Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried & Roy, dead at 81

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Siegfried Fischbacher, the Las Vegas icon who spent decades performing magic opposite his longtime partner, Roy Horn, has died. He was 81 years old.

Siegfried & Roy, as the pair became popularly known, met aboard a cruise ship in 1960. At the time, Roy worked as a waiter, while Siegfried had joined the crew as a magician. Roy began assisting Siegfriend, and the rapport between the pair generated an immediate following. They began touring Europe using Roy’s pet tiger as a prop in the act. By 1967, the pair had caught the eye of booker Tony Azzie, who invited the pair to Las Vegas.

Related: 10 Years After Vicious Tiger Attack, Siegfried & Roy Still Making Magic Together, Albeit Off Stage

By the 1980s, Siegfried & Roy had become an international draw. Their mix of magic and exotic animals–tigers, elephants and lions–made the pair two of Las Vegas’ biggest entertainers. They continued to perform there until 2003, when a tiger attack left Roy Horn scarred and disabled.

Siegfried & Roy seldom discussed their personal lives, but did at times acknowledge that they were gay and had been a couple through at least part of their careers. The pair remained together, with Siegfried caring for Roy after his tiger accident, until Horn’s death in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Newsweek reports that Fischbacher died of pancreatic cancer, just eight months after his longtime partner.  “A malignant tumor was initially removed from Fischbacher in a 12-hour operation but it was found to have already spread in his body,” the magazine states. ” Fischbacher was released from the hospital at his own request and returned to his Las Vegas home where he was cared for by two nurses before his death.”

In addition to the pair’s longtime work as magicians, Siegfried & Roy devoted a large portion of their time and fortune to the preservation of wildlife, specifically rare white tigers and lions. The two constructed a $10 million compound devoted to the conservation of the animals.