A Belated Goodbye to George Klein

Yesterday I checked back with Graceland.com to see if the ticket prices for Elvis Week had been announced, but they weren’t. While there, I clicked on the News tab, and was surprised to learn that Elvis’ buddy George Klein had passed away. For those of you who have not read that post, here is what EPE had to say:

Graceland.com - Remembering George Klein

Nicely done. George Klein was one of the good guys. Unlike the others in Elvis’ Memphis Mafia, George was never on the payroll. He had his own career as a radio DJ. When he hung out with Elvis at Graceland or traveled to movie sets with him, George did it because they were buddies.

Elvis, Larry Geller, George Klein, Alan Fortas.

Elvis, Larry Geller, George Klein, Alan Fortas.

 

So, I did a search to see what I had written about George Klein on ElvisBlog over the years. He has been mentioned dozens of times, but I never wrote an article just about him. The closest I did was a funny story in a post about Elvis and Ann Margret. Here it is from August 28, 2005, just seven months after the blog was launched (and years before I started adding pictures).

Elvis and Ann-Margret ElvisBlog Post

Here is the rest of that article:

One night, during the filming of Viva Las Vegas in 1963, Elvis invited Ann-Margret over to his house. He specifically told all his buddies to disappear before she arrived, but Alan and George Klein asked if they could stay if they promised not to leave their rooms. Elvis agreed, but he should have known better.

After Ann-Margret had been there awhile, Alan and George snuck on to the patio and peeked into the den. According to Alan, “They were dancing and cuddling and talking, and George and I were going crazy.”

Then, Elvis left the room to get something and walked around to another part of the house. From this vantage point, he could see the two spies plain as day. When Alan and George realized they had been caught peeping, they panicked. George tried to run off and slammed right into the glass patio door, nearly breaking his nose.

 Alan Fortas, Lamar Fike, George Klein, and Elvis

Alan Fortas, Lamar Fike, George Klein, and Elvis

 

 

This is George Klein’s autobiography. The text above the big ELVIS is a quote by Priscilla, “You told your story with class, mister. Elvis would be proud.” I agree. This is not a tell-all of bad stuff about Elvis. If you haven’t read it, you should. My copy has a cover price of $29.95 on it, but you can get a copy for as low as $6 on Amazon. A great book at a low price.

The photo on the book’s cover was taken at George’s wedding to Barbara Little. Here are some other pictures of this event from my files.

Elvis at George Klein's Wedding 1970

I liked this one because Elvis is holding a gun to George’s head. Please note he does not have his finger on the trigger.

 

The Presleys and the Kleins

The Presleys and the Kleins. I have read often that Elvis didn’t smoke, but there are quite a few pictures around showing Elvis with a stogie in his mouth.

 

This photo is both good and bad. I like the shot of George and Barbara’s hands on their Certificate of Marriage. However, the certificate showed up for bid at auction a few years ago, probably because it had Elvis’ signature on it. Kind of sad.

 

1954 Humes High School Class Officers

As the press release said, George Klein and Elvis became friends at Humes High School. The above picture from their 1954  yearbook shows that George was senior class president.

 

George Klein Text about Elvis

George is not in this picture, but the text has an interesting quote from him.

 

Elvis Palbearers Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike, Billy Smith, Charlie Hodges, Gene Smith, and Dr. Nick

This shot had a caption identifying Elvis’ pallbearers as Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, George Klein, Lamar Fike, Billy Smith, Charlie Hodges, Gene Smith, and Dr. George Nichopoulos. I believe George is the second on the right. He had longer curly hair in 1977.

 

George Klein and Elvis 1957

The tag on this simply says 1957. Backstage at a concert? Or maybe on a movie set?

Speaking of movies, George Klein had bit parts in at least four Elvis movies.

George Klein in Elvis movies

 

Here are a few other photos of Elvis and George Klein.

George Klein and Elvis Leaning on Car

 

set of Speedway- Standing – Jerry Schilling, Marty Lacker, Larry Jost (sound department), Elvis, Don Sutton, and Richard Davis. Kneeling – George Klein and Joe Esposito

On the set of Speedway. George with Elvis, four Memphis Mafia buddies, a sound guy, and baseball pitcher Don Sutton (second from right).

 

Elvis on train to NY to embark on the SS Randall for Germany. The train stopped briefly in Memphis which is why George Klein is in the picture. Elvis is kissing a fan

This strange shot was taken in 1958 when Elvis was on the train to NY before embarking on the SS Randall for Germany. The train stopped briefly in Memphis which is why George Klein is in the picture. Elvis is kissing a fan.

 

Red West And George Klein with Elvis first guitar

Red West and George Klein with Elvis first guitar. This photo was taken just two years ago.

 

 

George Klein - Elvis Presley's Friend

 

Good bye, George Klein. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

18 responses to “A Belated Goodbye to George Klein

  1. mariel veron(maria elvira)

    love this story!GEORGE was like a brother to ELVIS!!he could have been as old as George if death wouldn t have taken him so young We miss HIM for ever!!!

    • Hi Marie: Thanks for your praise of the story. I’m sure all Elvis fans agree with you about George Klein.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  2. Thank you for the nice tribute. I will miss listening to GK on the Sirius Elvis Radio station 🙁 So many are passing. I so wanted to get an autographed version of “My Best Man” Did not know that GK had an illness and at 83 it becomes so hard to get healthy. RIP and condolences to the Klein family.

  3. I met GK 2 years ago, at the SIRIUS/XM studios to have him sign my copy of his book. He was a tremendous man. My Wife and I knew he was VERY sick, and Big Jim askes specifically if I would keep it to myself.

    I told him an idea I had about a book/podcast about Elvis, the next thing I know he asked me to wear the headsets, where we actually talked about my idea on the air. At the conclusion, he told me that my idea was sound and that no one had ever written a book from that perspective. We corresponded once about it. MY book focuses on his music, Rock and Roll, and pop culture at the time. It does not speak at all about any salacious activities, it is not that kind of book. George told me that when I completed it he would help me promote it. So I spent the last 18 months writing the book and completed it. It is called ELVIS: The King of Rock and Roll. I have an Agent and we are looking for a publisher at the moment, he believes we might have caught the wave.

    Unfortunately, it is too late for George to help, but his inspiration was huge and meant a lot to me. He was a good person.

    If you would like to read my tribute to George, some interviews, and other items.. (I talk about the Elvis Tribute and the original 1968 Special). Take a look here.
    https://elvis-the-king-of-rockandroll.com/

    • Hi Frank. Best of luck with your book. It’s a pretty crowded market out there, but your focus sounds promising.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  4. It’s terribly sad about George Klein, he was always there to answer questions about Elvis, but had his own career and did a lot to promote black musicians in the early days. I read his book, which was written with love and respect. Hardly anyone is left from the Elvis world, so many have recently passed away.

  5. Thank you for your blogs. I enjoyed George’s Friday shows and all his personal stories. When he wasn’t on and there were old shows, just knew something was really not good. He will greatly missed on Elvis channel. He truly was honored to be a friend of Elvis and shared it with us all.

  6. GK is buried in Memorial Park in Memphis. So is Sam Phillips, Richard Davis and Red West.

  7. Good tribute. I read a comment by George Klein that he had finally forgiven Red West, as he was sure Elvis would have done. Just a couple of things, Elvis did smoke, according to Priscilla! Also, he did have an affair with Ann-Margret. She says as much in an interview with Charlie Rose right after his death. She said it lasted about a year and was “very intense’. She also says in her autobiography that they had an affair.

    • Hi Sharys. Thanks for the comments. When I retire, would you like to continue ElvisBlog? You know a lot of stuff.

      Phil

  8. Hi Phil,
    Thanks again for the interesting trivia concerning George Klein. I will now add him with Charlie Hodge as the two best friends of Elvis that truly loved him.
    Anytime I see a photo of Red West it turns my stomach because I think his book “Elvis What Happened” helped hasten the demise of Elvis. I know Sonny West and others helped write it but Red headed it up. He was a sneaky snake.
    You are off to a good start for 2019 with the blog. Best of luck.
    Regards
    Billy Martin
    Longview, Texas

  9. What a Wonderful Heart Warming Tribute to “GK” George Klein! George so much for Elvis’ career, not to mention all he has done for the music industry! You will be Missed Dearly, RIP GK.

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