Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 | 2:34 p.m.
- Ruvo’s dream becomes real (2-17-2009)
- Ruvo's mission is bold, driven by love (2-17-2009)
- Gehry's design elevates awareness of Alzheimer's disease, research (2-17-2009)
- In Cleveland, patients are priority (2-17-2009)
- Aiming to revolutionize dementia research (1-7-2009)
- Brain institute thinking big (12-24-2008)
It’s the return to magic that some said would never happen.
Even the surgeons and medical specialists said illusionist Roy Horn had died, not once, but three times, on the operating table. When part of his swelling brain was removed and inserted into the wall of his stomach for safe keeping for several months during his recovery, experts said he would never walk again.
“He has the will and the strength of a thousand men,” Bernie Yuman, Siegfried & Roy’s longtime manager, told me several times. “He will not rest until he has made the impossible possible.”
Now we’re just two days away from curtain up on the return of Siegfried & Roy. More than 1,000 donors who have contributed $75,000 a table to the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute “Keep Memory Alive” charity dinner at the Bellagio will be eyewitnesses.
The rehearsals have been completed successfully. ABC’s "20/20" host Elizabeth Vargas has completed her TV interviews. Siegfried & Roy are ready to return to the stage for the first time since October 2003 when Roy was injured by one of his tigers, 7-year-old Montecore.
“Roy simply refused to die. Roy simply refused to give up. Roy simply defied everything the doctors ever said,” Siegfried said.
Roy told me recently when they toured the Frank Gehry-designed Lou Ruvo Brain Institute downtown: “This is the goodbye we never were able to say. This is the farewell we wanted to make. Our duty now is to give back to the community that gave us so many gifts and so much love over the years. We are very much committed to the amazing work being done and the successes that will be achieved here.”
This Saturday, one more step in Roy’s recovery will take place with a brief “moment of magic.” ABC will broadcast the event as a "20/20" special March 6.
Among the stars walking the red carpet with Siegfried & Roy will be Hilary Duff, Danny DeVito, Teri Hatcher, Steve Schirripa, Lorraine Bracco, Frank Gehry, Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Jean-Philippe Maury, Martin Heirling and, as a welcome to Vegas, the 16 ladies from the new "Peep Show" opening at Planet Hollywood next month.