(June 13, 1939 - living) Germany
Magician and animal trainer
Fischbacher, together with his partner Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn (b.1944), have their own shows in Las Vegas as 'Siegfried & Roy'. Fischbacher was born in Rosenheim, Bavaria, and began learning magic at the age of eight.
Fischbacher studied carpet design for a time but then ,in 1957, got a job as a steward on a cruise ship, the Bremen, where he also did magic tricks to amuse the passengers. Roy got a job on the same ship as a waiter. While working one night, Roy heard people applauding and looked over to see Siegfried on a makeshift stage, taking a rabbit out of a hat. The two young men became friends and Roy began to serve as Siegfried's assistant.
They gained public attention when they performed for Princess Grace at a benefit show for the Red Cross in Monte Carlo in 1966. They began playing at more prestigious venues such as the Lido in Paris.
In 1970 Fischbacher and Horn contracted to perform at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. They began adding more exotic animals to their act and developing their showmanship. They complained that limitations on their creativity were causing them to be depressed, however, and in 1981 they became the main act at the Frontier Hotel, where they broke the record for the longest-running show in Las Vegas.
In 1992 the Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles bestowed upon them the Magicians of the Decade Award. They were chosen as the Magicians of the Century by the International Magicians Society in 2000.
Fischbacher and Horn's long-running show tragically came to an end on October 3, 2003 when Horn was bitten in the neck by a tiger during a performance. Although gravely injured, immediately after the incident Horn pleaded that the animal's life be spared.
Initially in critical condition because of loss of blood and suffering a stroke, Horn, in what Fischbacher described as a "remarkable demonstration of will, courage, and faith," began to recover and was transferred from the Las Vegas University Medical Center to the UCLA Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.
A few weeks after the accident Fischbacher accepted the 2003 World Award for entertainment on behalf of the couple and optimistically declared, "The Siegfried who you see before you here will soon return again as Siegfried and Roy."
The two men talk freely about their longtime partnership, and though the words "hot and heavy gay lovers" are never used, sexual innuendo still runs high. Some interviewers report that the pair are spending less and less time together outside of work, keeping separate residences.
Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher have never publicly announced a homosexual relationship, although many in the media have speculated about its existence since the two admittedly flamboyant performers entered the public eye.
Although they refrain from discussing their sexual orientation publicly, they are widely perceived as homosexual and are popular with gay and lesbian audiences, functioning in some respects as camp icons.
Fischbacher and Horn have not acknowledged that they are homosexual, but it is widely perceived that they are. Of their sexuality, a Las Vegas entertainment reporter said in 1997, "It's a bit like Clinton's policy on gays in the military. We don't ask and they don't tell." Shirley MacLaine, a longtime friend, has stated that the two "used to be lovers a long time ago."
When asked by Vanity Fair writer Matt Tyrnauer how they felt about being perceived as gay icons, Fischbacher said that he was "very honored" and Horn called it "a wonderful thing," but neither commented on whether the perception of their sexuality was accurate. Fischbacher described the two of them as "friends."
Charlie Skelton of The (London) Guardian described their stage show as one of "the most homoerotically charged performance[s]" that he had seen. He characterized it as "an excuse for two fabulously rich gay Germans to act out their wildest fantasies, night after night after night."