LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The curtain closes on the act that helped make Las Vegas entertainment what it is today. Siegfried and Roy made magic shows spectacular and brought Vegas showmanship to a whole new level. Now, Siegfried Fischbacher has lost his battle with cancer. It’s the end of an era and his love affair with our city.
LIKE NO OTHER
They were an act like no other.
The world-famous Siegfried and Roy provided a high energy show combining illusion with rare animals, like their famous white tigers.
The pair started working together back in 1957. Siegfried was working as an entertainer on a cruise ship, enlisting Roy Horn, who was just the captain's bellboy at the time, to help with his act.
It was the beginning of a 50-year collaboration.
'AUDIENCE WAS CAPTIVATED'
The pair came to Las Vegas in 1967 as a featured act, eventually headlining at the New Frontier back in 1981. But it was in 1990 when they really hit their stride as a Las Vegas show not-to-be-missed at The Mirage.
It was a $30 million production that would enjoy a nearly 14-year run.
"It was a great show. It was entertaining," said Jim, a Siegfried and Roy fan who saw the show in the 90s. "We were right in the first row so when they came across the stage, the tigers and other animals we were right there."
"It had a lot of diversity," he recalled. "Comedy, just general entertainment. The audience was captivated by the whole thing."
It was a show that changed Las Vegas forever.
"Las Vegas has become the magic capital of the world and I think many people believe it just was that kind of automatically, or if you’ll forgive me, magically," said Magician Penn Jillette.
"But it's not the case," Jillette explained. "That idea was created by Siegfried and Roy, and not easily."
"The show, in general, was so tight," said Comedian Carrot Top.
"How do they do it so it looks unrehearsed, so it looks natural? They just had this natural flow and had this great energy with the audience," he said.
AN ABRUPT END
But the show would come to an abrupt end in 2003 when Roy Horn was badly injured by a tiger named Montecore.
The duo would make fewer public appearances after the incident, with Siegfried often spotted at Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage.
But in the end, there's no denying the impact they made in Las Vegas and the entertainers to follow.
SIEGFRIED WAS 81
"They're the ones that made magicians a headliner in Las Vegas and carry a show for an hour, hour-and-a-half," said Magician Murray Sawchuck.
"Without Siegfried and Roy there'd be no Murray Sawchuck," he added, "I think, Penn and Teller or Copperfield in Vegas,"
The duo officially retired from show business in April of 2010.
Roy passed away in May of last year due to complications from COVID-19.
Siegfried passed away in his Las Vegas home last night. He was 81-years-old.