Famed magician and big-cat tamer Siegfried Fischbacher, who performed for decades as half of the entertainment duo Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage in Las Vegas, has died at the age of 82.
Fischbacher was at home in Las Vegas recuperating from a “12-hour operation” to remove a malignant tumor, reported German publication Bild.
“I take my brother with me in every one of my prayers, and I am deeply connected to him,” his sister Dolore told Bild.
Horn died nine months ago at the age of 75 following complications from the coronavirus. In a statement at the time, Fischbacher said, “The world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend. 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.”
In addition to their outsized act, the magicians are remembered for a 2003 incident in which Horn was attacked by a 400-pound white Bengal tiger named Montecore during a Siegfried & Roy performance at the Mirage. The attack ended the long-running residency.
Fischbacher and Horn met while working on a cruise ship in 1957, reported the U.K. Daily Mail.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak called Fischbacher “a ‘master of the impossible’ and an exemplary Nevadan whose contributions—alongside the late, great Roy Horn—helped shine a bright spotlight on Las Vegas’s entertainment industry to the world.”
In the March issue of GGB Magazine, authors Andrew Klebanow and Arte Nathan explain how the Siegfried and Roy show at the Mirage changed entertainment in Las Vegas by allowing the general public to get a chance to sit in the best seat I the house without having to bribe the maître d.
“The Mirage’s 2,000-seat main theatre, featuring Siegfried and Roy, took a far more egalitarian approach, where guests did not have to bribe their way to a good seat,” they wrote. “The theater was modeled after more traditional Broadway theatres, where all seats offered a good view of the stage. Guests could reserve their seats from a map with prices clearly displayed, rather than be beholden to the maître d. A state-of-the-art ticketing system supported this endeavor. Today, this style of showroom ticketing is common practice but not so in 1989.”