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Siegfried Fischbacher Of Siegfried & Roy Dies At 81

Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher (left) and Roy Horn pose with their white tiger.
Siegfried & Roy
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The Mirage via Getty Images
Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried Fischbacher (left) and Roy Horn pose with their white tiger.

Siegfried Fischbacher, one-half of the famous magician duo Siegfried & Roy, died Wednesday night at his home in Las Vegas from pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Fischbacher's death comes just months after his performance partner, Roy Horn, died from complications related to COVID-19 at the age of 75.

A statement from Siegfried & Roy's press office said Fischbacher had a unique ability to "perform complicated magic at lightning speed." This made him a perfect foil for Horn, a "perpetual dreamer."

"Their complementary skills created a live entertainment phenomenon unlike anything that came before."

Siegfried Fischbacher was born in Germany in 1939. He loved magic so much growing up that he worked as an entertainer on a cruise ship. That's where he met Roy Horn and began a 50-year partnership that took them to Las Vegas.

A Siegfried & Roy magic show was an opportunity for extravagance. By 1990, they filled the stage at the MGM Mirage Hotel and Casino with costumes, smoke machines, animals and set designs that made them a destination for millions on the Las Vegas entertainment circuit.

Then, in 2003, a 380-pound white tiger attacked Roy Horn onstage and ended the duo's Vegas show. The two formally retired in 2010.

A street on the Las Vegas strip was named after them last year, shortly after Horn's death.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Siegfried Fischbacher (right) and Roy Horn pose with their white tigers Neva and Vegas in New York in June 1987.
Scott McKiernan / AP
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AP
Siegfried Fischbacher (right) and Roy Horn pose with their white tigers Neva and Vegas in New York in June 1987.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.