The Showbiz Greats Taken by 2021

It's only January, but 2021 has already taken several of our showbiz greats including Siegfried Fischbacher of magic duo Siegfried & Roy, and Gerry Cottle dubbed the last of the great circus showmen.

 

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn

 

Magician and illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher, of Siegfried and Roy, died on the 13th January after succumbing to cancer. He was aged 81.


Alongside his partner Roy Horn, Siegfried became famous for doing large scale stage magic and illusion shows using tigers and other big cats.


Initially a cruise ship and nightclub act, they spent much of their early career performing throughout Europe including stints in Paris and Monte Carlo.


By the 1980s they'd added Puerto Rico, Hollywood, and eventually Las Vegas (where they would eventually settle) to the list of places they'd travelled their show.


From 1990 until Roy's career-ending injury when he was attacked by one of their tigers, Montecore, on October 3, 2003 (Roy's birthday), the duo formed Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, which was regarded as the most-visited show in Las Vegas, Nevada, and earned them a staggering $50million per year.


Montecore the tiger died on March 19th 2014.


Roy Horn died last year on the 8th of May after contracting Coronavirus. He was 75.


 
 

Gerry Cottle died after contracting Coronavirus aged 75. Photo credit: Rex Features

 

British circus impresario, Gerry Cottle, has died at the age of 75 after contracting coronavirus.


Described as the last of the great circus showmen, Gerry Cottle died in hospital in the city of Bath on the 13th January 2021.


Cottle’s agent, Mark Borkowski, announced the death and said that he would never forget all the mad adventures they had together.


And those adventures started for Gerry at just 15-years-old, when he ditched his O-levels and literally ran away to join the circus. This was 1960.

In 1970, aged 25, Gerry Cottle put on his first show. It had just 5-performers, including himself. Last year, in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, Cottle described that first show as terrible and explained that after just 8-weeks he was forced to close it down as it had taken no money.

But it wasn’t long before he was back, and within a few short years had transformed his “terrible show” in to one of the largest, and certainly the most famous, touring circus in the UK.


In 2003 Gerry finally decided to hang up his ringmaster’s hat and retired from circus. But instead of taking it easy, he decided to buy the Somerset attraction Wookey Hole transforming it in to a must-see spectacle complete with its own circus school.

 
 

Magician David Roth unexpectedly died on the 14th January aged 68.


Many reading this might not know who David Roth was. But if you've ever seen a magician vanish a coin or produce one out of thin air you will have witnessed a little of his work.


Roth was widely regarded by many as the greatest coin magician of the 20th century.


Penn Jillet, of Penn & Teller, said: "David wrote the books on this subject, which we've read."


It's not just magicians Penn & Teller that were impressed by David Roth's magic. Over the years he has been awarded by his fellow magicians including winning the Magic Castle's Visiting Magician of the Year in 1974 and Close-up Magician of the Year in 1977. In 1999 he was awarded membership of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star, the organisations highest award.


Magician Craig Petty said in a YouTube video dedicated to David Roth: "He is without a doubt the best coin magician in the world!


"When I found out [he had died] it felt like my entire world had fallen away."


Five-years ago David Roth appeared on the second season of Penn & Teller Fool Us, where it was no surprise that he fried the magical duo with his sleight of hand and walked away with the Fool Us trophy.

 

David Roth's Fool Us appearance from season 2 of the show hosted by Jonathan Ross.

 

The list of high profile, celebrity deaths in 2021 is staggering. Too big for this article to mention them all and happening too fast for us to be able to keep this article up-to-date.


For a much fuller list of those who have past this year there is a dedicated Wikipedia page here.


And to all of you who have had friends and family pass away recently, we wish you all our sincerest sympathies for your loss.

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