BERLIN (AP) – German news agency dpa reports that illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher, the surviving member of the Siegfried & Roy duo, has died in Las Vegas at the age of 81.
The news agency said Thursday that Fischbacher’s sister, a nun who lives in Munich, had confirmed her death from cancer.
“He was at home in Las Vegas,” Sister Dolore told Dpa. She said she spoke to her brother on the phone before his death and that they prayed together. “I could pray with him and tell him that I will always be with him in my heart,” she said.
After the call, he lay down and fell asleep, she added.
Fischbacher’s longtime entertainment partner Roy Horn died of complications from COVID-19 in a Las Vegas hospital in May. He was 75 years old.
The duo amazed millions of people with their extraordinary magic tricks until Horn was badly injured in 2003 by one of the famous white tigers in the act.
For years, Siegfried & Roy was an institution in Las Vegas, where the magic and artistry of Fischbacher and Horn constantly drew sold-out crowds. The pair performed six shows a week, 44 weeks a year.
Horn and Fischbacher, both from Germany, first teamed up in 1957 and made their Las Vegas debut a decade later. Siegfried & Roy began performing at the Mirage in 1990.
The couple gained international recognition for helping save rare white tigers and white lions from extinction. Their $ 10 million complex has housed dozens of rare animals over the years. White lions and white tigers are the result of a preservation program that began in the 1980s.
The Siegfried & Roy show incorporated animal antics and magic tricks, featuring 20 white tigers and lions, the number varying depending on the night. The show also had other exotic animals, including an elephant.
Horn and Fischbacher met on a cruise ship in 1957. Fischbacher performed the magic tricks, while Horn became his assistant, ultimately suggesting using the cheetah in the act.
They perfected their animal magic show at small clubs in Germany and Switzerland in the mid-1960s. Their breakup came in a Monte Carlo casino when an audience member invited them to Las Vegas. The couple made their debut at the Tropicana Hotel-Casino in the late 1960s.
Illusionists became popular in the 1970s, receiving their first star in 1978 as headliners of Stardust’s “Lido de Paris”. Their show “Beyond Belief” opened in 1981 at the border and performed to thousands of people for seven years.
When Horn and Fischbacher became American citizens in 1988, a delighted Horn said, “To be American means everything we believe in.”
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