Circus Ring of Fame Wheel Plaque

Albert Rix

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 1999

Circus Profession: Bear Trainer

Born: 1920

Died: 2001

Albert Rix Circus Ring Of Fame Foundation inductee

Albert Rix’s early circus years were full of adventure. His trained bears
danced to jazz music and did handstands and other tricks for snacks. In 1950,
they were booked in Madison Square Garden as “The only feature of
its kind on Earth.” He even appeared with his
“educated” bears in the 1952 Cecil B. DeMille film,
“The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Later in life, he was
recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the breeding, care and
training of show bears. Asked the secret of his success, his daughter Susan
said, “It came from his heart.”

Rix was 13 when he
learned to train bears at the renowned Stellingen Zoo in West Germany. During
World War II, he narrowly escaped death when he missed a circus train
steaming across war-torn Europe. The train — and all the animals on
board — were destroyed. Drafted into the German army, he went to
the Russian front, where he was shot and captured.

He met his wife, Maria,
while recovering in Germany. The couple came to the United States with the
circus in 1950 after one of the Ringling brothers spotted his act. Leaving
the circus in 1962 to start his own show and bear breeding farm, he worked
for years creating the leafy refuge for his collection of Syrian brown bears,
polar bears, swans and other animals. “He always loved
animals,” his daughter Jeanette Rix said. “His whole life
was around the bears.”