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OBITUARIES / PASSINGS / Alberto Zoppe

Circus equestrian, Ring of Famer

March 16, 2009|TIMES STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

Alberto Zoppe, 87, whose somersaults from one horse to another helped him earn a place in the circus world's Ring of Fame, died March 5 in Greenbrier, Ark., of respiratory failure, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Zoppe immigrated to the United States in 1948 in a trade with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, his wife, Sandra, said. In exchange for Ringling sending an elephant to the Zoppe circus in Italy, Zoppe would perform in the U.S. He often worked with Pascha the Wonder Horse, who lived to 38, was housebroken and could answer questions with a shake of the head or the stomp of a hoof, Zoppe's widow said.

Giovanni Alberto Zoppe was born in Italy on Jan. 4, 1922, and had performed equestrian acts since his youth in the family circus.

In 2007, Zoppe was inducted into the Ring of Fame at Sarasota, Fla.

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news.obits@latimes.com

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