The death of Siegfried Fischbacher also marks the end of the journey of the legendary magician duo “Siegfried and Roy,” which began on board a cruise ship.
Claudia Sarre, ARD Washington Studio
No Siegfried without Roy – no Roy without Siegfried. For decades, the two magicians Siegfried and Roy only existed as a double act. Siegfried Fischbacher from Rosenheim and his partner Roy Horn from Nordenham made show history with their spectacle of magic and big cat dressage in Las Vegas.
Magic was his life
“I don’t know what was the secret of our success. We were a very good team. And we challenged each other,” Siegfried Fischbacher told ABC in an interview. Even as a young boy, he liked to practice magic tricks: “When I was eight years old, I showed my father my first magic trick. And he said, how did you do that?”
Magic became his life. Siegfried met his partner Roy on board a cruise ship in the 1960s. Both earned their living in service. Siegfried was allowed to perform magic to entertain the guests; Roy had secretly brought a cheetah on board.
“We are like thunder and lightning”
Together they organized a performance. That was the starting signal for a fairytale career. After they were guests of Princess Gracia Patricia in Monaco in 1966, there was no stopping them. Shows followed at the Lido in Paris, in Hollywood and in Japan. And always Siegfried was the magician and Roy the tamer of the big cats.
Siegfried and he were very different, Roy later told ABC in an interview. “We’re like water and fire. Like the clash of titans. We’re like thunder and lightning.”
Their fairytale career peaked in 1990. They established their own full-length magic show at the Hotel Mirage. Included are the famous white tigers, white lions, a giant white snake and even an elephant.
The end comes with the tiger attack
For 30 years – six days a week – the two celebrated a spectacle of light and magic. Until Roy was suddenly attacked and critically injured by a tiger during a performance in 2003. That was the end of the magician duo Siegfried and Roy.
Roy never really recovered from his severe injuries. In May of last year, he died as a result of a Corona infection. In Las Vegas, a street was named after them after his death: The Siegfried and Roy Street. “You know, Roy always had big dreams. And this is one of them,” Siegfried told me at the time, speaking of an honor that usually only comes to you when you’re dead.
It only recently became known that Siegfried Fischbacher had pancreatic cancer. Until the end he lived on his estate “Little Bavaria” near Las Vegas. There he also died. Siegfried Fischbacher was 81 years old.