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Circus standout Alberto Zoppe dead at 87

Circus standout Alberto Zoppe dead at 87

Alberto Zoppe, whose somersaults from horse-to-horse helped earn him a place in the circus world's "Ring of Fame," has died at age 87.
"He was loved by everyone who knew him, and most people held him in awe because of his stardom," his widow, Sandra Zoppe, said. "He was a great artist."
Zoppe emigrated to the United States in 1948 in a trade with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, his widow said. In return for Ringling sending an elephant to the Zoppe circus in Italy, Zoppe would perform in America.
"Alberto came to America, and enjoyed many years of stardom," Sandra Zoppe wrote in a statement announcing her husband's death.
Zoppe often worked with Pascha the Wonder Horse, who lived to age 38, was housebroken and could answer questions by shaking its head or stomping a hoof, his widow said.
Giovanni Alberto Zoppe was born in Italy Jan. 4, 1922, and performed equestrian acts since his youth in the family circus. He died March 5 in Greenbrier, Arkansas, after entering hospice care.
"The last thing I told him was, 'You know, Alberto, you're going to be so happy because you're going to be in heaven. Jesus will be there waiting with his arms open, and standing right by him will be your mother, and she'll be waiting with a big plate of spaghetti," Sandra Zoppe wrote.
In 2007, Zoppe was inducted in to the Ring of Fame at Sarasota, Florida. Many circuses have their offseason headquarters near Sarasota.
A funeral Mass was said Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Conway, Arkansas, where he had lived since the 1990s. Another Mass will be said at St. Martha's Catholic Church in Sarasota on May 5. Zoppe will be buried in Italy.


Updated : 2021-08-01 00:19 GMT+08:00