Sunday, May 10, 2020
Roy Horn, half of Las Vegas performing duo Siegfried & Roy, died on Friday (May 8) due to complications from coronavirus at 75-years-old. The German-born magician passed away at the Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Horn’s publicist confirmed the magician had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 28. He leaves behind his brother, Werner Horn, and his longtime surviving performance partner on-and-off stage, Siegfried Fischbacher.
Fan outside of Siegfried & Roy Bronze Statue, May 9, 2020, Las Vegas, Nevada x THE BIG MAGAZINE
Deadline reported, Horn connected with animals at an early age. He adopted a cheetah named Chico from the Bremen Zoo, and worked on the cruise ship called the Bremen. The two met in 1960, Horn was a waiter and Fischbacher a steward. Fischbacher had learned some close-up magic tricks to perform for guests. Before long, they were working with a rabbit, then a cheetah, and building their popular magic act.
They arrived in Las Vegas in 1967 as a specialty act called “Folies Bergere” at the Tropicana. In 1970, S&R spent three years performing “Lido de Paris,” at the Stardust as a side act. From 1974 to 1978, they would perform their act at the MGM Grand and the Frontier, before landing a life long residency contract at the Mirage Hotel in 1990.
Their first headlining show debuted in Mirage’s 1,500-seat theater. The production cost was $30 million and employed 267 cast and crew member, unheard of numbers in the early 90s. Siegfried & Roy’s show, incorporating animal antics and magic tricks, included about 20 white tigers and lions, and other animals including an elephant depending on the night. The act would continue to headline 5,750 more shows. Their $10 million compound housed white lions and white tigers alongside hundreds of rare animals over the years as a part of a preservation program they began in the 1980s.
Roy Horn continued to mystify audiences until a tiger attacked Horn in 2003 at his 59th Birthday. Horn suffered massive blood loss and a stroke. It took several surgeries and years of rehabilitation. The incident ended their decades-long revue. The last time the duo performed was for a benefit in 2010.
Fischbacher said in a statement Friday (May 8) “today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend.” The pair and their act, which involved lions, tigers and spectacular outfits, became synonymous with Las Vegas-style showmanship.