always elvis


THE MEMPHIS MAFIA

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Elvis Personal Friends

At last but not least, Elvis also had his own exclusive group of friends who lived with and worked for him.
They were called "The Memphis Mafia", a group of approximately 13 men, and one female, who served as Elvis' closest friends and confidants. They followed him wherever he went. From his wedding to his concerts to his funeral, The Memphis Mafia were always at The King's side.


Joe Esposito
Joe Esposito, or "Diamond Joe", was Elvis' number one aide and best friend.
Joe met Elvis in the Army while both were stationed together in West Germany. He served as Elvis' bodyguard immediately after their service ended in 1960. Joe served as best man at Elvis and Priscilla's wedding on May 1, 1967. He was also Elvis' road manager until the King's passing in 1977. During the next two decades, Joe made special appearances at many Elvis conventions and events. He met with fans, shared his memories and even judged Tribute competitions. The millennium found Joe to write a book and make a DVD, in which he shares rare Elvis footage and stories from his private collection. In April 2005, Joe became the offical casino host for the Steve Wynn's new Las Vegas Resort, The Wynn Resort. When schedule permits, Joe continues to attend Elvis events as a special guest.

Sonny West

Sonny West is another familiar face within the Memphis Mafia. Sonny was co-Chief of Security for Elvis Presley from 1960 to 1977. Sonny was introduced to Elvis in 1958 by his cousin Red West at a party Elvis held at the Memphis skating rink, Rainbow Rollerdome. Elvis served as best man, and Priscilla as maid of honor, at Sonny and Judy Morgan's wedding on December 28, 1971 in Memphis, TN. He played small roles in a number of Elvis films, including "Flaming Star" and "Stay Away, Joe." In the mid-70s, Sonny co-wrote the infamous book "Elvis What Happened?" After Elvis died, Sonny became head of security for the band Alabama and Salem Country Gold '82. He followed with a career as a booking agent in California. Today, Sonny and wife Judy live in
Tennessee and make special appearances at Elvis events.

Charlie Hodge

Fans know Charlie Hodge as the cheerful man who gave Elvis his water and scarves onstage during the 1970s. He met EP back in 1958 when both fellows were stationed at Fort Hood. They got to know each other very well on the USS Randall, as they sailed to West Germany. Upon discharge, Charlie worked for Elvis as a personal assistant. In addition, he appeared in several of Elvis movies, the 1967 film Clambake. When Priscilla went in to labor, it was Charlie who drove her and Elvis to Baptist Memorial Hospital. Charlie can be heard singing in the background on recordings of “I Will Be Home Again” and “Could I Fall in Love.” He was affectionately nicknamed “Slewfoot” and Waterhead” by Presley. Charlie was one of the witnesses to Elvis' will. Charlie wrote an autography in 1985 and performed with Eddie Miles at the Memories Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in 1992. He had a triple by-pass surgery on February 4, 2000 following a heart attack. Charlie recovered but remained fragile in health, yet continued to attend Elvis events with his fellow Memphis Mafia and be a guest judge at Elvis competitions. Sadly, he passed away on March 3, 2006 at the age of 71 from cancer.

George Klein

In 1948, George Klein was a student at Humes High School in Memphis Tennessee. It was there that he met Elvis Presley. In an recent interview, George recalled: "He was a good but not a great friend. He said I was nice to him." After high school, Klein went into radio broadcasting at WHBQ and Elvis started his music career. As a result, their careers converged and they built a fantastic and loyal friendship that lasted till the day Elvis died in 1977. Although The King is gone, George continues his legacy by keeping EP's music alive on the airwaves. He continues to work in radio-- hosting the syndicated George Klein's Original Elvis Hour, a program of Elvis tunes and anecdotes. His main job is executive host at Horseshoe Casino, where he's been for more than a decade. George tends to the high rollers and handles presentations for the casino. In addition, George leads a busy schedule with Elvis-related events. He's a V.I.P to Elvis Presley Enterprises and Priscilla Presley, always contributing his time and memories for celebrations and special occasions. He is also active in numerous charities such as the annual George Klein Christmas Charity Show and Auction.

Jerry Schilling

Jerry Schilling was Elvis' bodyguard from 1964 to 1976. He first met Elvis when Elvis was 19 years old. The two men became good friends after a game of touch football in 1964. Jerry started dating Myrna Smith, a member of the Sweet Inspirations (Elvis' female backup singers), in 1973. Jerry was also the manager of the Sweet Inspirations and the Beach Boys and formed an entertainment firm. Jerry and Myrna continued dating. The couple were married from 1982-87 and remained good friends.

Patti Parry

Sinatra had his Rat Pack, Elvis had his Memphis Mafia. Sinatra's group had it's only female member: actress Angie Dickenson. Presley's mafia also had one female member. The lucky gal was hairstylist Patti Parry.

Patti Parry spent 17 years being a little sister to Elvis & sometimes noted as being the only female member of the 'Memphis Mafia'. Patti Parry was, in fact, one of a small number of girls who hung out with Elvis and the guys for many years in L.A. from the time they were young in the early 60s.

Patti was also Elvis' and Priscilla's hairdresser but, unlike some, has never bragged about her association with him. It was therefore a pleasure for EIN to get a chance to talk to Patti in her Beverly Hills home about a few of her experiences.
Source: EIN

October 27, 2011 - Patti Parry, Elvis’ “Little sister” has Died: EIN has confirmed the terrible news that Elvis’ good friend Patti Parry passed away this morning in hospital. We have heard that her brother took her to a hospital last night, and that she passed this morning.
Patti Parry was a good friend to EIN and was always a joy to be with, full of fun and life and wonderful stories of times spent with Elvis.
Patti Parry was one of a small number of girls who hung out with Elvis and the guys for many years in L.A.
from the time they were young in the early 60s.

When EIN interviewed Patti Parry in 2003 she recalled that when she knew him .. “Elvis didn't have a Mum, he didn't have a sister so I was a girl who was around who could nurture him. He needed that nurturing. I was the only girl there and if he needed it I would give him a lot of help and a shoulder to cry on. I was his Little Sister, I was a very lucky girl. (laughing) They were lucky too!” EIN passes on our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. EIN interviewed Patti Parry in 2003

Red West

Robert "Red" Gene West is cousin to Del "Sonny" West. He first met Elvis Presley in high school and they became close friends. West became Elvis's personal driver from 1956 to 1958. During the 1970s West, his cousin Del 'Sonny' West and Dave Hebler were part of Elvis's bodyguards, until they were fired by Vernon Presley in 1976.

Marty Lacker

Marty Lacker knew Elvis since they were seniors in high school. He became a member of Elvis' close inner circle as well as co-best man at his wedding. Marty also served as the King's bookkeeper and secretary.






Larry Gellar

Elvis' other personal hair stylist besides Patti, was good friend and confidant Larry Gellar. During the 1960s, Larry and Elvis shared an incredible interest for all things spiritual. They had plenty discussions about life and religion. And were fascinated with books on the subjects and were constantly seeking to find answers. Larry helped design the Meditation Garden at Graceland so Elvis could have a spiritual environment.



Lamar Fike

Lamar Fike knew Elvis since the early days. Such a devoted friend of EP, he tried to join the military just to follow him. Lamar immediately became a member of the Memphis entourage and ultimately Elvis' tour manager.
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