The illusionist marks Monday as his 61st birthday and the anniversary of his attack

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated October 03, 2005 08:00 AM

Monday marks the 61st birthday of retired Las Vegas illusionist Roy Horn – as well as the second anniversary of his near-death onstage experience with a white tiger.

“I meditate a lot, but I am constantly in pain,” Horn, who can now walk unaided for short distances, tells his local paper, the Las Vegas Sun. “I’m trying to live with this.”

While the grip of his right hand is noticeably firm, the Sun reports, signs of the attack remain with Horn. A thin white scar cuts across the right side of his neck, his left side is partially paralyzed and his walk is a slow shuffle.

His goal is to walk without assistance. “It will be soon,” he vows. “I will surprise everybody when I do it. I like surprises.”

Horn said he still finds solace in his animals and visits them at least once a week – including Montecore, the white tiger that mauled him during a “Siegfried & Roy” performance at The Mirage.

Recalling the night he nearly died, Horn says philosophically: “They were not ready for me to do the show upstairs. Not yet.”