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Beware of lion

Beware of lion

Dec. 29, 1974:  Leo was a 650-pound lion who lived at the Las Vegas home of Siegried and Roy.  The photo, by Los Angeles Times staff photographer John Malmin, accompanied a profile on the longtime Vegas duo by staff writer Charles Hillinger that began:

LAS VEGAS – Residents of a quiet neighborhood in this gambling capital are awakened every morning by a bloodcurdling roar.

No one gets uptight. It’s only Leo.

Leo, a 650-pound, 5-year-old lion, is one of five large cats living at the home of Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn.

The other animals are Sarah, a rare Siberian tiger; Radscha, a Bengal tiger; Sabu, a black panther; and Sasha, an African leopard.

Signs on gates leading to Fischbacher and Horn’s backyard warn:

‘Beware of Dog.”

The two men have no dogs — just the lion, tigers, leopard and panther.

“The signs are for the burglars,” laughed Horn, adding:

“We’re lucky. No one has tried to break into our place yet.”

Lucky for the burglars. They’d never come out alive if they tried. …

The popular Siegfried and Roy Las Vegas act continued until 2003, when Roy Horn was seriously injured by a tiger.  The pair returned for a final performance in March 2009.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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4 Comments

  1. January 4, 2011, 10:47 am

    Charles Hillinger was my father!! I have an original of that photo, that hung in my room when I was a little girl! Thanks for sharing. Brought a tear to my eyes. My father was an amazing writer, husband and most of all, a wonderful dad! XOXO

    By: torimae
  2. February 19, 2013, 2:00 pm

    is it possible to get a print of this somewhere? Love this image.

    By: staevestaev
  3. February 20, 2013, 11:29 am

    You can submit a request to purchase a print via this link. http://latimes.mycapture.com/mycapture/photoReque

    By: Alan Hagman
  4. October 19, 2014, 3:01 pm

    Do not support the personal ownership of exotic animals. Big cats don’t belong in backyards, traveling circuses, or roadside zoos. HR 1998 and S 1381, Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, is intended to help curtail the breeding of these big cats for commercial purposes in the United States and, thus, hopefully, reduce the number of wild cats in private ownership.

    Exotic animals should not be bred for the commercial trade. They cannot be properly cared for in private homes and often aren’t cared for by so-called wild cat trainers. Additionally, exotic pets pose a dangerous threat to their owners, neighbors, other pets, and livestock. The events in Zanesville, Ohio, prove this, as do past tragedies such as Travis the chimpanzee, who attacked a friend of his owner’s, and a bear near Cleveland, who killed his owner’s employee. These animals remain wild despite living with people and need the type of environment and care that can rarely be provided by individual hobbyists. These animals are also likely to pass zoonotic diseases when kept in close quarters with humans.

    Contact your senators and representatives and let them know you want to see HR 1998 and S 1381 brought to the floor for a vote this legislative session.

    By: Jovana

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