ESiegfried Fischbacher made his last appearances almost five months ago. With a hair-dryer, a royal blue jacket and a show pose, the Rosenheim native, the blonde from “Siegfried & Roy”, opened the street on the Sunset Strip in Las Vegas that was named after the magician duo. In the Hotel Mirage, to which the Siegfried & Roy Drive now leads, the illusionist couple from Germany celebrated their greatest successes – and with their white tigers they were the main attraction of the Gambling City for almost 13 years.
“Las Vegas has always meant a lot to Roy and me. If he could be here today, he would be as touched as I was to find our names here again, ”said Fischbacher, remembering Roy Horn at the end of August when the street was named. The entertainer and tamer, who was born as Uwe Ludwig Horn in Nordenham near Bremen in 1944, had died three months earlier in his adopted American home after being infected with the corona virus.
A crowd puller
Fischbacher and Horn, a good five years older, settled in Las Vegas at the end of the sixties. After years on cruise ships, Horn as a page, Fischbacher as an entertainer, they wanted to prove themselves in the desert city. Fischbacher, who grew up in the Rosenheim district of Kastenau, had already practiced magic tricks as a child. As has been reported again and again, he is said to have tried to get the attention of his father who had returned from a Soviet prisoner-of-war with the show. After training as a weaver, Fischbacher moved to Italy in the mid-1950s to entertain tourists in hotels. In 1960, he met Horn on one of the cruise ships on which he later made a guest appearance.
The illusions with big cats and flamingos, with which “Siegfried & Roy” had already performed in Bremen, Paris and also in 1966 in Monte Carlo at a charity event of the then Princess Gracia Patricia for the Red Cross, soon inspired the American audience. The engagements in hotels like New Frontier and Stardust followed in 1989 a contract with the hotelier Steve Wynn, who had the Mirage built for 630 million dollars in the late eighties. In an attempt to make the desert city, known for sex and gambling, more family-friendly, the bustling businessman relied on entertainment for several generations. “Siegfried & Roy” with their white tigers and lions seemed ideal to make Wynn’s Mirage, which included a theater built especially for the two magicians, a crowd puller.
From 1990 onwards, the two attracted several thousand visitors every day in front of the hotel theater stage. Optical illusions, shows and the harmony between big cats and humans sold around ten million tickets. The Society of American Magicians accepted the illusionists into its “Hall of Fame”, and in 2004 the German Magical Circle honored them with the title “Magician of the Century”. In total, the illusionist couple made almost 44,000 appearances.
On the evening of Horn’s 59th birthday, October 3, 2003, the successful show suddenly came to an end. The tiger Montecore attacked the illusionist under circumstances that have not yet been clarified. The animal horn rammed its teeth into its neck in front of the audience before it dragged its lifeless body off the stage. Horn survived, but remained paralyzed on one side. Fischbacher’s partner is said to have suffered constant pain until his death last May. Although Siegfried & Roy’s stage career was over, they stayed in Las Vegas. Her estate “Little Bavaria” always attracted fans who hoped to meet the magicians by chance. After Horn’s death eight months ago, Fischbacher is said to have rarely left the property.
A few days ago it became known that the magician was suffering from pancreatic cancer. As the “Bild” newspaper reported, Fischbacher is said to have had a tumor removed in a twelve-hour operation in December. After his discharge from the hospital, he was cared for by two hospice nurses in his “Little Bavaria” property. Siegfried Fischbacher died there on Wednesday at the age of 81.