LAS VEGAS - Siegfried Fischbacher, whose 50-year collaboration with Roy Horn created “Siegfried & Roy,” died Wednesday night at his home in Las Vegas from pancreatic cancer. He was 81.
Siegfried died just a few months after his long-term partner, Roy Horn, died at the age of 75 because of COVID-19.
Siegfried & Roy was one of the top-grossing acts on the Las Vegas Strip for more than a decade.
They were the masters of magic but their star attraction was their famous lions and white tigers.
Hotel mogul Steve Wynn bought the amazing duo to The Mirage hotel-casino in 1990.
The pair performed at The Mirage for 13 years until Roy Horn was badly injured when one of the tigers in the show dragged Horn off of the stage by his neck.
"First of all, we have been a very good team. Siegfried and Roy. And the way how it always worked was we challenged each other."
Siegfried was born in Rosenheim. Germany, on June 13, 1939.
He purchased a magic book as a child and began to practice. In 1956, he moved to Italy and found work at a hotel.
Eventually, he began performing magic on the ship TS Bremen. That is where he asked Roy and asked him to assist him during a show. The pair was reportedly fired after they brought a live cheetah on the ship. After that, they began working on a cruise line based in New York.
“We did what we did out of love, not for success or money,” Siegfried once said. “We had a deep respect for each other. We literally raised each other: I created Roy and Roy created Siegfried.”
From there, they moved onto the European nightclub circuit and was discovered by Tony Azzie in Paris, France. He asked them to come to Las Vegas in 1967.
The pair got their start in Las Vegas as the featured act in notable Las Vegas revues “Follies Bergère,” “Hallelujah Hollywood” and “Lido de Paris.”
They became headliners in “Beyond Belief” at the New Frontier in 1981. But the duo became a Las Vegas “destination” of international renown when their precedent-setting, 14-year run at The Mirage began in 1990.
The $30-million production – unheard of at the time – sold out the then-largest theater in Las Vegas history nightly.
In their good vs. evil spectacle of lights, sound, and never-before-seen magic, the duo introduced the world to their extensive animal family – white tigers, white lions, leopards, jaguars -- even an elephant – that appeared and vanished with mesmerizing speed and panache. Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage became a must-see for all visitors to Las Vegas.
Although the pair did not perform for a Las Vegas audience again, they did perform in February 2009 with Montecore, the tiger who injured Horn, at a benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. On April 23, 2010, they officially retired from show business.
The duo would still appeared in public on occasion in Las Vegas and Siegfried was often spotted at Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage hotel-casino.
Funeral services will be private with plans for a public memorial in the future.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (www.keepmemoryalive.org).