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Chapter 6.
Memphis Mafia history & facts
Elvis Presley biography website

This page is dedicated to providing the site visitor with quality Elvis Presley biography Memphis Mafia information, pictures and articles for your entertainment. The contents of this Elvis Presley biography Memphis Mafia page on site is written by a fan for his fans.

The group of friends around Elvis became known as the Memphis Mafia.

Memphis mafia Read more about the guys working for the king

A newspaper reporter tagged the group with this name during the time Elvis required them to wear dark, Mohair suits to give a respectable appearance.

The guys never objected to the name, the `Memphis Mafia,` Elvis thought it was quite funny, because among themselves they referred to the group as the Guys.

New men would become part of the operation, and through the years some of those who had been around would leave and do something else.

It was a changing group but the group would remain loyal to Elvis all his life. For a brief description of those who spent a portion of their lives as employees and friends of Elvis Presley.

Gene Smith, — Elvis`s cousin, they grew up together and had a close friendship, Elvis would turn to Gene for a traveling companion, Gene went everywhere with Elvis.

Gene was probably the closest to Elvis for the first few years, 1962,Elvis and Gene had a misunderstanding and parted company, but in later years, Gene would visit Elvis at Graceland.

Junior Smith- Also Elvis`s cousin, who was disabled during the Korean War, one morning Elvis, got a call that Junior had died. Elvis who was extremely fond of Junior took the news quite badly.

Billy Smith- Another cousin, Bill was the youngest of the boy`s, Billy was Elvis`s favorite. Elvis would never let Billy be taken advantage of, Elvis would often say he wanted to be sure Billy grew up to be a good man.

Elvis was not disappointed, Billy was Elvis`s constant companion and his affection and loyalty was obvious right to the end of Elvis life.

George Klein- Elvis and George gradated at Hume`s High School in 1953, George was always nice to Elvis and Elvis never forgot a friend, very early in Elvis`s career he asked George to travel with him.

Later George went into radio and became one of Memphis`s most popular disc jockeys. George remained very close to Elvis until the end. Elvis once said, ` George will be my friend forever.`

Bobby ` Red` West- he was a School mate at Hume`s where he was a All-Memphis football player, Red helped Elvis out of a few situations with the so-called tough guys in high school, Elvis never forgetting Reds kindness, he asked Red to travel with him.

Red not only went along as a friend, but driver and Elvis`s security man. Red also worked as stuntman and actor in Elvis`s pictures. Red developed a talent for songwriting and wrote songs, which Elvis and other artists recorded.

Lamar Fiske- 1957 left Texas and showed up at Elvis`s home Graceland.

Elvis Presley pictures young, combing hair



He followed Elvis and the guys to Los Angeles and has been with them ever since, Elvis and Lamar got along with one another, they had there jokes and got mad at one another a lot but the mad would last at most a day-and-a-half then they would be back to the jokes.

Lamar left Elvis in 1962, and become road manager for Brenda Lee for awhile later he became manager of the Nashville office of Hill and Range music, then he returned to work for Elvis and at the same time he became manager of two country singers, Lamar was with Elvis until the end.

George Klein introduced Alan Fortas- to Elvis in 1957. Alan began working for Elvis just before he went into the army and continued with Elvis after his discharge. Alan was in charge of transportation before becoming foreman of the ranch in Mississippi he remained there until the ranch was sold. In 1968, Alan left Elvis but remained close friends.

Joe Esposito- from Chicago, Elvis met Joe while in the army, Elvis asked Joe to work for him after they were discharged. Joe would soon become foreman of the guys, Joe worked with the books, paid personal bills and coordinated activities between Elvis and Colonel Parkers office.

Joe was Elvis`s right-hand-man until he left for a brief time in 1964.When Joe returned the duties and responsibilities where also shared with Marty Lacker, Marty and Joe also shared the joy and honor of being Elvis`s best man when he was married.

Charlie Hodge- also met Elvis in the army day`s their common interest in music brought Elvis and Charlie together. Charlie worked on stage with Elvis and remained with him all of his life.

Sonny West, cousin of Red`s, met Elvis in 1958, and joined the group in 1960 and became part of the security force. Sonny being a big man could always take care of him self, he also became a stuntman in Elvis`s movies, as did Red, he did fight scenes with Elvis, Sonny also stared in two of his own pictures, and while on Elvis`s tours he did advance work with the Colonel Parker by going into each city a day ahead of the group and set-up security.



Ray `Chief` Sitton was apart of the group for a few years. Ray would often be at the gates of Graceland, before he was hired by Elvis, Ray is a huge man not one to be missed in the crowd among the fans always at the gates of Graceland, Elvis became accustomed to seeing Ray at the gate and would say ` hi Chief how`s it going to-day?`



Elvis would call everyone he didn`t know `Chief`. One night Chief stopped one of the guys and asked if he could come up to the house and see Elvis. When it was mentioned to Elvis, Elvis said,` who the hell is Chief?` Chief was brought to the house, that`s how Ray got a job and all the guys called from then on Ray Chief.

Richard Davis, in 1962, went to Seattle where Elvis was filming, it happened at the worlds fair, Elvis liked Richard and asked him to stay on, during that time Richard was in charge of Elvis`s wardrobe, in the early seventies Richard left and went into promotion in the music business.

Elvis Presley pictures with Memphis Mafia Mike Keeton, in 1964,briefly worked for Elvis, Elvis and Mike attended the same church Elvis always retained a strong feeling for the Assembly of God church.

Jerry Schilling, a young man who first met Elvis in 1964, Jerry began working for Elvis that year and soon became a good friend. Jerry had a manner Elvis liked but at times Jerry`s liberal views got him into miner disagreements with Elvis, however Jerry and Elvis remained close friends until the end.

Jerry left Elvis`s payroll to become an actor but soon become road manager for various recoding artists, including Billy Joel. Currently Jerry is road manger for the Beach Boys.

Marvin `Gee Gee` Gambill began working for Elvis about Twelve months after he married Elvis`s favorite female cousin, Patsy Presley. `Gee Gee` a happy-go-lucky guy easily made friends with Elvis, Marvin was in charge of Elvis`s wardrobe while he worked with the group.



After a few more years on the road ` Gee Gee` settled in Memphis with wife Patsy and their two children.

Dick Grob, a sergeant in the Palm Springs police force, in 1969, Dick began accompanying Elvis as a member of the security force, Three years later Dick quit the police force and worked full time for Elvis, Dick was with Elvis until the end. Dick lives in Memphis with his wife and three children.

Rick, David and Bill Stanley, are the three sons of Dee Presley, former wife of Vernon Presley. 1960, they arrived at Graceland, the boys were only little, as they grew older they would be with Elvis on his tours as his personal aides. Ricky and David were with Elvis until he died.

Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection


Elvis Presley pictures on stage Al Strada came on the scene in 1972, in California. Elvis hired him to guard the house at night while Priscilla and Lisa Marie were there and Elvis and the guys were on the road. Elvis liked Al and put him in charge of his wardrobe on tours.

Dave Hebler, was an expert in karate and a teacher when he first met Elvis in 1972, soon after, Dave joined Elvis`s payroll and became part of the security force.

Sam Thompson met Elvis through his sister Linda, Elvis`s long time girlfriend. Sam was a former Sheriff`s Deputy in Memphis when he went to work for Elvis also as part of the security force. Sam remained until the end, and now he is with the Shelby Country Sheriff`s Department.

Throughout the years, Elvis, for brief periods of time had a personal hairdresser travel with him, Larry Geller and Sal Orifice would fill that role. When Elvis was in Los Angeles, Pat Parry Gerson, a long time friend and talented hair stylist, was called to do the job; Pat was often a guest at Graceland and a good friend to Elvis and the guys. Pat to day remains a hair stylist in Beverly Hills.

Elvis Presley pictures relaxing with friends Other people who briefly worked for Elvis were Arthur Hooten, Cliff Gleaves, Louis Harris, Bobby Smith Jimmy Kingsley, Dean Nichopolous, Steve Smith and James Caughley.

Its incredible that the more than Twenty men who worked for Elvis, who also ate together, lived together and played together, no one was seriously hurt, as they would have their moments with one another but also being a large group they would often keep things to them selves to avoid an argument.

Elvis wouldn`t tolerate a troublemaker he would get rid of him fast, equally Elvis couldn`t stand, and even hated any one who would lie or steal.

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