Famous Pigeon Fancier Facts

Posted by Dennis Kuhn on April 10, 2012 0 Comments

Below are some famous people from around the world who at one time or another were or still are pigeon fanciers...

Noah - may not have raced pigeons because of the lack of competitors,
but we know he raised them.

Roy Rogers - his pigeons may have helped inspire "Happy Trails" (we
would like to think so)

King George the V

Queen Elizabeth II - The royal lofts are still being maintained today
with Golden Jubilee One Loft Race and a website.

Elvis Presley - (The King of Rock n' Roll) Maybe that famous leg shake
came from watching a pigeon dance.

Ray Price - (country singer) still maintains birds in East Texas

Mike Tyson - (boxer) Flights Rollers and Clean Leg Tumblers) At one
time belonged to the Eastern Tumbler Club. Still has a mixed stock of
many kinds of pigeons

Terry Bradshaw - Champion quarter back (4 times in Super Bowl) for
Pittsburgh Steelers. Now a Sport Commentator.

Marlon Brando - (actor) How many pigeons do you imagine have been
named God Father?

Yul Bryner - (actor) I have seen a Bald Eagle but have yet to lay eyes
on a Bald Pigeon. Kept several fancy breeds including Oriental
Rollers at his home in France.

Tony Curtis - (actor) There is a long held story of two famous actors
chasing big game fishing in the Southwest of Western Australia, the
port of Albany to be exact. Before the whaling station was closed and
probably now almost 30 years ago, there were huge white pointer sharks
frequenting the area and our two actors were allegedly down there
chasing them. Word has it that one of our well known Albany fanciers
was paid a visit by the pair, in their spare time, asking to see his
pigeons. A knock on the door and he opened it to front Lee Marvin and
Tony Curtis.

Charles Darwin - (theorist) Scientist and Author whose writings
include " On the Origin of Species (1859) The Descent Of Man (1871),
The Voyage Of The Beagle (1909)" and a "A variety of plants and
animals under domestication" . Together with Wallace, offered the
theory of evolution. Darwin kept all kinds of breeds and who showed us
that all breeds can be traced to Columba livia, the wild rock dove. He
had a loft with a variety of fancy breeds which he used to experiment
and develop his hypothesis of "Theory of Domestication" using
selective breeding techniques. He was an active member of some London
pigeon clubs, and reference to his pigeons and his scientific results
is published and available on-line. Hans questions whether there was a
"theory of domestication" as such.

Andy Devine - (actor) Reported to have been in the same racing pigeon
club as Roy Rogers.

Walt Disney -Famous for his "white" birds. They were some of the
original Belgian Pletinckx of the early '60's. They are reportedly
beautiful, very fast, and cross well with other strains including
Stassarts, Devriendts, and Janssens .The lofts are still maintained at
Disneyland in Southern California (Anaheim) and the birds are still
flown & displayed. The lofts there are reported to be part of the
parks original architecture. The loft at Disney World is on the
property. There are also lofts at Disney World in Florida although
here the lofts and birds are maintained by a fancier who lives a short
distance from the park. The California State Racing Pigeon
Organization has a flying award (The Disney award) that was originally
sponsored by him or started in his honor. Walt Disney was awarded the
NPA Levi Service Award for the movie "Pigeon Fly Home".

NOTE:the walt disney world loft was ALWAYS located on property and
maintained by disney employees. But it was closed down about two
years ago due to Hawks.

George Foreman - (boxer) (World Champion Boxer) was very interested in
racing pigeons and did get some from George Girdler in Texas.

Willi Brandt - former German Chancellor, was a keen pigeon fancier.
As a Socialist (Social Democrat) he had to flee Germany under the
Nazis and did so by going to Norway. After the war he returned to
Germany, eventually became mayor of Berlin and ultimately the first
Social Democrat Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler - (boxer) Rollers? Our informant states "Back
in the 70s, I attended a pigeon show at Joe Curran's House in
Worcester, Massachusetts, where I met a young man, named Marvin who
was suppose to be an up and coming boxer. Years later, I was told that
Marvin mentioned his love for pigeons in an interview".

Michael Landon - (actor) produced and starred in the movie "Where
Pigeons Go to Die". It also starred Art Carney. The film was mostly
made in Kansas where they contacted Bill Bonwell, who was then AU
Legal Advisor. Mr. Bonwell and the racing fanciers in Kansas supplied
most of the pigeons for the movie. At the same time Jim Jenner was in
the process of producing "Marathon in the Sky" and Bonwell put Landon
& Jenner in contact with each other. Jenner loaned Landon the aerial
pigeon shots in exchange for Landon narrating "Marathon in the Sky".
He is reported to have been a very avid fancier and flyer.

Alan Jordaan - Manager of the South African Cricket Team (Racing Homers).

Gypsy Rose Lee - (Queen of Strippers) She kept Fantails

Irene Brown - who keeps Homers and Danzig Highfliers. She's famous for
her studies upon pigeons. (Cornell University, NY, USA)

Lee Marvin - (actor)

Willie Mays - (baseball player) U.S. Baseball Player. I don't know if
Willie had, or has pigeons, but he appeared in ad that ran in the
Pigeon Debut, for the Flight Club around the New York City area.

Monet - (artist)

Wayne Newton - (actor) Or as he is called here in Las Vegas, Mr. Las
Vegas. a famous American entertainer that had pigeons as a boy. He had
homers, rollers, tumblers and high flyers.

Pablo Picasso - (artist) who kept Fantails. Picasso loved pigeons so
much that he named his daughter Paloma, which means pigeon in Spanish.
Picasso's father also kept pigeons and specialized in painting the same.

Johnny Otis - (jazz and blues musician) of California. Johnny is a
jazz/rhythm and blues musician, who, along with other musicians of his
era, is credited with developing the beginnings of rock n' roll.
Johnny (around 70 years of age) continues to breed Saxon Fairy
Swallows (Wing Pigeons) and has strong ties with Southern California
Color Pigeon breeders such as Bill Griebel and Leon Stephens. He also
continues to perform his music and was recently nominated for a Grammy

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward - may have been more involved, but
didn't like the autograph hounds, at the one show they attended they
were "swamped" by fans in the showroom. Ms Woodward was very
interested in pigeon racing and competition, but this incident turned
them off.

Clint Eastwood - (actor) At least there was a Clint Eastwood that
raised rollers (maybe still does) but there is some question as to
whether this is the same one as of Dirty Harry Fame.

Scott Baio - (U.S. Actor), Played in TV Show, Happy Days and many
other series over the years. He had flying Flights in Brooklyn with
his dad.

Bles Bridges (Singer), the most well known Afrikaans singer in South
Africa owned some great Stichelbauts (Racing Homers).

Nicola Tesla. - ( American electricity pioneer) He designed the
hydro-electric plant at Niagara Falls for Westinghouse. Our informant
says "I don't think he raised or bred them, but I know he loved
pigeons. He was kicked out of a few high brow Hotels for that, he
would bring in injured birds and try to rehab them in the room. There
are a number of references in the books on this marvelous man. Any way
he was definitely a pigeon fancier."

Maurizo Gucci - (fashion designer) a famous Italian fashion designer.
His products are sold in the most upscale stores in the world. He is
also a fancier of show pigeons who is on record as having paid more
than $10,000 for an American bird.

Jimmy Smits - (actor) US TV show NYPD blues. He is also reputed to
have narrated the second video on pigeons produced by Jenner "our
oldest feathered friend". He made an appearance at the NPA National
this year. Racing Homers is his game.

Gordan Richards - (top Jockey)

Bill Lawry - Australian cricket captain and one of the worlds top
cricket commentators still races his birds in Victoria, Australia

Bob Guilteon - a Davis cup tennis player. his birds were sought world
wide, his birds bred the champion bird of Taiwan a couple of years ago

The Sultan of Jahore

The King of Belgium - and his family

President Mitterands - or his brother raced - President of France

Andy Capp - famous cartoon character

Prince Bernard - of the Netherlands, Consort of Queen Juliana and
father of Queen Beatrix. Prince Bernhard has his own loft with pigeons
which are raced during the season and also very often show up at
racing pigeon shows, The loft has a special proprietary card with a
little crown on it which shows that that is a pigeon form the royal
loft, these are often sold on charity exhibitions in the Netherlands.
Prince Bernhard is also one of the leaders of the Dutch World Nature
Federation (WNF) which is a sub division of the WWF.

Prof. Herbst - He is a Racing Horse owner and won the biggest and
most prestigious horse race in Africa (the Durban July) this year with
his horse Classic Flag. Made him a Millionaire (again) overnight.

Dr. Willard F. Hollander - who knows more about the genetic make-up
of pigeons than anyone else alive.

Gerald Durrel - Of the Jersey Wildlife Fund who rescued the Pink
pigeon from near extinction. He is perhaps best known as the author of
"My Family and Other Animals".

Jeff Fenech - (World Champion Boxer) Former IBF Bantamweight
Champion, Former WBC Super Bantamweight Champion, Former WBC
Featherweight Champion. Purchased Rollers from Sydney Performing
Roller Club ... Our informant believes his son raises them.

Virginia Graham - U.S. talk show host years ago. Breed unknown

Karl Hagenbeck - who kept all kinds of breeds at his zoo in Hamburg,
Germany. Hagenbeck was the first or among the first to do away with
cages at his zoo, using moats instead.

Boet Troskie - Famous for the movie he made "THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY"

Suleiman the Magnificent - who kept fancy breeds at his palace in
Instanbul, Turkey.

Alexander Alexandrovich Romanova III - the Batiushka-Tsar of Russia
kept his pigeons in a house like a small palace at Gatchina until his
sad and surprising death in the Crimea in 1894. These pigeons were
named "Ostanski Golubi" and "Pokrovski" that he acquired from his
brother Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich Romanova after watching them
fly as the young Tsarevich at Tsarskoe Selo.

The Counts Orloff - of the early part of this century (Russia). They
imported rare(r) breeds of pigeons from the Middle East and parts of
the Russian empire and are credited for having "maintained" them.

Samuel Pepys - Diarist and one of the most important naval
administrators in England's history

Senator Hilaire La Haye, Secretary to the Belgium Govt, he named his
birds after prominent members of the Belgium Govt, his gold ring of
Belgium ** monsieur Spaak ** he gifted to Marcel Desmet in the early

Barney, The big purple dino on Sesame street
Trevor Barker, ( Trevor was a champion footballer and also played
cricket at the top level, he died of cancer a few years ago, a true
gentleman, Des )

Champion St Kilda footballer and captain, in the Victorian Football
League kept and raced pigeons right up to his untimely death a few
years ago

John Scadden who was a premier of state Western Australia, a premier
is like an American State Governor

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