If you entered an Elvis trivia contest and the question was, “Who was Elvis’ Doctor?” what would you answer? Probably “Dr. Nick,” or perhaps his full name “Dr. George Nichopoulus.
You would be right, because from 1970 until 1977, he pretty much worked full time as Elvis’ personal doctor in Memphis. He often was part of the travelling party when Elvis went on tour. Elvis gave him a yellow Cadillac and lots of other stuff and loaned him money to invest in business ventures.
However, when Elvis was in Las Vegas, he relied on a different doctor – Dr. Elias Ghanem
His story is almost as interesting as Dr. Nick’s. Here are a few paragraphs from a March 1976 article in People Magazine:
“Elias Ghanem’s life is the fascinating stuff movies are made of…. Ghanem is a Palestinian immigrant who became a doctor and worked at Los Angeles County Hospital until he realized he had more important things to do. He set out for a place where people were desperate for medical help, Las Vegas.
“There he met a princely entertainer with a frog in his throat, removed same – and thus began to acquire a reputation as physician to the stars. Before long he had a Stutz Bearcat, a fleet of jets, flashy jewelry and a mirrored canopy over his bed. He went around saying things like ‘Fast cars and beautiful women are my hobbies’. ‘He owned real estate and restaurants. He was divorced.
“… The Vegas headliner Dr. Ghanem treated to get his start in showbiz medicine actually was Elvis Presley. But it would not be difficult to cast an entire movie from Ghanem’s roster of patients. In not quite five years in Las Vegas, Ghanem, 37, has treated Tom Jones, Liberace, Ann-Margret, Johnny Cash, Raquel Welch, Bill Cosby, Glen Campbell and Roy Clark, among others. ‘They always get sore throats’, Ghanem says. ‘We call it Vegas throat’.
“Swabbing talented throats may not win Nobel prizes, but the victims tend to be very grateful. Presley alone has lavished upon Ghanem the $32,000 Stutz, a Mercedes, two watches, a $60,000 diamond ring and a gold medallion inscribed ‘TCB’. (‘Elvis’ people say this stands for ‘Take care of business’, ‘Ghanem chortles’. I say it stands for ‘Take care of broads’.”
I had never heard of Elias Ghanem until he was mentioned as the former owner of an Elvis ring in the January 6, 2018 Auction at Graceland.
This 14-karat gold nugget-style ring has a center oval lavender jade stone surrounded by 22 diamonds each measuring 0.25 carat. It sold for $10,000. Here is what the auction website had to say about the man Elvis gave the ring to:
“Elvis restarted his concert career performing routinely at the Hilton in Vegas, and it was during this period in 1972 that he met Israeli-born Dr. Elias Ghanem, who initially treated him for throat maladies. The two became friends, with Elvis staying at Dr. Ghanem’s home in the Las Vegas County Club for days at a time. As he did for many close friends, Elvis gave Dr. Ghanem a plethora of gifts over the years.”
The website also offered this letter from Dr. Ghanem’s wife:
Wow, what a list. Elvis was both extremely generous to his doctor buddy and very careless about leaving jewelry in Dr. Ghanem’s guest room. The list includes thirteen rings, one bracelet, four pendants (including one TCB), one watch, sixteen pairs of cuff links, and a bunch of other stuff. Because just one ring was included in the Auction at Graceland, I wondered what had happened to everything else. Sold elsewhere? Maybe saved to be sold in the future?
Then, thanks to ElvisBlog reader Alberto Z, I checked out the May 2017 Music Icons Auction at Julien’s. And there I found most of those sixteen Elvis cuff links. Mrs. Ghanem also offered another list covering just the cufflinks. And none were Elvis gifts to her husband. Elvis left them behind in their Las Vegas home. Who travels around with sixteen pairs of cufflinks? I guess Elvis did, and it doesn’t really come as a surprise.
So, let’s take a look at some of these Elvis cuff links.
A pair of cufflinks by Hickok:
These cufflinks feature a silver tone metal plaque with a black oxidized “E” and gold tone mesh wraparounds. The cufflinks sold for $5,760
Gold Nugget Style Cufflinks:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks with swivel backs are designed in a gold nugget style with black tablet-cut stones. The they sold for $1,280
Tiger Eye Cufflinks:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks with swivel backs feature a simulated tiger eye tablet-cut stone. They sold for $1,920
Black Stone Cufflinks with Wraparound Accent:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks with swivel backs are topped with black faceted stones and simulated diamonds. They sold for $2,240
Square CuffLinks with Blue Stones:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks with swivel backs are topped with faceted blue stones. They sold for $3,125
YELLOW-Green Stone CuffLinks:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks with large wraparounds are topped with yellow-green faceted stones. They sold for $2,240
Faux Gem Cuff Links:
These gold tone mesh cufflinks are topped with faceted aurora borealis stones. They sold for $1,920.
Shark Fin style Cufflinks:
A pair of gold-toned metal cufflinks with molded orange iridescent glass. They sold for $1,024.
A pair of gold-toned metal with molded domed clear glass with rainbow effect. These cufflinks sold for $576.
Green Stone Cufflinks:
A pair of gold-toned metal cufflinks with molded domed green glass. They sold for $640.
ElvisBlog has looked at Elvis’ Fabulous Rings eight times. This is the first post on Elvis’ Fabulous Cufflinks, but something tells me we’ll be doing them again.
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