like how we all came together and just the family oriented Ness of it.
It was, you know, it was really astonishing in between shows the guys would always make me dress up and drag and make me do a show in the girls dressing room in the boys dressing room.
Sometimes run back and forth to secretin Roy’s room.
Just being crazy.
We even make the straight boys put on dresses and stuff sometimes so.
I think there was maybe three or four straight boys that were in the show with us, but majority of us we were all the gays took over.
And when I look back at it like I wish I could just go back to that.
Hearing Everett and Brad, it’s obvious how much fun is going on behind the scenes.
At no point do I get the sense any of Siegfried and Roy’s dancers would be involved in planning a life threatening attack, and until now, I’ve also never heard anyone reveal just how essential the dancers are to the magic itself.
For the most part, the illusions don’t happen because of Siegfried and Roy.
The illusions happen because other people are doing it.
You know, you’re watching Siegfried and Roy and the boys are the ones that are, like you know, pulling the triggers.
It’s kind of the hey look over there.
Don’t look that way.
Look this way.
Difference between my role and the other dancers is that I was in close proximity with Siegfried and Roy at that time.
So if something was on stage or had to deal with something with them, I was the main person that was with them.
I was the first one who entered the showroom.
I was the first one who stepped on stage.
Everett plays the part of lead illusionist.
In that role was predominantly an African American male, and that’s the way that secretin Roy wanted it and that’s how they kept it for years to come.
Everett is not the first black man to step into this role, and the fact that this part is typically played by a person of color shouldn’t be taken for granted.
It was really hard for men of color and women of color to getting to shows back then, only because there’s only a certain amount of spots that they filled for each show, which is a hard thing.
So sometimes you have to wait for someone to leave to actually get seen or even get into the show.
So I ended up working at a strip club and shaking my booty for a little money.
I think it was six months into stripping when they posted up having an audition.
Everett takes over the lead illusionist role from a man named Tony Mitchell.
Although everyone in the show says the cast feels like a family, Tony is one of the only cast members that Siegfried and Roy treat like actual family.
How did it feel to replace Tony?
I was actually really grateful.
You know, within cigarette and Roy’s family like with what we call a legend.
So it was an honor to replace him.
It was written that Tony was gonna be famous and some kind.
You know how you could just tell?
He’s always wanted to be a lead on the stage.
Corless Holiday Williams is Tony’s first cousin, growing up together in Las Vegas.
Corliss thinks of Tony less like a cousin and more like a brother.
In the late 1970s, Tony joined Siegfried and Roy Show as a dancer.
Everything that he could be came on.
This stage was always a dream for him.
Tony invited us out the whole family out to see they showing him that frontier.
So we we we met them then for you know with the whole big family.
But everybody that was around Mr Reynold was devoted to them because they treated you like them.
Tony lives on a property.
Siegfried and Roy own, which is near their jungle Palace estate.
While he lives there, Tony continues performing in the show until the 1990s, when a nagging old injury catches up with him.
He had a bad knee from when he was younger, but he still danced on it.
He panicked while having surgery and scratched his esophagus.
He just got sick from there on.
He was just in too much pain.
From time to time, cast members rotate in and out of the show, but Tony is such a long standing key player that when he leaves in 1998, people outside the show take notice.
As Tony battles a serious respiratory illness, Siegfried and Roy continue looking after him.
Anything Tony needed.
They took care of Tony.
He was sick a year and when it just looked like he wasn’t getting any better.
He was being taken care of at home.
And then he finally passed away.
It bothered the whole Las Vegas area ‘cause he was part of the show.
It was sad.
When Tony passed away, it was devastating to them.
I mean, I I was there and they cried harder than me.
They were devastated.
I was replacing Everett who was replacing Tony.
Tony, he was this featured performer kind of a.
I actually never met Tony but he was from my understanding.
Was this larger than life charismatic kind of an elite illusionist?
If you will in the show.
And then he was replaced by Everett and in both of them just physically huge men of color.
Dancer Michael Davies joined Siegfried and Roy Show in 2001.
They hired me and Jason took me aside.
Jason was a dance captain and he said, look, you weren’t quite what they were looking for, but you’ve got this spot for now.
So make the most of it.
In time, Michael develops a rapport with Roy.
There’s a moment where I have to very quickly get to stage left before the curtain comes back up, and Roy he would everyday tackle me like physically tackle me and it became like this wrestling match where we would we would fight to try to make each other late to their position before the curtain came up.
And you know, sometimes I’d hold him to the last second and then let go, and I’d have to run to my spot and sometimes he’d be holding me.
He created a lot of.
Fun moments with performers backstage that were, you know, just unique to them.
Right to the very last show, he was super physical and he never eased up.
Michael is still performing in the show on October 3rd, 2003, the night of the Attack.
Nearly one hour into their performance, the theater lights go dark and Roy begins walking across the stage.
He leads montecore by a leash.
AS2 spotlights illuminate them.
So Roy is able to take Monocor out behind some of the audience members that are watching the show and it kind of gives that sense that that moniker is actually in the middle of the audience.
That moment is actually just meant to be a very sweet moment where Roy, you know, gets to sort of introduce the audience to manacor.
This is magical and tonight this is first appearance at provenance.
Part of the illusion there is.
That moniker is presented as being a new cat, when in actuality had been doing the act for many, many years.
Called the Rapper Act.
This routine is intended to highlight Roy’s bond with his animals during other parts of the show.
These powerful animals are generally kept in hidden restraints, but during the Rapport Act there’s only a short thin leash at the climax.
Moniker is trained to stand up on his hind legs and place his front paws on Roy’s shoulders so it looks like a gentle, slow dance.
But tonight something about this routine just doesn’t seem right.
From off stage, dancer Michael Davies can’t see anything on stage, but he’s listening attentively.
After three years of performing in this show, he knows exactly what’s supposed to happen next.
Once the curtain is down in your backstage, it’s black like you can’t see the hand in front of your face and that night they’re actually there was a long pause in his monologue, and we heard kind of clicking or something, and we just sort of stood there.
We it was.
We had no idea what was occurring.
Seated in the audience, Denise Burns has a different vantage point.
Even though she’s never seen the show before, she can sense that something is wrong.
I guess the tiger wasn’t doing something that he wanted him to do.
I’m not sure what that was, but Roy did seem to be disciplining him.
What he did, it was just a small little tap with the microphone.
And at that point when Roy was doing that, he just kind of dropped to the ground, almost like he just fainted.
And when that happens, Roy was completely limp.
He did not seem conscious after the tiger carried him off stage.
You could see a couple stagehands running from one side of the stage to the other.
We thought, oh, it’s part of the show.
It has to be part of the show.
They’ve been doing the show for 30 years.
Siegfried came out and he seemed a little frazzled.
Not the strong confident person you see during the performance and he said I’m sorry folks, the show is over.
But nobody left the auditorium at that point.
And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, I’m sorry the show is over.
I think everyone was just a little confused at what happened.
Even with hundreds of eyes focused on the stage, there are conflicting reports about what happens between Roy and Monocor.
Many are left wondering why the tiger behaves in this way and leaves the magician fighting for his life.
Did someone provoke the tiger, and if so, could it really be an inside job?
On December 22nd, 2311, weeks after the attack, Roy finally leaves the hospital.
Although he is no longer breathing on a ventilator, he can barely move and can only communicate by writing notes in army of doctors and nurses filed in and out of the duo’s home all day, while security escorted friends with a big iron gate, he will continue his rehabilitation under care of a team of doctors and specialists, neighbors and fans tell us they’ve been waiting patiently for this day since the tragic tiger attack decided to have him back in the neighborhood and it’s neat to see the the neighbors here put up a shrine.
Form and everything Roy’s recovery will take significant time, speech therapy and physical therapy will become his full time job with the show closed, the duo finds other ways to keep busy.
He is 6 feet away at The Mirage is now closed.
However, Siegfried and Roy have been collaborating with our friend Jeffrey Katzenberg.
DreamWorks DreamWorks, based on the contract we’re going to have.
The father of the bride, which starts its a television series on NBC, starts in September.
Your voices are not but.
People who try to him it with the accent.
Yeah, in order of the show he will create a fantastic new trick.
I am not exaggerating when I say it will be the greatest experience humans have ever known.
In May 2004, less than six months after Roy leaves the hospital, the media gathers at Radio City Music Hall for a preview of NBC’s primetime lineup.
To promote further the Pride Siegfried and Roy speak via satellite.
Hi, I’m Siegfried, and I’m Roy.
And welcome to the Radio City Music Hall.
Roy and some reporters say that the ROI they see on screen is struggling to move.
But others who are watching, such as neurologist Doctor Alan Siegel, express optimism he seems fluent and able to be witty.
So fortunately, this didn’t really seem to affect his speech.
He may not be moving his left arm very much, but recovery is really almost a lifelong process, and he’s not anywhere near the end of his rehabilitation as Roy continues recovering at home.
NBC promotes father of the pride with a media blitz, including commercials.
Aired during the 2004 Summer Olympics, NBC Tuesday.
Get pumped up front.
All new father of the pride.
Careful with the steel.
This is a huge investment for NBC.
The network is on the hook for most of the production costs, which total at least an estimated $25 million.
But a dark cloud still hangs over the show.
It’s been nearly a year since we first heard the shocking news that Siegfried and Roy Roy Horn had been attacked by one of his tigers since that time.
Horn, who was very lucky to be alive, has made few public appearances and hasn’t granted any interviews until now.
Maria Shriver was given exclusive access by Siegfried and Roy.
To support the premiere of father of the Pride, NBC airs a primetime special called The Miracle, hosted by Maria Shriver.
It will feature an exclusive, inside look at Roy’s recovery.
Here’s Maria promoting the special on the Today show.
When I saw him for the first time, I think the feeling was just sheer joy to see him sitting there to see him alive.
To know that I could talk to him, to know that he was still Roy Horn, does he look like the Roy Horn jumping through the air on wild animals?
No, does he still have the same personality as he still Roy Horn, yes.
Some of the duo’s other friends are less hopeful about the ROI they encounter.
The only thing I could say to him was I’m so terribly sorry.
During Roy’s recovery, illusionist Rick Thomas receives an invitation to the Jungle Palace.
Arriving, he is taken aback by what he sees.
Siegfried was there.
Roy was in wheelchair, truly unable to move.
I mean he he you know he was on stage.
He was glitz, glamour and rock in the world.
And now he’s in a situation where he asked to show the world that I’m half the man.
I used to be.
And that may be cliche, but how do you handle that mentally?
That was the moment I turned to Roy and said I’m so sorry and there had to been a week in his eye.
Just as it was when we first met.
And him saying, I understand, I understand because there was nothing else I could say we both knew.
And I just said I’m sorry.
Listening to Rick describe this private moment, I wonder how Siegfried is holding up through all of this.
Watching his friend and partner of 40 plus years get attacked on stage, nearly die in the hospital and now struggle to speak.
Cannot be easy.
The only thing I saw in Siegfried was his love for Roy.
I don’t think he cared about anything else at that point.
I know that he realized that.
That they had.
And the life that they went through the Tigers.
The show their success, their failures, whatever it is.
That in the end, what happened with Roy just brought it home for Siegfried as well, and that he had family and it was Roy.
And I could see it.
I could see that all he cared about was Roy.
In the interview, Siegfried says you know if it turns out that Roy can’t use his left arm.
I’ll be his left arm and I think that kind of says it all.
Watching the miracle I have to say that all this emotion feels genuine, but then the duo offer an explanation about what happened that night and it’s more than a little puzzling.
He says the tiger was actually protecting him.
You’ll see what he says on the show, but you have to stay tuned.
I just remember a lot of that.
A lot of those moments where they were saying things that were so antithetical to what really happened, or what anybody who was there at the time had said had happened like 14 and a half million viewers.
Journalist Steve Friess watches the special when it airs in September 2004 for people who are crafting.
A narrative about their careers and their shows.
I think that the idea that there was a really tragic accident that ended a legendary career, it just didn’t seem to them to be a fair or poetic way for them to go out.
But the miracle represents only the latest evolution of their story.
Four days after the attack on October 7th, manager Bernie Yuman shares his perspective with Katie Couric.
Roy has always protected his audience.
I believe that Montecore was looking in a way that only Roy could detect was was not healthy.
And he did, you know, move to put himself between Montecore and and the public and that really put Roy out of his routine.
But the very next night.
Bernie and Siegfried go on Larry King and claim that moniker did not actually attack Roy.
If the animal would attack Roy.
Roy would be no more.
After 10 seconds you know.
I mean he, you know Montecore was helping save his friend to take him to safety.
That’s it there.
This is not an attack.
This was not a mauling.
This was over a decade later in 2014, Roy Embellishes the story even further when speaking with Entertainment Tonight.
Although his recovery has been miraculous, he still has issues with his speech.
Who got a stroke on a fold down and I’ve seen it blue eyes still looking at me I bought now forever so he did for every costume and she is a little he picked me up at the neck and for him to come.
Well yeah I was you would be brain dead.
You’re saying the doctors saying that had montecore not relieved with the pressure you would not have lived yeah could have been vegetable then I had still operation I die clinically three time on operation paper.
But you’re still here on kicking, alright?
Well, I was barely able to speak, but the ease with which they got on the television and said, oh, the tire was trying to save us and consistently added new little rise to the big guy and made it more outlandish and yet more detailed at the same time.
Well, that comes from a lifetime of lying about a lot of very important things in their lives, and also the fact that they were illusionist.
And so then when it became a thing where they were lying about something that actually could have hurt a lot of people.
That tiger clip of it very easily jumped off the stage and act people.
All of that is unimportant to them because they’ve got to keep us facade.
Their whole lives were facade.
And then when this tiger incident occurred, it was an extension of that.
Even as conflicting accounts or publicized on TV Detective Michael game with the Las Vegas PD’s, Homeland Security division is still establishing a possible motive.
He’s curious if the attack is actually the result of a crime orchestrated as an inside job.
Interviewing eyewitnesses he hears something odd about monikers behavior.
There were people on stage who worked there to mention the tiger sneezed.
And I think that is why they thought that something was sprayed.
Did somebody spray something that caused the animal to react?
You know, did somebody reach up and do something to the animal?
Did you know ‘cause we don’t know?
We we, we weren’t there at the time and but then when you realize all right, that’s a possibility.
Sure, then we just go into full investigative mode.
Well, that was going to bring me up to my next question, which is, why does a tiger sneeze?
When we talk to people who deal with animals, there are certain scents and different things that might make the animal react.
Say it was a a female lion scent that would make a male lion act in a different way or another scent of another animal.
This is actually a plausible theory a few years before the 2003 tiger attack, the actress Demi Moore visits the Tigers at The Mirage, something many celebrities do.
But that day, Domies perfume excites one of the Tigers who is actually monikers brother Johan, later animal trainer Chris Lawrence says he was quote UN quote, scratched up pretty good, trying to settle the tiger after this incident.
So that’s what you’re looking for.
Is there any strong odors?
Was there any like pheromones?
You know animal pheromones that will make them react in a certain way, so you’re that’s why you’re kind of asking different questions like that.
Particles in the air can only travel so far, so Michael examines where the attack happens in the theater in the hopes of identifying an audience member who may have sprayed something.
He begins hearing the rumor of a mysterious woman.
She’s been described as standing 6 feet tall with a beehive hairdo, a style popularized in the 1960s.
It’s an unexpected look for 2003, which is why it draws suspicion from within that was mentioned in our initial meeting.
They were specific about what table that that female was sitting at, and I mean those tables they’re within, you know, 6 feet of where this occurred.
If you’re sitting there at that table, you aren’t you going to notice somebody with Beehive hairdo, so you were told specifically there was a woman with a beehive.
Yeah, we knew what table they thought she was sitting at.
You go to interview people.
At that table you go hey, do you remember anybody sitting at your table with a beehive hairdo?
And hey, did you notice any strong odors?
Do you remember anybody at the table doing anything suspicious?
So did you see anybody reach up towards a animal and unfortunately, time we get involved.
Everybody we had a talk too unless they were locals.
They were already gone out of the city.
So I remember talking to people all over the world.
Actually, we even talked to the female that they say had the Beehive hairdo.
And what do they say specifically asked her?
Were you wearing a beehive hairdo that day?
Did she almost sound offended that you even suggested she had a beehive hairdo?
Are you kidding me?
He just answered a question for you.
She’s like no, I.
I think she actually had a photo of what she was dressed like that night because they were out.
You know, it was a special occasion.
Whatever she’s from out of town and she sent us pictures of herself and she don’t have enough hair to have a beehive hairdo.
Michael hits what seems like a dead end because it is.
He finds no woman with a beehive hairdo and no evidence of an inside job.
But I’m less interested in how that lead dies than where this strange theory even came from and what perpetuated it beyond the police investigation.
Rumors spread about this lady with a beehive hairdo.
Audience member Denise Burns, who witnesses the attack in person, can’t believe anyone would actually take it seriously.
I think that some of those conspiracy theories that are out there, like the woman with the beehive are crap.
I mean, that theory alone just makes me really angry, because are you kidding me?
You can’t come up with anything better.
Which makes it even all the more bizarre it is ever investigated by a counterterrorism unit.
And did they tell you why they thought this woman had a beehive hairdo, or where this theory came from?
No, I remember just telling massage and the Lieutenant ain’t nobody had a beehive hairdo.
I don’t know where this beehive hairdo thing is coming on, and they’re like, OK, we don’t need to deal with it.
And as far as we’re concerned, boom, we don’t care where it came from, we just disproved it.
My team and I bent over backwards trying to determine the origin of this unusual lead.
Initially, the only thing we found is a news broadcast with KL Astf, the local CBS affiliate in Vegas.
The segment which airs on October 10th, seven days after the attack, features Steve Wynn, the billionaire casino magnate who built The Mirage.
During his interview, Steve says, quote UN quote.
For whatever reason, moniker was fascinated by a woman with a big hairdo at ringside.
That same day, another interview with him airs on CNN, in which he mentions the lady with a hairdo.
Again, we reached out to Steve Wynn, but his executive assistant told us quote UN quote now that Mr Wynn is now a private citizen, he will not be commenting, so he contacted Bobby Baldwin who was the CEO of The Mirage at the time.
After weeks of being pressed for an answer.
Bobby finally reveals that he first shared this theory with the police.
I made the suggestion he tells us based on my review of the tape, Bobby wanted police to confirm the attack was an accident and quote UN quote, not something else.
I can’t say for sure whether Steve Wynn heard about the Beehive hairdo woman from Bobby, but conspiracy theories are a lot like wildfires add oxygen, and they spread.
National media quickly picks up the story.
Steve Wynn was going on about this beehive hairdo and, you know, I gotta say that it was surprising nobody’s gonna believe that.
And then they they did, people did.
I can’t say what, if anything, motivates Steve Wynn to talk publicly about the Beehive hairdo woman.
But during that CNN interview, he shares his take on what happened that night.
The tiger didn’t attack Roy, that’s for sure.
Journalist Steve Friess believes that anybody would ties to Siegfried, and Roy would have a vested interest in diverting blame.
It fit perfectly into what was happening, which was that there was this effort to protect the legacy of the show.
Protect their images.
So yeah, they wanted to control a narrative and they did sound like them.
On some level I can understand the need to do a bit of damage control, even if Siegfried and Roy might never perform again, there’s still a money making brand.
The Mirage keeps selling tickets to The Secret Garden.
Siegfried and Roy’s animal habitat.
But if it seems absurd to suggest there may have been a terrorist plot to transform a tiger into a murder weapon, well, then I should probably tell you that only a matter of months after the tiger attack Siegfried and Roy became the target of an altogether different kind of violence.
Next time on wild things Siegfried and Roy.
Have iconic individuals who represent Las Vegas who have been the victim of a crime.
He looked up at me and I could see his shotgun.
There was definitely a concern that this individual was out there, armed, dangerous.
Why would somebody wanna shoot at Siegfried and Roy?
While things Siegfried and Roy is an ample original podcast produced by Atwell Media, our producer is Alexanders Oslo.
Story editors are Matt Hickey and Mandy Gorenstein.
Our editor is Rachel Lightner.
With help from Andrew Goldberger and Margaret Warner, is our associate producer.
Adele Sparks is our archival producer, and Ashley Taylor is our line producer.
Fact checking by Sona Avakian our original music in main title are by Robert Kiesewetter, Anjana Bechtolt audio post production by 1000 birds.
While things Siegfried and Roy is executive produced and written by me, Steven Lockhart, our executive producer from Atwell Media is will malnati.
The Atwill media team also includes Dominica, Beckwith and Ruby.
Be legal services provided by Samuel Bayard and Sean Gordon with representation by Oren Rosenbaum at UTA.
Listen and follow on Apple Podcasts.