CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Siegfried Fischbacher
Aired October 8, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, exclusive. Siegfried of Siegfried & Roy speaks out for the first time since his longtime partner, Roy Horn, was attacked on stage by one of his white tigers. As Roy fights for his life, Siegfried gets us up to date. The latest on his condition. And what about the future? What does it hold for these Las Vegas legends? Master illusionist Siegfried Fischbacher and Siegfried & Roy's longtime manager, Bernie Yuman for the hour. Exclusive!
Next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Last time, Siegfried and Roy were on this show together was back in 1999. Siegfried and Roy had come on about their IMAX film, "Siegfried and Roy and the Magic Box." It was an extraordinary film, by the way. Circumstances were a lot better then than they are now.
We welcome Siegfried and his longtime manager -- 28-year manager, Bernie Yuman.
What's the latest, Siegfried, on Roy's condition?
SIEGFRIED FISCHBACHER, ENTERTAINER: Well, I just left Roy two hours ago. He responded excellent. The doctors say it's magic what's happening. And I'm very grateful. It's only four days ago. And we're communicating, of course...
KING: You say responded. How?
FISCHBACHER: Responded to the way we -- with the hands. We set one is yes. And two is no. And...
KING: So he can answer yes?
FISCHBACHER: Yes and no and very strongly. And also, with eye contact. And we know, you know, when you're alone (ph) together you know exactly -- he understood exactly what I was saying. I could see it in his face. His color is back. And so we take it just by hour and hour.
KING: Did he have a stroke?
FISCHBACHER: He had a stroke, a minor stroke. It was -- Bernie can explain that
KING: What is his condition?
BERNIE YUMAN, MANAGER: His condition is he's stable. He's critical, and I don't think there's any way that you can really give a longterm prognosis.
Roy has the will of a thousand men. And, I think probably a lesser man perhaps wouldn't have gotten to this point. But now that we're going into the -- we're about to embark on the sixth day, tonight, and we really believe that we're about to turn the corner, so, you know, first survival...
KING: He's had how many surgeries?
FISCHBACHER: It's two. He had two.
KING: Two surgeries?
KING: Was there every a time, Siegfried, you thought you lost him?
FISCHBACHER: Yes and no. Really, not, because I know Roy, you know? And I always say all these years I always say I'm the magician and he's the magic. And he is doing his magic, you know? I -- he's so strong, it's unbelievable. That's why it is all happens. Forty- four years later, all the things happens, our dreams come true but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I'm sure the dream will not end like this.
KING: Two of you know each other 44 years?
FISCHBACHER: Forty-four years.
KING: Met on a cruise ship, right?
FISCHBACHER: Met on a cruise ship -- you know, nothing really major. It was just can you help me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tonight? I was steward. I was serving (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- on the sides I did magic. And I did the usual thing, rabbit out of the hat and birds and so on. And he helped me. And afterwards, I said, Now, what do you think? And he said, well, I don't know. "What do you think," he says. Can you do that what you did with a rabbit with a cheetah? I didn't know he had a pet cheetah at that time. And I said, "Magic, anything is possible." I was surprised at myself because, you know, I never realized somebody has a pet.
KING: He was the animal lover?
FISCHBACHER: He was, of course. Yes.
KING: Let's go -- we'll trace a lot of the career and the future and everything.
But first, the doctors have said it's miraculous he's alive. Dr. Derek Duke at the University Medical Center -- a great hospital, you say, right? YUMAN: Yes. Absolutely -- the trauma center -- the doctors at the trauma center at UMC have saved his life.
KING: They -- he said, "A contributing factor to the current condition is the extraordinary will and strong physical attributes." Do you think will plays a big part in this?
FISCHBACHER: Will and he has a will and a belief. But he always say, "Believe in the will of change mountains" (ph).
KING: What have you heard from the public?
FISCHBACHER: The public is an outburst, Larry. It is just unbelievable, from all over the world and all walks of life. It's just -- I never can imagine I knew Siegfried and Roy was that....
FISCHBACHER: Popular and, that you know -- always felt and loved but then you realize, Roy, it happens. I said, Siegfried and Roy, hah (ph), is -- is something. What we achieved is something. But...
KING: You ought to be very proud.
FISCHBACHER: This is bigger. This is huge.
KING: What happened that night? Where were you?
FISCHBACHER: I was on stage. We go our show through, like -- like clockwork.
KING: Seen it. Saw it just a couple months ago.
FISCHBACHER: Yes. You saw it. That's right.
And when he introduced the white tiger, did the same thing like every time. It was - something was just -- I don't know exactly about. There was just a little maybe a little confusion.
KING: Something wrong? Did you sense it?
FISCHBACHER: Not wrong -- wrong at that time.
KING: What did you see?
FISCHBACHER: I just thought that the tiger grabbed him on the sleeve like this and Roy, said let go, and the tiger let go. And Roy went back. And he slipped. It tripped.
KING: Oh, he fell?
FISCHBACHER: He fell.
KING: Then what?
FISCHBACHER: And then tiger went over there and, of course, at that moment, I run. I realize -- I thought, "Roy's in danger." I run. Also my animal helper who was on the side and watching careful. And we run and we try to separate. And, I realize that the tiger took -- and the tiger took Roy by the neck and he pulled him back on stage. Because it was outside in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you know?
KING: Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo said the other night that if that tiger wanted to kill Roy -- oh, it would been, forget it.
FISCHBACHER: Listen. If -- if I say, it was an accident. If it would be the tiger would be out for a killing Roy, it would be in no time.
KING: Do think he was trying to help him?
FISCHBACHER: That's exactly what I think.
FISCHBACHER: Roy fall and he want protect, because that's danger, you know? An animal like this and tripping and he gone over there.
And of course, when we went -- I thought we doing right when we went there he was in extra danger, right?
FISCHBACHER: So he took Roy and put him backstage behind the curtain...
KING: To protect him
FISCHBACHER: To protect him. and then he let Roy go and went back.
KING: He let him go by himself?
FISCHBACHER: And Roy said...
KING: What did Roy say?
FISCHBACHER: Roy said, "Don't harm the tiger."
KING: Right there on the floor?
FISCHBACHER: That's right. So that told me, you know, Roy was right away...
KING: And one other thing. Did Roy hit him with the microphone?
FISCHBACHER: He did when he fell and the tiger come on top of him. Then he tipped him the nose, which -- this is nothing. This is, you know...
KING: Happens a lot.
FISCHBACHER: It happens a lot.
What happens, this is -- this is nothing. It's just a little reminder. Come on now, you know?
KING: No, I'm just interested in what happened.
KING: The audience -- many in the audience...
KING: ...didn't think anything was wrong. They thought it was sort of part of the act.
FISCHBACHER: Of course. It's a part of the act. But what happened is, you know, a tiger thought he was right, too. He did exactly what he -- but what happens is that tiger does -- when he grabs you, it's the strength.
KING: Is there a lot...
FISCHBACHER: He grabs, like, another tiger. He thinks it's another tiger. Another tiger has skin like this and the fur. It's nothing, you know?
KING: To grab each other is other.
FISCHBACHER: You know, you saw the show. We have a film clip in the show when the mother carries her cubs back.
KING: Yes. She carries them by the throat.
YUMAN: Roy developed a style. It was conditioning. It was affection. It was contact. It was love.
KING: He was a great trainer.
YUMAN: You know, Montecore was helping save his friend to take him to safety. That's -- this is not an attack. This was not a mauling. This Montecore taking his friend to safety.
FISCHBACHER: I don't think it was, you know, he never said, I going to train -- he didn't own -- he knows he said it all the time. I can change him. I want him to be a tiger. I just want to make him comfortable, make him secure in the surroundings.
KING: But you want to be a tiger?
FISCHBACHER: He wanted to be.
YUMAN: Siegfried and Roy have never confused about their animal co-stars. They're tigers.
KING: We'll be right back with more. Later, we'll include some of your phone calls.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY HORN, ENTERTAINER: I appeared that I do not want to change them at all. That's the beauty, that's what attracts me. That danger, underlying danger all the time. But if you understand it and if you start learning it, you don't need any of that. You can make him do whatever you want him to do. But then there are risks where you can never change.
KING: You want them to be tigers?
HORN: I want them to be tigers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Siegfried Fischbacher of Siegfried and Roy, and Bernie Yuman their long time manager back to the events of last Friday night.
If the audience panicked, what would have happened, suppose there were screams?
FISCHBACHER: Of course. At the time, when it happened, people thought it's a part of the act. If the animal would attack Roy, Roy would be no more after that. 10 seconds.
KING: Supposing the audience...
FISCHBACHER: I wouldn't be here. The cats wouldn't be there. And my whole life would be destroyed because the whole existence and all the life what Roy dedicated would have meant nothing.
KING: If the audience panicked, the tiger would have panicked?
FISCHBACHER: I don't think -- it would panic. It would do the same thing, because in these -- he made -- he was scared and he tried to do the things before the panic. That's my opinion.
KING: Where were you, Bernie?
YUMAN: I was off property and I got a call and I was at UMC trauma center within moments and the speed of which may moved was awesome. I want to say, Larry, think about north of 30,000 live shows, think about 44 years, think about 48 million people live.
KING: Have seen them?
YUMAN: And never, ever any incident of any kind whatsoever. I mean, this is certainly an (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: In retrospect we always think back, was there a way to prevent this?
Do you think to yourself, what could I have done?
FISCHBACHER: This is a big question, you know. What I can do -- we did everything what should have been done. This was the unexpected. But for Roy, it was expected at the moment when the things happen. And for the tiger, it was. And for us and we reacted accordingly. You know what I mean? It's just like you drive a car and your tire blows up and your car.
KING: Over all the years, no one had ever been hurt, right?
FISCHBACHER: Of course, not even scratches. What happens, this is -- was an argument and they're always the tigers, all the animals, they think Roy was also a tiger.
KING: You mean they loved him like a tiger?
FISCHBACHER: They loved him. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is a pal. And when they're -- you can that in Secret Garden the tigers together, they had their arguments and the boom boom boom (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this. Well, for them, it means nothing but with a human being...
KING: What did you do, Siegfried, when you saw him on the floor now after the tiger had been taken away, what was the next things you did?
FISCHBACHER: Of course, the paramedics come right away.
KING: Did you go to the hospital?
FISCHBACHER: And I know of course right afterwards -- and no, I was -- he was in the right hands. You know, we had all the stage hands in the military. They're stopped the blood flow. He lost a lot of blood because the because the main artery. And that's what it was.
KING: What did you do?
Did you go in the ambulance?
FISCHBACHER: No, no. I just can't...
KING: What did you do?
FISCHBACHER: I had to go to my dressing room to take -- I know he was in the right place and the right people, the right thing. And Bernie took care of all of this. And then, of course, half hour, later, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) told me. And of course, it was an unbelievable shock to me. It was just -- I couldn't get it. But that's the way how it was.
KING: We notice when we showed that shot of him, it's hard for you to look at him.
FISCHBACHER: Yes. Well, you know what happens is it was 44 years we have been together. And it was just unbelievable, you know? It was a relationship. It is a relationship second to none. And I always say, boy, the strength and the way how all the things happen, it's magic.
KING: Are the lions -- tigers all at your house now?
Are they still there in the compound?
FISCHBACHER: We have in the compound, and of course, they're all there, the family. We have a huge family of 63 big cats.
KING: We have an interesting picture of you and Roy and Montecor. I think we are going to put it up on the screen. Picture not often seen. Beautiful picture.
Where is Montecor now?
FISCHBACHER: Montecor is in the Secret Garden.
YUMAN: In the inter-sanctum of the Secret Garden and he's safe.
KING: What does that mean?
YUMAN: In his area in the Secret Garden which is a private area. And certainly, the last person to blame anybody especially Montecor would be Roy or Siegfried. And Monticor is safe and he will have a great life and continue to thrive and be well.
KING: You have no desire or anger at him?
FISCHBACHER: No. I'm sad this thing happened.
KING: But not angry at the tiger?
FISCHBACHER: Like Roy is not angry, really. That's why...
KING: The only thing he said, the only thing you heard him say was don't harm the animal?
FISCHBACHER: Don't harm him.
YUMAN: And in the ambulance, he also said, Montecor is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecor. Of course, he knew, because he had many conversations with Siegfried and also with myself that nobody's ever to harm any of his animals.
FISCHBACHER: He himself, 44 years with the cats together. And Roy was -- is still a mystery to me. You know, after all these years it's a mystery how this all happens. You know, for a magician mystery is good, you know. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) how he does it and how think and sometimes I try to figure it out, what this is all about. This is all sincere, honest. He thinks the love and the passion he puts with them. You know, in my show, it is, all of us there's an elusive melody which when heard and followed leads you to the fulfillment of your dreams. KING: There is a natural follow up, do you think people are still going to go to see shows with animals?
FISCHBACHER: Of course they always will.
KING: You don't think that will end?
FISCHBACHER: Of course not. You know, and I think what happens is what Roy always said, we have to show the audience, we can't tell them, we have to show them. We have to show them we have a responsibility.
KING: Some people will say, both agree, right, Bernie, some people will say that people will be harmed. We shouldn't do these kinds of shows. How do you react?
YUMAN: I can only react when it relates to Siegfried and Roy, quite frankly, at the end of the day when you do north of 30,000 live shows and never have an incident, and I say that this is you know, the anomaly. This is what you don't expect.
KING: Let's say there were no "Siegfried and Roy," you wouldn't want it stopped? You wouldn't want to see other people come along and not do shows?
YUMAN: That's correct.
KING: Do you feel the same? Are you sure you feel the same?
FISCHBACHER: You know, it depends. When it's the thinking like Roy has, and Roy's a sincereness...
KING: It has to be someone like Roy then?
FISCHBACHER: That's right. To protect. He was the one who had the idea of for the white tigers because before Roy, there was no white tigers. They were extinct.
FISCHBACHER: Now you have hundreds all over the world and the same thing he does with...
KING: So you're saying, if there were an act to come along ten years from now, it would have to be someone like Roy?
FISCHBACHER: This is exactly. Someone like Roy. Roy always said, the show supports my goal and my goal is to protect the white tigers.
YUMAN: Siegfried and Roy's conservation program is well-known all over the world. And Roy is known as the men that saved the white tigers and the white lion.
KING: We're going to take a break. We'll take phone calls. We're going to ask Siegfried, what now? What does he do next? What about Roy? What about the act? What about other things they may have been involved in? Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HORN: Hello. Well, here we are. This is the white lions. They're already extinct today and I guess, that makes him very special, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
FISCHBACHER: And these are the only snow white male lion in the world today.
HORN: That's right. That they're the future. That's what we hope for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You're a national institution, Siegfried and Roy.
FISCHBACHER: That's his life. That was his life.
KING: It must hurt you to look at that.
FISCHBACHER: Of course it hurts, because I know it was real. And it was trust and I always say you really trust him that much? He said, well where there's no trust, there's no love.
KING: Will there be a Siegfried and Roy again?
FISCHBACHER: Siegfried and Roy started this Siegfried and Roy is still Siegfried and Roy. And, of course, this accident changed a little bit our life. But we going to take a different path, I'm sure, but what happens is we always going to be life was always our show. And the show is our life.
KING: Are you saying there may not be an act again?
YUMAN: I would say -- I would say that there will be a Siegfried and Roy as long as Roy survives. You know, whether Roy performs or not again, I don't know if any one of us are prepared to say.
KING: No one knows.
YUMAN: That's right, "Siegfried and Roy" at the Mirage is now closed. However, Siegfried and Roy is collaborating with our friend Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks...
KING: And I might say, Jeffrey's in the green room tonight. He came over. What will you do with Dreamworks?
FISCHBACHER: Dreamworks, we signed a contract. We're going to have "Father of the Pride" which starts -- a television series, NBC, starts in September.
YUMAN: Animation. Digital enhanced, Shrek-like animation.
FISCHBACHER: That's very exciting.
KING: Siegfried and Roy are part of the show?
FISCHBACHER: The animals, our family, you know? It's great and it's a great people.
KING: Your voices?
FISCHBACHER: No. But some people who tried to do the accent, yes.
KING: Have you seen any of it?
YUMAN: Yes. We have been intricately involved in the creative process. Jeffrey had us by his side through the entire process. It's from the point of view of the Siegfried and Roy animal family, and in reality, it's -- I think it's pioneering television.
You know, there's been a few things on TV that you remember, that, unlike anything else. "Father of the Pride." you know, you think about the "Simpsons" and the "Cosby Show" or "Seinfeld." This is that kind of thing. And NBC is fully behind us and Jeffrey Katzenberg and...
KING: It starts next year?
YUMAN: Yes, September of '04 on Thursday nights.
KING: How cooperative has the hotel been? How have they've reacted.
KING: This hurts them business wise.
FISCHBACHER: Of course. In every way, you know, we are with them now 14 years. And even the extended our contract. We're cutting down -- you know, we choose to do only 6 shows. It's great.
And the whole situation...
KING: ...the former owner, he's been by?
FISCHBACHER: Oh, he comes by. He's three times by the hospital to talk to Roy...
KING: He used to own the hotel.
YUMAN: Yes, Bobby Baldwin, whose the chief executive officer of Mirage resorts, you know, he's been with us since the beginning and he's been by our side through this entire tragic accident.
YUMAN: Yes it is. But I will tell you, in addition to having our friend Bobby Baldwin by our side, Steve Wynn is a part of our family and Steve Wynn has been incredible also...
FISCHBACHER: This is bigger than Siegfried and Roy. And Roy is always has been bigger than life.
KING: You've heard from presidents, kings, showbusiness...
FISCHBACHER: Yes, exactly.
KING: Everyday, they hold vigils at the hospital.
FISCHBACHER: It's just -- it's just unbelievable. I can't believe it. Flowers -- the whole strip is paved -- our whole monument is paved in flowers and kids in front of our house and this sign and they're writing down and hearts and flowers and...
KING: You know he recognizes you and you know he responds to you.
FISCHBACHER: I know, I know, of course.
KING: And he squeezes your hand yes, once, twice?
FISCHBACHER: He squeeze it, Yes! And he ask for his special dog. And the dog is on his side and...
KING: Oh, is the dog there?
FISCHBACHER: Oh the dog, yes. And I know he's strong. I know will he going to be on (ph). And we started this 44 years together, we're going to end up as friends.
KING: Did you tell him, you were coming here tonight?
FISCHBACHER: I didn't want to tell him because he wants to be so badly with you, too, you know? because -- I don't want to tell him I'm doing this alone because I always did things with him together.
YUMAN: You know what? And God willing, next year this time or maybe before, Siegfried and Roy will stand here.
FISCHBACHER: Oh, yes.
YUMAN: Side by side.
YUMAN: You won't have to come to Vegas. Roy will come to you.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll include your calls for Siegfried Fischbacher and Bernie Yuman on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
One note -- program note. Tomorrow night is the Democratic debate. It's from Phoenix and CNN is involved. Judy Woodruff is the moderator. And the debate will go on at 8:00 p.m. and last until 9:30. So we'll be on late tomorrow night. We'll be on from 9:30 to 10:30 Eastern Time. We'll have a follow-up to the debate, and then a major portion of the program will deal with the hearing tomorrow, the preliminary hearing -- scheduled preliminary for Kobe Bryant.
We'll be right back with some calls and more questions. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HORN: This is the power of our magic -- to make dreams come true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Siegfried and Bernie Yuman.
Before we go to calls, Ken Feld is the owner of the Siegfried & Roy show.
YUMAN: The producer, Kenneth Feld, is a major member of our family. He's been...
YUMAN: Yes. He's been the producer of the Siegfried & Roy spectacle call for 25 years. He's an integral part of our lives.
KING: The U.S. Agriculture Department is investigating. That's normal in this kind of case. They had four inspections in the last three years. No problems were ever cited, right. Stage set-up inspected. You've never had a problem with any authorities, any questions?
YUMAN: Never. Never. And we've always cooperated with all the regulatory agencies and we have been the example. Siegfried & Roy held in that light. You know? You want to live up to their standard to their animal husbandrying (ph). What they're created on that level is extraordinary.
KING: So -- the people that protest the use of animals in this manner -- well, Jack Hanna said the other night and so did Tippi Hedren.
FISCHBACHER: Well, you know, when we performed Radio City Music Hall -- before the show opened up -- a guy came up and picketed and then come in to see the show and then they realize.
KING: All you go to do is see the show.
Let's go to calls. Denver, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hello, Mr. King?
CALLER: Siegfried, I just wanted to call you and say this is a long lost voice from your past. This is Ron Marriott (ph).
CALLER: We worked together.
FISCHBACHER: Oh, boy. (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
CALLER: Yes. (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
FISCHBACHER: Thirty -- 30 -- 35 years ago.
FISCHBACHER: Oh my God.
CALLER: Yes. And my friend, I spent many years with you and Roy.
CALLER: And I just wanted to send you my best regards and please give my love to Roy.
FISCHBACHER: I know.
CALLER: I miss you.
FISCHBACHER: We miss you too.
FISCHBACHER: You have been always a great friend and -- yes.
KING: That's nice.
CALLER: We have many, many wonderful years together and you are an inspiration to so many of us, Siegfried.
FISCHBACHER: Thank you. You know, you made us so welcome in Las Vegas, you made us welcome in this country, anyway, like -- you know? And, Las Vegas made it happen for Siegfried & Roy. And we are very grateful, you know?
CALLER: If you recall, you gave me the name for the agent for the cruise ship. FISCHBACHER: Oh, right. That's right.
CALLER: And so now -- thanks to you, I spent 20 years on the cruise ship doing production.
FISCHBACHER: That's what we started out, you know?
CALLER: Yes, I know.
FISCHBACHER: And you end up on it.
CALLER: You gave me the name of the agent when we were doing the lead-off.
KING: Thank you for calling, Ron. That was very nice.
YUMAN: When you talk about Las Vegas -- many entertainers come to Las Vegas and, you know, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13 weeks a year, and then, of course, the natural thing is to go home. Siegfried and Roy have been performing twice a day, six days a week, 46-and-a-half weeks a year for 35 years in Las Vegas.
And I would like to acknowledge on behalf of Siegfried & Roy that they're a part of the fabric of the Las Vegas community. We are deep in our hearts and our souls Las Vegans. And we want to thank all of the people, you know, that are a part of Las Vegas because they're an integral part of their lives.
KING: You have a sister who's a nun?
FISCHBACHER: That's right.
KING: In Romania?
FISCHBACHER: She decide five years to go to Romania to take care of the kids in Romania.
FISCHBACHER: We (UNINTELLIGIBLE) an orphanage and now we have 38 kids to have a family, a home, and a future.
KING: They are doing prayers for Roy all over the world.
FISCHBACHER: Not only these kids they're doing and my sister -- there are churches in Romania, in Germany.
FISCHBACHER: Austria. And it's just overwhelming. You know? It's a great -- even from India we get some telegrams and...
KING: Next caller is from Las Vegas. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Good evening, Siegfried. I just wanted to let you know I paced your same floors less than a year ago. My husband had a major brain injury, underwent brain surgery, had a stroke while in a coma. He was in the same drug- induced coma as I believe Roy was in at one time.
I just want to tell you, don't give up. They told me my husband...
FISCHBACHER: Oh, we don't give up. It's a tragedy, but this tragedy is not going to be the end.
CALLER: No, it's not.
FISCHBACHER: You know?
CALLER: They told me my husband would never walk, would never, speak, would never anything for himself again and he did.
FISCHBACHER: Oh, God bless. Good for you.
KING: Thank you, ma'am.
FISCHBACHER: Thank you.
KING: What do the doctors say? What -- do they give you a prognosis? Do they say this or that will happen? Because he's still critical, right?
FISCHBACHER: Yes. He's critical. This can happen and this can happen. But the signs are all very good.
KING: Did they give you worst case scenarios, too?
FISCHBACHER: Not really.
KING: So they're optimistic?
FISCHBACHER: They're very optimistic.
KING: To Tampa, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry.
My question for Siegfried is actually a what-if question. Going back 44 years ago, when you first met Roy -- what if you guys actually didn't go into the entertainment field? Do you see yourself back then -- did you have any other aspirations as far as another career or maybe another entertainment field?
FISCHBACHER: At that time, you know, I just -- at that time, you know, on the ship, I was a steward and I performed for the passengers and they all loved it and I get my compliments -- the audience. And Roy together. And then we just -- when I said to Roy, in magic, anything is possible, he believed so much. He looked at me like, Oh, in magic, anything is possible? And he was the first one -- he believed in me so much.
KING: So this is what you wanted?
FISCHBACHER: And that's what I want to go -- and we went it out and we tried it out and, you know, we went there.
KING: Would you.
FISCHBACHER: We had the goal and there it is.
YUMAN: Those five words changed his life. In magic, anything is possible.
KING: Would you consider doing a show alone?
FISCHBACHER: No. No. I could not do it alone. No. I wouldn't be strong enough.
KING: You couldn't?
FISCHBACHER: No, no. You know...
KING: You were great magician. You're a great illusionist.
FISCHBACHER: I'm OK. I'm good. I love my audience. I love the audience like Roy loves the animals and this combination together, it worked, you know. And that's why people come back all over again. We had some people that come to show thousand times. Some people a hundred times. You know, it was not unusual.
KING: Could not do it alone? Could not do it alone?
FISCHBACHER: Absolutely, I wouldn't do it. It's not in my makeup because this is Siegfried and Roy. And that's -- Roy gave me always the strength, you know. Like I always say, Siegfried would be not enough and Roy is too much. He pulls me up. He is bigger than life. And that was what it means.
KING: How quickly were you at the hospital -- Bernie.
YUMAN: I would say within four minutes.
KING: What did they do immediately? Did they -- surgery immediately?
YUMAN: Immediately, they saved his life. He was in dire straits when arrived at the hospital.
KING: Huge loss of blood.
YUMAN: Huge loss of blood. And it was nip and tuck, really...
KING: Oh, really? YUMAN: ... for the first few minutes.
I'm not sure that, you know, that he was even clinging to life by a thread in reality. In the first few moments.
KING: Because it was a main artery, right?
YUMAN: And I think it was the doctors, you know, these brilliant surgeons at trauma center at UMC that literally saved his life. And we're indebted to them, obviously, forever.
KING: Did you at all come close to panicking, Siegfried?
FISCHBACHER: No. I was restless. I was, of course, very upset, you know. But when I come afterwards, I went in his home and I went into the house, and I felt so serenity.
FISCHBACHER: I felt everything going to be all right. The strength come over me, it was just unbelievable. You know, isn't it amazing after all these years we sit here and we talk. Life is a taking and a giving. And we hear the talk with respect, and with the feeling about Roy what it was all about. I think we achieved something. He achieved something.
KING: You believe in God?
FISCHBACHER: I believe in the universe. I believe in a special power because I know without this power, Siegfried and Roy and the animals wouldn't come together in this world. It was meant to be.
KING: Do you miss working?
FISCHBACHER: I miss the stage. I miss my audience. Most of all, we miss Roy.
KING: We'll be back with some more phone calls, as well, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy met Siegfried on a German liner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Siegfried was the ship's magician. He had a (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy was a steward. He had something better -- A cheetah. Now, in show business, you don't have to be just good, you've got to be different. And Roy made all the difference in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Original. We're back. Siegfried, you were the illusionist. Roy was the animal guy, right?
FISCHBACHER: That's right.
FISCHBACHER: I was the magician and he was the magic.
KING: And it was his 59th birthday Friday?
FISCHBACHER: Yes. Friday.
FISCHBACHER: The MGM gave an unbelievable birthday party. About 800 friends and fans from all over the world who were celebrating and it was so wonderful. And Steve Wynn (ph) come in and he said, you know, Siegfried, you have to read what I just wrote to Roy. I said what is it. This is not just writing down something, it meant a lot of thoughts. And he wrote down and it said, Siegfried and Roy, the day when I met you was the best day of my life. And when I said that to Roy, just before going on stage, I said, did you read that? He said, yes, I did. He says isn't that wonderful? We did that all and we did that all together.
KING: You're telling me during a break, he can put his thumb up, too?
FISCHBACHER: That's right. He can put -- that's what is our -- coming and leaving the hospital and he puts his thumb up.
KING: Calgary, Canada, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, thank you for taking me call. Siegfried, we love you and Roy very much. You are in our thoughts and prays. I was wondering, do you have a family support group around you, helping you?
KING: Good question.
FISCHBACHER: You know, the cast and crew, the MGM people, Las Vegas will have. I have a family, the audience is my family. And I...
KING: Do you have support?
FISCHBACHER: And I have support, you know. Everywhere I turn, it's an unbelievable -- you know. It is great to be -- know you have been loved, you know. And that's what we always want to put. That's what Roy put into the animals, love. Love can conquer anything. And, you know, the belief and now what it is and the brain, I mean, everything. It's has to be it's going to be.
KING: Someone staying with you or are you home alone?
FISCHBACHER: I going to be alone.
YUMAN: We don't allow him home alone. You know, we don't him to wreck the house so -- but, at the end of the day look...
FISCHBACHER: I'm going to be with Roy.
YUMAN: There's no question, we have a great, great family. Lynette (ph), who's been a leading lady for Siegfried and Roy for the best part of 30 years lives, you know, on the premises. You know, we have great...
KING: I've been to the house.
YUMAN: Many times, Larry. And we have great staff, a support system. You know, he's never really alone.
FISCHBACHER: And now I want to be alone.
KING: You want to be alone?
FISCHBACHER: I want to be alone, you know, because everything just struck me. I'm with Roy.
KING: All the employees, though, let go already?
People that work for the show?
FISCHBACHER: Yes, unfortunately, the way...
KING: Are people trying to help them?
YUMAN: Yes, in fact, we have plans in place to be involved in that. And we're working together -- all of us are working together to do whatever we can, you know, for the crew, for the cast, and, you know. There's been a lot said about that but that's not done and we are a all concerned about that. Vegas is a flourishing town there's 40 million people a year that are coming there. Mr. Baldwin making sure that the Siegfried and Roy crew, you know are having opportunities to go to the MGM.
FISCHBACHER: The MGM, Bellagio, Treasure Island, Mirage. They're -- I'm sure we can find something. The time will be -- we're going to be back together again.
KING: Is the name still up?
YUMAN: Of course.
FISCHBACHER: Of course.
KING: If I Drive By tomorrow night -- Siegfried and Roy?
FISCHBACHER: Of course.
YUMAN: In fact, we had a conversation earlier today where Mr. Baldwin and Bill McBeath, the president of the Mirage hotel volunteered that the marquee stays where it is. KING: Stays where it is. We'll be back with the remaining moments on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HORN: Well, I don't think Siegfried and I will never retire, because you're going to be always creating something. It's part of our makeup. That we always have to prove ourself in life, and I think I'm the most happiest when I'm not -- of course on stage, it's part of my passion, but I have been with my animals. And my goal is to have the white lions to see another century flourishing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: On October 22, by the way, in Hamburg, Germany, the World Achievement Awards, I'm honored to get the media award, Siegfried and Roy are being honored at that. That's going to be some night and we can't make it because of commitments here. I don't think you're going to go now without Roy. It will be nice, we'll send tape. Nice honor to share. Share the program with you. Going to keep it...
FISCHBACHER: And the Pope, it's only award the Pope accepted.
KING: Not bad.
FISCHBACHER: Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney, great, great, great compliment.
KING: Before we take one more call, you told me that Arnold Schwarzenegger called you last night during the victory party?
YUMAN: Yes. Imagine the presence of mind for the governor-elect and his wife, his gorgeous, darling wife Maria to call at midnight last night. Maria is calling four times a day and advising us. And you know Maria has been through tragedy and her mom was real, real ill and Maria nursed, helped and prayed. And they said there was no chance and her mother is thriving, thank God.
KING: So, Arnold called in the middle of all of that?
FISCHBACHER: Arnold in the middle of all this. We have so many things together. We talk so many times about it. Where we come from, because he grew up in the same atmosphere, you know, up in the mountains and the middle of nowhere. And the family, nobody could understand. He did the body building. I did magic. Wanted to be in show business. No way they wanted us to be a decent profession to have a decent profession. Here we are.
YUMAN: They're born 30 minutes apart and been friends for 30 years. And at the end of the day, Arnold said, you know, tonight I quote Roy, he said, "I have one laughing eye and one crying eye and my spirit is with Siegfried and Roy."
KING; He said that? One laughing eye, one crying eye? YUMAN: Yes.
KING: Orlando, quickly.
CALLER: Yes. I just want you to know how much I love you both as so many people do and I'm praying for 100 percent recovery for Roy and praying for Siegfried to make it through the difficult times.
KING: I know it was hard for you.
FISCHBACHER: I know, of course, this is now very emotional. It's personal. Because you -- I'm sure you have seen the show and many times and thank you.
KING: You were great Siegfried. Thank you for coming.
FISCHBACHER: God bless and thanks for your prayers.
YUMAN: Thank you, my friend.
FISCHBACHER: We're going to be together and what Roy is doing when I left, he put this thumb up. And thumb up, we going to be back together with Roy.
KING: From your lips to God.
FISCHBACHER: God bless.
KING: I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow. Don't go away.
KING: We're running out of time. Tomorrow night, we're on a half our late. We'll follow up on the Kobe Bryant hearing. And that means Aaron Brown will be on a half hour late, but both shows will be an hour.
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