Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 | 1:07 p.m.
It was a joyous night of fun and festivities organized by Sandy Peltyn for Roy Horn’s 69th birthday, despite returning to the Mirage where a decade earlier Roy was severely injured onstage by his favorite tiger Montecore.
His professional and personal partner Siegfried Fischbacher has been at his side through the extraordinary challenge of the medical recovery. Roy suffered two strokes and flatlined three times as trauma surgeons at our UMC battle around the clock for two days to save him.
The incident ended their onstage magic careers, although they did return for an official farewell performance at our Keep Memory Alive gala in 2009 — with Montecore for the final incredible illusion.
Las Vegas VIPs including Elaine Wynn, Larry Ruvo and MGM Resorts and Mirage executives were among the guests joined by fellow magicians Lance Burton and Norm Neilson, with Magic Castle founder Irene Larson.
Maria Shriver was among those who sent birthday video greetings. Mirage headliner Terry Fator, who’s name replaced the duo’s on the hotel marquee, was the surprise guest entertainer.
A fashion show of fabulous long-ago Las Vegas show costumes was one of the highlights of the magical night. I had the privilege of introducing Siegfried & Roy as they walked into the ballroom to a standing ovation.
You can read my latest interview and YouTube video with Siegfried & Roy that we posted last week ahead of Thursday night’s festivities. If you missed Editor at Large John Katsilometes’ at-home tour with them for Las Vegas Weekly, I recommend it as a must-read.
Roy cut a super-sized cake that was served to guests, and the celebration also included showgirls and a marching mariachi band. Siegfried told me that the European TV special, cut at the last minute from a planned 4-hour broadcast by 60 minutes, had aired just 8 hours before they drove to the party.
“The show was an unbelievable success,” said Siegfried. “We’ve been getting phone calls, texts and email from all over Europe. They loved it. It’s a big ratings hit. Our next project is to have it shown here, and that will happen.”
The two Masters of the Impossible announced the official launch of their Sarmoti Foundation, which will support protection of endangered animals worldwide and our own Las Vegas Metro Police K-9 Unit. Last weekend, they received the first $95,000 in donations at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.
It was an emotional moment, and many had tears in their eyes when Siegfried took the mic and told guests that Roy was living proof of the real miracle of magic. Characteristically, Roy joked about the fun of the night and had quips about the irony of his birthday 10 years to the day of the Montecore incident.
“All that’s important now,” he said” is that we can devote and dedicate our lives to protecting endangered species around the world and our K-9 Unit here back home. Las Vegas is our home now, and we’re giving back to the city that gave us the ultimate in stardom. That’s our mission and our calling. It’s all turned out well, and we’re still doing what we do best. It will be our legacy.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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