For the first time since he was mauled onstage by a tiger, illusionist Roy Horn performed with the same animal that nearly ended his life more than five years ago in Las Vegas. The performance Saturday at the Keep Memory Alive charity benefit was also the last time the legendary duo of Siegfried & Roy plan on performing together.
“Within all of us there is an elusive melody which, when heard and followed, will lead you to the fulfillment of your wildest dreams,” he was heard saying in a recorded message to the crowd at Las Vegas’s Bellagio. Moving slowly during the eight-minute performance, Horn helped put on several illusions with his show partner, but noticeably stayed clear when Montecore – the 600-lb. white tiger that attacked him on Oct. 3, 2003 – was let out of his cage following the final act.
The 2003 mauling had left Horn partially paralyzed after he suffered significant blood loss and a stroke. Horn has insisted that Montecore was only looking out for him after seeing him stumble onstage. “He instinctively saw that I needed help, and he helped me,” he told PEOPLE. At Saturday’s show, dubbed their “final bow,” the duo received a standing ovation from a crowd that included Hilary Duff, Teri Hatcher and Danny DeVito. Prior to the performance, Duff expressed her excitement for seeing a live tiger, saying, “Someone is going to have to hold me in my seat, because I’m going to want to run and pet it or something.”