Future performances from iconic Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried and Roy – and the white Bengal tiger that ended their prior careers – are, sadly, over.
For their last hurrah the trio shared the stage on February 28 at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for their haunting final performance for the 13th annual “Power of Love” gala benefit for the Keep Memory Alive organization, proceeds going to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
Hosted by Robin Leach, in the audience were Teri Hatcher, Leeza Gibbons, Hilary Duff, Danny DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman, comic actor (and former Riviera entertainment director) Steve Schirripa, Muhammed Ali, Kristin Davis, and Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Ferrell.
The gala began by feasting on mouth-watering cuisine from chef’s Todd English, Wolfgang Puck, David Robins, Martin Heierling, and Jean-Philippe Maury.
Then the abbreviated charity show saw Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher side by side with Montecore, the massive white tiger that brutally mauled Horn during a 2003 performance.
Horn re-emerged Saturday dressed in a Gothic-style black-and-white robe, his face covered with a skeletal mask. The dark stage was covered in smoke. Horn limped slowly onstage, often steadying himself on Fischbacher’s shoulder.
The two slowly performed a signature illusion as Fischbacher, dressed in white robes and a mask, stood inside a cage, which was cloaked in drapes. As Horn removed the curtain seconds later, Fischbacher appeared across stage, a hulking white Bengal tiger in his place- it was Montecore.
As the crowd took to its feet, the men removed their masks and Fischbacher was standing between Montecore and Horn. They waved and blew kisses at the audience, but said nothing.
An announcer left the crowd with this final thought: “Within all of us there is an illusive melody, which when heard and followed will lead you to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams.”
On October 3, 2003, Montecore sank its teeth deep into Horn’s neck, dragging him offstage in front of a horrified audience. The illusionist, now 64, was partially paralyzed, suffering a damaged neck artery and crushed windpipe.
After 13 years and more than 5,000 performances, the “Siegfried & Roy” show at The Mirage immediately went dark, ending one of the most successful shows in Las Vegas history.
During Horn’s long rehabilitation, though, both men remained devoted to their exotic habitat on the Las Vegas Strip. The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage hotel-casino houses lions, tigers and leopards. Fischbacher, 69, has called it Horn’s “reason to get up in the morning.”
The benefactor for the event, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, will treat brain disorders like those Horn now suffers, is set to open later this year in a building designed by architect Frank Gehry.
An estimated $12 million was raised by the event for the Ruvo center, punctuated by a $450,000 bid on a Rolls-Royce trimmed with the Keep Memory Alive logo, and a $5 million donation by Chuck Mathewson, CEO emeritus of IGT. Steve and Elaine Wynn donated another $1 million.