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Pete Allman's Celebrity Scene News

by Pete Allman

A recent fundraiser for the Foundation for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute was held at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vega s, featuring Siegfried and Roy, and it was also a celebration of the famous performers' lives, yet it was also their public farewell show.

The gala event had a price tag of $2,000 per ticket and it was a sellout.

Sigfried & Roy FarewellCelebrity guests included Teri Hatcher, Muhammad Ali, Leeza Gibbons, Hilary Duff, Steve Schirripa, Robin Leach, Wolfgang Puck and wife Gelila Assefa, along with Larry Ruvo, the founder of Keep Memory Alive.

Steve SchirippaPHOTO CREDIT: Curtis Dahl Photography KMA

Ruvo's father is the namesake of the medical facility that is opening in downtown Las Vegas soon. It will be a comprehensive treatment and research center that deals with brain injury and disorders, including Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's, ALS, and memory degeneration.

Frank Gehry, the acclaimed architect of the unique design for Ruvo's building, was also there.

The icons of illusions, known throughout the world as blonde Siegfried and dark-haired Roy, levitated magic to a level that no other duo had ever accomplished in the history of the profession. Roy Horn, who was critically injured in an attack onstage when one of his big cats turned on him several years ago, causing life-threatening, massive head and neck wounds, resulting in years of recuperation and therapy. Siegfried Fischbacher did not continue performances after the incident.

"Roy had tested his fate with his lions and tigers," stated Las Vegas Strip headline magician Dixie Dooley. "Even though he [Horn] had slept with his animals from the time they were babies, you can never fully trust an animal's instincts. They can turn on you any second. I know; I had a leopard in my earlier shows. He was like a baby until his tummy was empty, then he was very difficult to handle," Dooley added. He was among the well-wishers over the years and bids his fond farewell to the duo.

I spoke with some of the celebrities arriving on the red carpet.

Hillary DuffPHOTO CREDIT: Curtis Dahl Photography KM

Leeza Gibbons responded to my question about how she combated her struggles.

"It's about getting rid of toxic people in your life," she stated. "Those

negative vibrations, you have to eliminate." Gibbons, who said she was humbled by this event, believes in the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and said that it was a blessing. Gibbons lost her grandmother and mother, who died recently, to degenerative brain disorders. She set up a website, www.leezasplace.org, and a foundation for "education, empowerment and energy" to help families, caregivers and others involved in finding solutions and help for the medical problems and special needs.

Hilary Duff was delighted to be there to bid good-bye to the famous illusionists. "I'm stoked.

I'm so excited. I remember seeing Siegfried and Roy when I was eight."

Although there were certainly a host of famous names and faces, the event drew hundreds from the business and political community, as well as people who personally support the lifesaving work of the institute.

Wolfgang PuckPHOTO CREDIT: Curtis Dahl Photography KMA

It was Las Vegas' chance to say how much everyone appreciated the many decades of entertainment by the legendary Siegfried and Roy and to support a vitally needed new brain healthcare facility.

Pete Allman is a Las Vegas-based commentator, broadcast personality and celebrity interviewer. He also produces inspirational messages for television and other media. Contact him at peteonthescene@yahoo.com or (702)265-9099. Visit www.CelebrityScene.com.