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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Magic show in doubt after mauling
Siegfried Fischbacher (left) and Roy Horn
Roy (right) was attacked during a Las Vegas show
The future of the famed Siegfried & Roy magic show is in doubt after illusionist Roy Horn was mauled by a white tiger.

As Horn remained critically ill in hospital on Monday, show employees were encouraged to look for other jobs.

Horn suffered a serious wound to his neck when the 600 pound animal lunged at him during a show at a Las Vegas hotel, dragging him off stage.

Officials at the MGM Mirage hotel said he remained on a ventilator but could communicate with doctors.

Roy Horn and white tiger
The tigers have been the act's centrepiece for decades
They said it was unclear whether he would ever be able to perform again in the rigorous show.

Horn, 59, underwent surgery at the University Medical Centre in Las Vegas.

Sedated

Bernie Yuman, the magic duo's manager, said: "The doctors are cautiously optimistic. They are telling us that the more time that passes, the better we are."

A family friend said Horn had given a thumbs up sign after a second operation.

MGM Mirage Resort chief executive Bobby Baldwin said the performer had been heavily sedated but was able to respond to voices and touch.

A candlelight vigil was held in front of the hospital on Sunday night.

Horn was attacked halfway through a Friday night performance at The Mirage as he appeared alone on stage with a seven-year-old tiger named Montecore.

Horn told the tiger to lie down. When it refused, Horn tapped it on the nose with a microphone to get its attention. The animal grabbed at Horn's arm, causing the entertainer to stumble.

The tiger then lunged at Horn, who tried to beat the animal away with the microphone.

Audience members said the tiger dragged Horn off the stage by the neck. The attack barely missed severing Horn's carotid artery.

Privilege

Horn and long-time partner Siegfried Fischbacher have been a Las Vegas Strip staple for 35 years, performing their magic show to sold-out crowds.

In a statement on Saturday, Fischbacher said: "For more than four decades, I have had the great privilege of standing at the side of this remarkable man, and I will continue to do so during this very challenging time."

Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said the show had been closed indefinitely. He said 267 show employees met at the Mirage hotel-casino, where hotel managers encouraged them to find new jobs.

The tiger was quarantined at the hotel.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's David Willis
"Lions and tigers have been an integral part of their act"



SEE ALSO:
Mauled magician 'critical but stable'
05 Oct 03  |  Entertainment


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