LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — Siegfried Fischbacher, one half of the note stage magic act Siegfried and Roy, died on Wednesday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 81.
According to multiple media reports and statements from his family, Fischbacher died from pancreatic cancer after he recently underwent surgery to remove a tumor. He was released from the hospital earlier this month and had been receiving hospice care in his Las Vegas estate at the time of his death.
His longtime partner, Roy Horn, died in May from complications caused by Covid-19.
Born in Rosenheim, Germany, Fischbacher developed an affinity for stage magic at an early age when he saw a how-to manual in a local shop.
“My eye caught something in the window; it was a book on magic,” Fischbacher related in a biography posted to the duo’s website “I knew I had to have it. I can’t explain, even now, why that was. All that stood in the way was five marks — for me a fortune, a fortune for any little boy in Germany in 1947.”
He met Horn, who would become his professional and personal partner in 1957 while working as an entertainer on the cruise ship TS Bremen. Fischbacher recruited Horn, who was working as a bellhop on the ship, as an assistant for his magic show.
What followed was a five-decade partnership between the two performers.
According to Fischbacher, it was Horn who introduced what would become the duo’s signature – the use of big cats – into their act.
“Siegfried, disappearing rabbits is ordinary — but can you make a cheetah disappear?” Horn reportedly said before revealing that he had smuggled a cheetah onto the ship.
In 1967, after touring Europe for years, the duo joined a series of revues in Las Vegas before they landed a gig as headliners in “Beyond Belief” at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in 1981.
Nearly a decade later, Siegfried and Roy were featured as headliners in a groundbreaking lavish production at the Mirage that cost a reported $30 million to bring to fruition. The show was an immediate success and the duo continued to perform at the Mirage for another 13 years, while paving the way for other high-profile residencies to follow.
In 2003, Horn was attacked on stage during a performance by one of their tigers and suffered extensive and near-fatal injuries, including a severed spine. The attack effectively brought an end to their career although they returned to the stage in 2009 for a benefit for Montecore, the tiger who attacked Roy.
The following year, they officially retired from show business and retreated to their lavish mansion in Las Vegas.
After the death of Horn earlier this year, Fischacher said: “From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”