On October 3, 2003, the magical performing team of Siegfried & Roy changed forever. It was on that day that one of their white tigers, a 7 year old male named Montecore, attacked and seriously injured Roy Horn.
According to Wikipedia, the tiger believed Roy was in danger. When a woman from the audience reached out to pet him, Roy jumped between the woman and the tiger and that’s when the trouble began.
After jumping between the woman and Montecore, the tiger bit into his arm and was ignoring his command to release. He hit the tiger with his microphone and was attempting to back up when he tripped over the big cats paw. Stagehands then leapt onto the tigers back in an attempt to restrain him. Former Mirage owner Steve Wynn said that it was at that time that Montecore thought his trainer was in real danger and took his neck in his mouth to drag Roy out of dangers way. They truly believe the cat was trying to help his master and not hurt him.
Roy also believed the tiger was not trying to hurt him and was even heard saying “Don’t shoot the cat!” on his way to the hospital. Doctors had to remove a portion of Roy’s skull to allow room for his brain to swell while healing. He suffered a stroke and partial paralysis. But he still never blamed Montecore.
After spending 10 days in quarantine to ensure he was not rabid, Montecore was allowed to return to his home at The Mirage. The show was ended.
Now a little over 5 years later the three performers took the stage for one final show. Roy Horn, Siegfried Fischbacher and Montecore performed together at a benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health on Saturday. The center will treat brain disorders like the ones Horn now suffers from when it opens later this year.
After performing their illusion they stood silent with Siegfried standing between the tiger and Roy and blew kisses to the audience. An announcer said “Within all of us there is an illusive melody, which when heard and followed will lead you to the fulfillment of your fondest dreams.” The performance will be shown on a one-hour 20/20 special Friday. I’ll definitely be watching.