Secrets of the Zapashny circus dynasty: man-eating tigers, injuries in the arena, broken fates
Secrets of the Zapashny circus dynasty: man-eating tigers, injuries in the arena, broken fates
Edgard Zapashny in the circus arena

April 2 marks 91 years since the birth of the famous Soviet circus artist, tiger trainer, a representative of the legendary circus dynasty Walter Zapashny. He passed away 12 years ago. The speeches of Walter, as well as his sons Askold and Edgard, were probably seen by many, but what happened behind the scenes is hardly known to the general public. What deadly incidents happened to predators, and who from the circus dynasty ended up behind bars, ruining someone else's life and breaking their own destiny - further in the review.

Walter Zapashny with his wife and sons Edgard and Askold

The founder of the legendary circus dynasty at the beginning of the XX century. became Mikhail Zapashny. He came to the circus literally from the street - the port loader was courting the circus artist Lydia Thompson and once accidentally caught the eye of the famous wrestler Ivan Poddubny. He drew attention to the good physical shape of Mikhail and advised him to try his hand at the circus arena in the genre of French wrestling. So Zapashny became one of the most famous power acrobats in the USSR. His sons Mstislav, Walter and Sergei followed in his footsteps, creating the acrobatic show "Zapashny Brothers".

Walter Zapashny with his sons Edgard and Askold

Walter Zapashny was a famous trainer. He became the first to jump on horseback and brought 38 predators into the arena at the same time. Walter's sons Edgard and Askold became famous as tiger tamers. They have taken the circus show to a new level, complementing their performances with video installations, lighting and pyrotechnic effects. Their cousin Mstislav, the son of Walter Mstislav's brother, also performed in the circus.

Walter Zapashny, who was called the indomitable tamer

Of course, working with predators carries a lot of dangers. And in the fate of each of the representatives of the Zapashny dynasty, there were incidents that ended tragically. When Edgard and Askold were small, a tiger attacked their grandfather Mikhail Zapashny and tore his arm off. From the introduced infection, gangrene began, and the trainer died in the hospital.

Walter Zapashny during a speech with the same Bagheera, who once almost bitten him to pieces

During his debut performance, Mikhail's son Walter was attacked by the tigress Bagira, almost paying with his life: in front of the public, the predator pressed him with his paws and strove to bite his head. The trainer pushed his head deeper into the tigress's mouth, so that she could not close her jaws. As a result, Walter Zapashny received more than 40 lacerations, 26 of which were on the head, and a spinal injury. He spent 2 months in the hospital. And later it turned out that Bagheera turned out to be a cannibal - earlier she bitten the wife of the previous trainer and repeatedly attacked people. But Walter did not let the tigress be put to sleep and continued to work with her. As a result, she became his favorite and the prima of the attraction, who performed 64 tricks in 20 years! Later, Walter Zapashny's pets obeyed him implicitly and carried out his commands not only in the arena, but also on the set: his tigers starred in the films Dersu Uzala, Three Plus Two and Ruslan and Lyudmila.

Famous trainer Walter Zapashny Walter Zapashny with his wife and sons Edgard and Askold

When Edgard Zapashny was asked about the most dangerous situation in his circus career, he replied: "".

Walter Zapashny during a speech Famous trainer Walter Zapashny

Trainers admit that predators always have to be on the lookout, and they cannot afford to relax before a performance - to avoid potential dangers, you need to be as focused as possible. Although, according to Edgard, the very belonging to the legendary circus dynasty helps them to perform successfully: "".

Walter Zapashny with his sons Edgard and Askold Edgard Zapashny in the circus arena

Scandals and conflicts often broke out in the large Zapashny family. The cousins ​​never got along, once in an interview, Edgard admitted: "".Edgard and Askold perform at the Zapashny Brothers Circus, and Mstislav is pursuing his own career, without interfering with his cousins.

Edgard Zapashny in the circus arena Edgard Zapashny in the circus arena

Another cousin of Edgard and Askold, the son of Sergei Zapashny, Valery, committed suicide in 2004 by hanging himself in a room at a circus hotel in Kursk. For many, this news came as a complete surprise: it was known that the artist was experiencing financial difficulties, since the number he had prepared with the bears was disbanded. Valery had a conflict with his uncle, the head of the Russian State Circus Mstislav Zapashny, because of which he could not start his own circus business. However, his loved ones did not notice the oddities in his behavior and were shocked by what happened.

Jump of Askold Zapashny astride a lion Askold Zapashny with his daughters and brother

The youngest of the sons of the founder of the dynasty, Mikhail Zapashny, Igor also chose the circus profession and became an acrobat. According to family acquaintances, of all the brothers - Walter, Mstislav, Sergey and Igor - the youngest was the most shy. All the more incredible and terrible seemed to everyone the tragedy that broke his fate and circus career. Igor Zapashny's wife was his colleague, the acrobat Olga Lapiado. Quarrels often broke out in their house because of her husband's jealousy, and when Olga starred in 1963 in an episode of the film "Pomegranate Bracelet" and she had even more fans than in the circus, Igor completely lost his head from jealousy. After another scandal, Olga decided to leave the family and announced this to her husband, after which he suddenly grabbed a knife from the table and inflicted 20 wounds on her. After the murder of his wife, Igor surrendered to the police, was convicted and sentenced to death. But thanks to the intercession of his brother, Mstislav Zapashny, the capital punishment was replaced by 15 years in prison, and his brothers were "restricted to travel abroad" for 13 years.

Brothers Edgard and Askold Zapashny

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