The Truth About Siegfried And Roy's Relationship

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend daily life for millions of people worldwide, Covid-19 has claimed another beloved celebrity. Roy Uwe Ludwig Horn of Siegfried and Roy fame passed away on May 8, 2020, at the age of 75, per CNN. "Roy was a fighter his whole life including during these final days," Siegfried Fischbacher said in a statement. "I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy's life."

Horn rose to fame alongside Fischbacher in Las Vegas in the 1960s. However, according to Page Six, "it was their $30-million, 14-year-run at the city's Mirage theater, beginning in 1989, turned them into global stars." 

"Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend," Fischbacher noted in the statement. "From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried."

Prior to Horn's diagnosis and subsequent death, the performers issued a statement to fans regarding the coronavirus pandemic. "Everyone in the United States and around the World impacted by this health crisis remain in our prayers," they said (per ABC). "We know the real magic in all of us caring, cheering, loving, and thanking one another will return everyone to good health and happiness. We can't wait until it is possible for all of us to hug each other safely again." 

Our hearts go out to Fischbacher and Horn's friends and family during this difficult time.

Siegfried and Roy met as stewards on a cruise liner

Despite Siegfried Fischbacher's insistence that his act would not exist without Roy Horn, the two actually met upon the TS Bremen luxury cruise liner as solo performers. "I became a first-class steward. And the captain found out that there is a steward who does some magic," Fischbacher told ABC. "So one day, Roy comes here and he helped me. And afterward, I wanted to know, find out how he liked it — 'The Great Siegfried '— what a great performance I gave, and he was not very impressed."

"I asked him, 'Well if you can make a rabbit disappear, how about making a cheetah disappear?'" Horn said. That's when Horn introduced Fischbacher to his cheetah, Chico, which he had stowed away in his cabin. "We put him into the act. We had a standing ovation," Fischbacher added. "I thought, in show business, you don't have to be only good, you have to be different, and Roy brought the difference."

Now partners in the business, the pair soon left the cruise ship entertainment circuit and took their act to Monte Carlo, which helped launch their successful Las Vegas career. "Roy had these dreams and I had the ideas," Fischbacher continued. "His dreams were always too big, but he believed too much in his dreams. But we made the dreams become a reality."

After Roy Horn was attacked, Siegfried and Roy left the business

At the height of their careers, Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn faced unexpected tragedy when Horn was attacked by their tiger Montecore live on-stage. According to The New York Times, Horn was mauled on his 59th birthday and while the initial reports assumed the tiger became aggressive, Horn later revealed Montecore dragged him by the neck in an effort to save him.

"I had high blood pressure at that time, and because of the energy level of the show, I got excited and passed out onstage and fell, unfortunately," Roy told Las Vegas Weekly in 2013, 10 years after the attack. "Montecore looked at me with his big blue eyes and was confused, and so he picked me up by the neck. He brought me to the side so he could attend to me."

Unfortunately, Roy "suffered massive blood loss and stroke, and required two surgeries," according to CNN. The incident impeded his ability to walk and talk for years. And while the two were only able to perform together once more before they officially retired, per CNN, Fischbacher never left Horn's side. "He cheers me up," Fischbacher told Las Vegas Weekly. "He shows me how to live. He tells me how to live. He is not just sitting in a corner. He says to me, 'Do not worry about what you don't have; enjoy everything that you do have.'" 

And we're sure Roy's memory will continue to make Siegfried smile for years to come.

Were Siegfried and Roy lovers?

While Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn never confirmed nor denied their romantic partnership, the pair have long been regarded as icons of the LGBTQ community. According to SFGate, their film Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box was shown at the 2000 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

An article by The Hollywood Reporter's Gary Baum also referenced the duo's relationship as he wrote: "Fischbacher, now 79, went on to extravagantly care for his lifelong friend and former lover Horn, 74, at their Little Bavaria estate in Vegas, whose sprawling, rustic grounds are outfitted with hip-high rails along winding paths to make it easier for Horn to get around. Today, he's able to stroll short distances when not confined to a scooter and can talk only with difficulty."

The two constantly avoided questions about their sexuality, leaving much up to speculation. As an old Vanity Fair article noted, "The couple deflect the question of whether they are gay but do claim a friendship with Michael Jackson" (via Slate). An archived excerpt from writer Steve Friess' article for The Advocate also addressed the industry's assumption about Fischbacher and Horn's relationship status. "It's well-known that they were lovers at one time," MGM Mirage spokesperson Alan Feldman told Friess the night of the tragic tiger attack. "I don't think anybody is hiding that."

Lovers or not, we wish Fischbacher nothing but love and comfort as he mourns his partner's death.