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Siegfried, Roy Assistant: They Lied About Tiger Attack

Animal handler Chris Lawrence blames Roy Horn's own behavior for mauling he received
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2019 2:46 PM CDT
A 2008 photo of Siegfried Fischbacher, left, and Roy Horn.   (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, file)

(Newser) – In 2003, a tiger mauled Roy Horn on a Vegas stage, seriously injuring the entertainer and bringing to an end the famous Siegfried & Roy show in Vegas. Now, one of the animal handlers who worked with the duo back then tells the Hollywood Reporter that they have lied about what happened on stage. The official story from Horn and partner Siegfried Fischbacher is that Horn suffered a stroke during the act and that the 400-pound tiger lunged at him out of instinct because it was trying to help. Nope, says Lawrence. Horn had the stroke after the tiger pounced. What's more, he blames Horn's own behavior, both on the stage that night and prior, for the attack. Horn, he says, had become less and less hands-on with the animals in the years preceding the attack. The bonding was gone.

"Many of the handlers thought that Roy was treating the cats more like props than he was respecting them for who they were," he says. "I am positive that Roy's diminishing relationship with Mantacore was a key factor in the attack." On the night of the mauling, Lawrence says Horn made a mistake when the tiger first began misbehaving. "What Roy did was, instead of walking Mantacore in a circle, as is usually done, he just used his arm to steer him right back into his body, in a pirouette motion," he says. "Mantacore's face was right in [Horn's] midsection. By Roy not following the correct procedure, it fed into confusion and rebellion." Lawrence says he's speaking out now because the entertainers plan to put out a biopic soon. Click for the full interview, in which Lawrence recalls how he finally freed Horn from the tiger's mouth. (Read more Siegfried and Roy stories.)

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