Illusionists reveal their struggles

“Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Returns” reveals a tale of how both entertainers coped with adversity after the career-ending tiger attack 51/2 years ago.

While Roy Horn struggled with challenging physical issues of relearning to walk and talk, Siegfried Fischbacher battled “severe” depression, according to Elizabeth Vargas, host of the ABC News’ “20/20” special.

Their individual stories emerge during the one-hour show that airs at 9 tonight on KNTV-TV, Channel 13.

Vargas told The Associated Press that Fischbacher was “honest” about the dealing with “something we know as ‘caregivers’ syndrome,’ when people who take care of others forget to take care of themselves.

“Roy, for all his improvements, is still terribly, terribly injured. But Siegfried has had struggles of his own. He really lived for the stage, and then it was taken away in one moment.”

The “20/20” crew spent weeks with the illusionists leading up to and including their farewell performance at the Keep Memory Alive “Power of Love” benefit for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

Horn has fought back from serious brain injury.

“His doctor says it’s an outright miracle that this man is walking and talking and doing what he is doing,” Vargas told the New York Post.

“This guy wasn’t at death’s door; he walked through it three times. He died three times on the operating table.”


So, is this it, as Michael Jackson promised Thursday? Or will there be an encore?

Jackson, 50, announced his comeback will take place at London’s 02 arena, saying his 10 shows, starting July 8 at the 20,000-seat venue, will be his “final curtain call.”

“This will be it. When I say this is it, it really means this is it,” said Jackson, who hasn’t done more than two concerts in an engagement since his 82-date HIStory tour in 1996-97.

While it already is being billed as the This-Is-It Tour, there are reports that Los Angeles-based AEG, which manages and books The 02 as well as The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, has a deal for more than triple the 10 dates that were announced.

Vegas Confidential reported on Thursday that a European tour has been discussed, based on Jackson’s London success and his health.

Jackson’s London concerts will be staged by Kenny Ortega, who was seen with Elaine Wynn last month at the Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Black and White Ball at Caesars Palace.

It’s no secret Steve Wynn asked Jackson to consider a resident headliner deal at Encore. Jackson and Ortega were seen at Wynn Las Vegas’ Wing Lei restaurant a year ago. Ortega and Jackson created and designed the “Dangerous” tour in the early 1990s and the HIStory tour.

Don’t count out Vegas just yet, I’m told.

While Jackson has expressed little interest in a long-term Las Vegas deal because of the rigorous demands and has always thought of Vegas as a last stop for fading stars – according to an insider – he’s had offers for weekend engagements.


Local entertainment favorites Zowie Bowie and The Lon Bronson All-Star Band make their debuts in new surroundings this weekend. Zowie Bowie, the high-energy duo of Marley Taylor and Chris Phillips, take their Top 40 show to the Palms tonight in The Lounge (10 p.m. and midnight shows, Fridays and Saturdays). Bronson and company move into the Sunday slot vacated by Zowie Bowie at Green Valley Ranch’s Ovation showroom (8 p.m.). Who knows what guests might show up to join the R&B, rock, soul and funk.


Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeffrey Samardzija, a former star wide receiver at Notre Dame, with a large group of friends Wednesday at Lavo (Palazzo), checking out a fashion show. Samardzija pitched in Wednesday’s Cubs-White Sox game at Cashman Field. … At Caesars Palace this weekend for NBC’s Heads-Up Poker Championship: Brad Garrett, Indy Car driver Danica Patrick, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Jennifer Tilly, Annie Duke and Jennifer Harmon. They’re gunning for the $500,000 first prize.


“(It’s) so cold, Alex Rodriguez‘s cousin injected him with Tabasco sauce.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or Find additional sightings and more online at

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