Yellow, red and black text over a photograph of a blond man holding a large cat over his shoulders
Gunther Gebel-Williams was a famous circus performer and animal trainer, known for his work with big cats (primarily tigers) and elephants. After 11,697 performances with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth, Gebel-Williams went on a widely publicized Farewell Tour in 1989-1990, after deciding to retire from circus performing due to health issues.
Gunther Gebel-Williams has been called, “The most celebrated circus performer of his generation”. He first began working in circuses at the age of 13, when his mother took a job as a seamstress at a German circus called Circus Williams, after World War II. Gebel-Williams worked for Circus Williams for the next two decades. In 1968, Gebel-Williams agreed to bring his large animal act to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the United States, where he became a true show business super-star. Gunther Gebel-Williams was well-known during his circus career for his talent and charisma in the ring. He appeared on numerous television shows and specials. After retiring from performing, Gebel-Williams continued to work for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey as Vice President of Animal Care. He died from a brain tumor in 2001.
Jando, D. (n.d.). Gunther Gebel-Williams. Retrieved from http://www.circopedia.org/Gunther_Gebel-Williams