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Tiger trainer stable

Illusionist Horn critical after mauling in Vegas

This article was updated on Oct. 7, 2003 at 9:35 p.m.

LAS VEGAS — Two days after being attacked by one of his signature white tigers, magician Roy Horn was in critical but stable condition Sunday on a ventilator at the Trauma Center ICU of Las Vegas’ University Medical Center.

Horn, who turned 59 on Friday, was taken after the attack to University Medical Center suffering from severe neck injuries, massive blood loss and breathing difficulties. He was rushed to emergency surgery.

A second surgery was performed Saturday morning on Horn’s brain in an attempt to resolve some specific medical problems. Details and results of that operation were not disclosed.

Bermie Yuman, Horn’s manager for 28 years, said he spoke with Horn Sunday afternoon and that he seems to be making progress.

All “Siegfried & Roy” shows are canceled through Christmas. On Saturday night, cast and crew of the multimillion-dollar stage extravaganza were told by the Mirage to seek other jobs.

There was no word on the fate of “Father of the Pride,” a CGI-animated skein from DreamWorks that revolves around a family of white lions performing in Siegfried and Roy’s Las Vegas show. “Pride” — with voice work from John Goodman, Cheryl Hines and Carl Reiner — is in production as a fall 2004 entry on NBC’s primetime sked.

NBC rep Rebecca Marks said it was too early to make any decisions.

“We’re just praying for Roy in hoping for his full recovery. We have not even thought about the show at this point.”

DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg came to the hospital Sunday to check on Horn’s progress.

On Friday night, Horn was at the halfway point of the 7:30 p.m. “Siegfried & Roy” show at the Mirage when one of his tigers refused his command to lie down. According to a cast member, the cat, named Mantacore, clamped him on the arm and did not let go. Horn responded by rapping Mantacore on the head with his microphone until the cat released his arm. The big cat turned around, grabbed Horn by his feet and pulled him to the floor, then latched onto Horn’s neck and dragged him offstage.

This marks the first time that the conservationist-animal trainer has been seriously attacked by one of his charges. Minutes after the mauling, Roy’s magic partner Siegfried Fischbacher came onstage to announce that the show was canceled.

Mantacore is currently in quarantine at the Mirage.

Siegfried and Roy have been Las Vegas mainstays for more than three decades and partners for more than four. In 1966, the German-born duo came to this country as a featured variety act in the Tropicana’s “Folies Bergere.” They also appeared at the Stardust and the Frontier before headlining at the Strip-side Mirage where they have been since 1990.

Siegfried and Roy inked a lifetime pact with the Mirage in 2001.

Penn Jillette, of the magic act Penn & Teller, was among those who have visited the hospital in the past 24 hours to show support.

“They devised this bigger-than-life thing,” Jillette said. “His job, he’s the best at it there ever was. You could never read the danger in his face.”

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