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Siegfried and Roy
Fischbacher, Siegfried (b.1939), and Horn, Roy (b.1944)
 
 
page: 1  2  

Home for Fischbacher and Horn--and dozens of animals--is a lavish mansion known as the Jungle Palace on an eight-acre estate in west Las Vegas. Although the partners have shared the residence for years, they make it clear that each has his own living quarters.

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."

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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 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."

Accounts of the show mention that the cast of dancers included "a dozen behooded men in padded pink muscle-suits" and that Fischbacher and Horn's costumes (especially Horn's) featured lamé capes, skin-tight leggings, and codpieces variously described as "ridiculously enormous," "as big as soup bowls," and "certainly more frightening" than the tigers.

Their show told a fantasy story of battle with and defeat of a dragon and an evil sorceress. Lasers, holograms, high-tech props such as the four-story-tall dragon, and dramatic music contribute to the spectacle, which Tyrnauer calls "a kind of hallucinogenic 'buddy picture.'"

In 1991 Fischbacher and Horn won the German BAMBI award as the best live entertainers of the decade and the Liberace Legend Award from the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts.

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."

Horn defied doctors' predictions that he would never speak or walk again. On February 28, 2009, he and Fischbacher appeared at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas for a farewell performance in a benefit entitled "Keep the Memory Alive: Power of Love for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health."

Albeit with halting steps, Horn walked onstage unaided, and the pair delighted the audience with their illusions for one last time. Afterward, more than half of the hundreds of members of the cast and crew from their previous productions gathered backstage to congratulate them on the bittersweet occasion of their swan song.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  Variety and Vaudeville

Variety and vaudeville and related theatrical forms featured cross-dressed acts, as well as routines that challenged prevailing gender constructions.

arts >> Liberace

Liberace was for many the epitome of flamboyant camp, yet he was also a gay man who steadfastly refused to acknowledge publicly his sexual identity.

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    Bibliography
   

Cheshire, Godfrey. "Siegfried and Roy: The Magic Box." (Review) Variety (October 25, 1999): 38.

Fischbacher, Siegfried, and Roy Horn, with Annette Tapert. Mastering the Impossible. New York: William Morrow, 1992.

Goodwin, Christopher. "Lords of the Ring." Sunday Times (October 26, 1997): Features section.

Green, John R. "No Illusion: Siegfried & Roy Magic Is Back." ABC News (March 1, 2009): http://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=6985460&page=1.

Lidz, Franz. "Cats Entertainment." Sports Illustrated (Winter 2001): 170-177.

"Menagerie a deux." People Weekly (January 11, 1993): 98.

Schick, Elizabeth A., ed. "Siegfried / Roy." Current Biography Yearbook 1998. New York and Dublin: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1998. 533-536.

Skelton, Charlie. "Charlie Skelton's Been There, Done That." The (London) Guardian (June 9, 2001): The Guide section, p. 3.

Tilley, Steve. "IMAX Film Takes Tiger by the Tail." Edmonton (Alberta) Sun (May 5, 2000): WE9.

Tyrnauer, Matt. "Married, with Tigers." Vanity Fair (August 1999): 170-181.

Weatherford, Mike. "Signed for Life." Las Vegas Review-Journal (February 23, 2001): 3J.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Siegfried and Roy, and Horn, Roy  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated March 7, 2009  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/siegfried_roy.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2002, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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