Roy Horn was running late to his own birthday party.
For the first time, the public was invited to Roy’s birthday celebration, which was being held in Siegfried & Roy’s 1,500-seat theater instead of a private home.
The showroom was electric that evening 10 years ago. The countdown was for the popular showman, who would turn 59 at midnight, on Oct. 3.
Siegfried & Roy’s longtime manager Bernie Yuman checked his watch. Horn was almost 35 minutes late when he rushed up to his dressing room.
A special friend was waiting outside the door with a magnum of champagne. Hotel developer Steve Wynn had opened The Mirage with the German illusionists and 60-some big cats as the featured attraction.
Yuman still recalls the writing on the bottle’s label. “To Siegfried & Roy,” it read. “The day I met you was the most important day of my life.”
Birthday parties were a big deal for the German entertainers, with Yuman often making sure they were over-the-top affairs.
In 1996, Horn got one of the biggest surprises of his life when film icon Elizabeth Taylor flew in on a private jet the week of her wedding.
She gave him a long, loving hug, and headed back to Los Angeles.
“We always held the parties on the day before the actual birthday,” Yuman said, “because if we waited until the actual day, by the time they were off the stage following their 11 p.m. show, it wouldn’t be their birthday.”
After meeting with Wynn, Horn headed to the stage when he was wildly greeted by an adoring crowd.
Yuman remembered the speech.
“He said, ‘I’m so happy to see all of you and I’m so happy that you’ve joined me on my birthday.”
Then, offering an apology for keeping his fans waiting, he added, “All I can say is I’m going to be late for my funeral.”
Read Monday’s installment in the three-part series: The Horrifying Finale.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
If those two blond backup singers in Meatloaf ’s “Rocktellz & Cocktails” show at Planet Hollywood look familiar, that’s because you’ve seen ’em around. Stacy Michelle Plunk is married to Rickey Medlocke of the Lynyrd Skynrd Band. Lyssa Lynne is the wife of TV personality and actor Adrian Zmed . He played the role of “Johnny Nogerelli” in “Grease 2” and Officer Vince Romano in the the “T.J. Hooker” TV series.
At the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction at Mandalay Bay on Saturday: Siegfried and Roy, on hand for a $10,000 check presentation from the auction organizers to the former illusionists’ Sarmoti Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to the protection and preservation of threatened animals around the world, with the main focus on big cats. Their entourage included their leading lady, Lynette Chappell , their protégé, Darren Romeo and “X-Men” director Bryan Singer . Also at the auction was Mike Tyson and celebrity Realtor Zar Zanganeh , who has been shooting a real estate reality show. … Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. , at Hyde Bellagio on Friday.
THE PUNCH LINE
O.J. Simpson was busted again, this time for stealing cookies from the prison cafeteria. This time he left a trail of crumbs. Have you have seen O.J. lately? He’s gotten fat. And if the pants don’t fit, you must acquit, ladies and gentlemen.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke ’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @ Norm_Clarke . “ Norm Clarke ’s Vegas,” airs Thursdays on the “Morning Blend” on KTNV-TV, Channel 13.