LEGENDARY MAGICIAN SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER
PASSES AWAY FROM CANCER AT 81
LAS VEGAS — Siegfried Fischbacher, whose 50-year collaboration with Roy Horn created “Siegfried & Roy,” the most successful magic act in history, died last night at his home in Las Vegas from pancreatic cancer. He was 81.
Siegfried was preceded in death by his performing partner, Roy, who died of complications from Covid-19, in May.
Together, Siegfried & Roy rose from war-torn Germany to become world-renowned stars of stage, film and television, combining their spectacular illusions with rare animals. Their four-decade run in Las Vegas included 14 years at The Mirage where they ushered in a new era of Las Vegas entertainment, setting unparalleled attendance and box office records.
Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim, Germany, on June 13, 1939. The purchase of a magic book as a young child set in motion a life-long love for the art of magic. Even after his performing days were finished, Siegfried could be found daily at The Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage, creating wonderment for the fans with a simple coin trick and always taking time for a photo.
Fate brought Siegfried & Roy together aboard the TS Bremen cruise ship in 1957. Working as a steward and entertainer, Siegfried enlisted Roy, the captain’s bellboy, to assist during his nightly magic show. After the show, Roy asked the question that changed both of their lives: “Siegfried, disappearing rabbits is ordinary, but can you make a cheetah disappear?”
After a pause, Siegfried said, “In magic, anything is possible.” Unbeknownst to him – and the ship’s captain – Roy had smuggled his pet cheetah aboard the cruise to join the act.
So began a 50-year entertainment odyssey, where Siegfried’s unique ability to create and perform complicated magic at lightning speed was the perfect complement for Roy, a perpetual dreamer with unmatched on-stage flair and a mystical connection to their beloved animal family. Their complementary skills created a live entertainment phenomenon unlike anything that came before and that continues to influence live entertainment everywhere to this day. And above all, it was their joy in bringing magic to their legions of fans that continuously drove them to create new and more magnificent illusions.
“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.”
Siegfried & Roy began in Las Vegas in 1967 as a 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.
Siegfried & Roy’s legacy lives on at The Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy at The Mirage.
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).