Fischbacher and Horn spent much of their lives together, first meeting back in 1959 on a cruise ship where they worked as a cabin steward and waiter, respectively — but they each had their interests outside of these menial positions. Fischbacher regularly practiced magic and illusions, while Horn had a fondness for animals. On one fateful day, Horn saw Fischbacher performing some magic tricks, and he asked him: “If you can make a rabbit and a dove appear and disappear, can you do the same with a cheetah?” Horn had, as it happened, smuggled a cheetah onboard the ship. It was almost like destiny brought them together, and it wasn’t long until they were putting on shows for audiences, that incorporated both magic and big jungle cats.
They performed at various clubs before making their way to Las Vegas in 1967. They remained there for the next several decades, and in 1990, they officially entered the big leagues when they scored a residency at The Mirage where they regularly performed to sold-out crowds. People from all over the globe came to watch them perform a one-of-a-kind spectacle that involved everything from floating in the air to seemingly being able to teleport a white tiger across a stage. Even years after the two stopped performing, it was clear they were still incredibly close. After Horn’s passing, Fischbacher released a statement, “Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend” (via CNN).
Following Fischbacher’s death, Vegas mayor Carolyn G. Goodman tweeted that the magical duo deserved credit for putting “Las Vegas on the map,” and that regarding Fischbacher specifically, “More importantly than anything, Siegfried was the kindest and most loyal friend and a beautiful individual. What is calming now is to realize is that he is back with his life partner, Roy Horn, and at peace. You are loved, dear Siegfried.”
The duo leave behind an impressive body of work, including their own films — Siegfried & Roy: Masters of the Impossible as well as Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box.