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Legends: Larry. / Larry with Elvis.


Elvis’ spiritual side is an often overlooked part of his life and psyche. Larry Geller was a good friend to Elvis who spent years by his side and was there at the very end. Larry has some fascinating and insightful stories to tell and Piers Beagley was lucky enough spend a couple of hours talking to him in his LA home.


It’s great to meet you Larry and I have so many questions that I don’t know where to start. Nowadays you like to be described as ‘Elvis’ Spiritual Mentor’, whereas before you were often described as his Spiritual Advisor. 

That’s something publishers do, I’ve never billed myself that way. I was Elvis’ personal hair stylist, good friend, confidant and we were like spiritual brothers together. I mean the very first night we met really altered both of our lives.


When did you meet Elvis for the first time?  

The first time I really met Elvis was as a little kid at a concert at an L.A. Pan Pacific Auditorium concert. However 8 years later I was cutting the hair of Johnny Rivers when my phone rings and it is a person who worked for Elvis by the name of Alan Fortas. Alan says, “Elvis would love you to come to the house and cut his hair would you like to come up?” So I say “Great”. At the time I was working a lot of luminaries in Hollywood like Peter Sellers, Sam Cooke, Steve McQueen & others. But when I heard that I was going to do Elvis’ hair I got a little bit nervous!


How did Elvis end up getting your number in the first place, wasn’t Sal Orfice his hairdresser at the time?

You’re right. Sal was doing Elvis’ hair at the time but he just didn’t like the travelling & being subservient to Elvis and so it was his wife, Marilyn, who suggested that I could take over. At that point I was doing very well, with my job. I was only 24 yet it was no big deal if we went over to Frank Sinatra’s house for instance! But the thought of meeting Elvis, that was ‘over-the-top’ for me. He was The Man, he was The King, he was a legend!


So I drove up to Bel-Air and the Perugia Way house and you could tell which one it was because there were tons of people outside! As I drove through the gates, girls were screaming “Tell Elvis I’m here & Tell Elvis I Love him” and I’m thinking “Wow, this is something else”!


I went into the house and Elvis walks up to me and says, “Hi, I’m Elvis Presley” and I put my hand out and say, ‘Hi, I’m Larry Geller”. Elvis was about 5ft 11½ tall and I’m 6ft 2 and I have this déjà-vu of 8 years earlier when I was the kid looking up at this same man when I saw him in the car park. I shook his hand and he says, “Let’s go into the bathroom, you can do my hair and we can talk”.


We walk into his bathroom and I expected to see all the Hollywood trappings of salon chairs and everything else but there’s nothing! Elvis says “C’mon man, we’ll do it right here” and just puts his head in the basin!


I start to shampoo his hair and as I’m rinsing the suds off his hair he rears his head up and starts shaking. Water is flying & splattering everywhere, over me, over him. He looks at me with that Elvis smile, that grin, and he says. “Hey man, what the hell! At least it’s clean!” When he said that I thought what a down to earth guy Elvis was. I just knew right away that he was real, he wasn’t fake.


So how did Elvis find out about your interests? Did he ask you?

Well, it took about 45 minutes to finish his hair and the whole time Elvis didn’t say a word, but his eyes would follow every move I made. I was working with people like Warren Beatty & Paul Newman and the most handsome guys of the movies but I can tell you no one looked like Elvis Presley. Elvis eclipsed them all! He had the face, the voice, the career, the fans, the fame, the money and he had the hair! His hair was unbelievable to work on.


Once I’d finished and sprayed it I asked him, “So, what do you think Elvis?”

Elvis looks and says, “Yeah, yeah great but I want to ask you a question Larry. What are you really in to? What are you really all about?”

I thought to myself, 'Wow, this guy didn’t say a word and now he’s getting really personal'.


So I tell him the truth about my interests and this was way before The Beatles explosion and the Maharishi stuff became popular. So I told him how I worked as a hairdresser as a living but that more importantly was my search for the truth, for the purpose of life, for God.


I said, “I know you’re Elvis Presley and the biggest star in the world and what I’m saying probably sounds very corny to you.” But Elvis replies, “No, wait a minute. Larry you have no idea how I need to hear what you have to say. Please keep on talking.”


So I tell him about my mediation, yoga, my spiritual books, being vegetarian and everything. Right away he wanted to know about the soul, Do we have a soul?, Where do we come from?, Do we survive this life?... all these things just emerged into this conversation.


And during all this you are still in Elvis’ bathroom?

Well. before I know it, it is an hour later and Elvis is talking to me and I look in the mirror and he has tears rolling down his cheeks. He’s talking about his Mother and how poor they were and how she slaved her life away. How they didn’t have running water in the house, but a well out the back. He talked about his still-born brother Jesse and about growing up in the church. We got into some major, major stuff and we had been talking about 3 hours.


All of a sudden there was a knock at the door and this is so ironic that I’ll never forget it. One of the guys said, “Hey boss, you all right in there?” Elvis replies, “Sure man, of course I’m all right. What the hell do you think is going to happen to me in my own bathroom?” Of course that was where it all ended, so how ironic is that?


At that time weren’t you also offered a full time job with Peter Sellers?

You are right. Two weeks earlier Peter Sellers had asked me to go back to England with him and work him on his new film. It was a change of country and although I did like Peter, it was a long way to go. So I said I would have to think about it. But when Elvis said to me, “Go back to your shop. Tell them you quit and come and work for me full-time. What do you think?” I didn’t have to wait a nano-second, I just said, “Yes.” It was a situation that ‘clicked’ and I knew that it was right.


Did you feel the same about any other celebrity who you worked for?

You know I’d been cutting celebrities’ hair everyday but the only other one I had connected with spiritually was Sam Cooke. Sam was a very down-to-earth guy, very sensitive. He had lost his son. His son had died and he was going through a lot. And he was a major star. He was setting music on fire; he was probably the biggest black artist of that time. I actually gave him some books on yoga too.


So after saying ‘Yes’ to Elvis, did you start working for him on Roustabout immediately?

Elvis told me to be at Paramount Studios the next day at 8 o’clock. So the next day I went down to Paramount and did his hair. It was so incredible because at the end of the day we all walked out to where the cars were parked and Elvis was sitting in his Rolls Royce he just bought. He said to me, “Hey Larry I just got this Rolls do you want to borrow it tonight? Come over to the house & pick it up and take your wife out & go for a ride!” Just like that! But, you know, I felt a little funny so I said, “No, that’s ok Elvis”. I just couldn’t believe his generosity, but that was Elvis!


He just loved to give, didn’t he?

If you met Elvis tonight he would have given you a watch or bracelet or something. That’s the way he was, just a most extraordinary, giving person. He genuinely loved making people happy and sharing.


Have you read the new Alanna Nash book about The Colonel? Did you suspect this stuff all along?

You must read the new book, it will open your eyes. It is very truthful. I knew about The Colonel and the type of character he was and how bombastic he was. He was a real con man who used power to get what he wanted. He had iced water running through his veins. It’s a great book but a lot of it is no revelation to me. I gave the author Alana Nash all the information I knew. She’s a true journalist.


In the last couple of years I remember Elvis saying, “I want to go to Europe & tour and see the world. I’ve got fans in Europe, in Germany, in Japan.  The Beatles come here, the Stones come here. What about me?”


He even said to me that he thought there was something fishy going on, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Elvis said that whenever he asked what was happening, the Colonel would say that he was working on it. But now we know! (Note: on Alanna Nash’s book, The Colonel, after intense research, Colonel Parker was connected to a murder that took place in his homeland, in the Netherlands. This justifies several of the measures he took – and some that he didn’t – throughout Elvis’s career).


But did you get on well with The Colonel in the beginning because you were one of the few people inducted into Col Parker’s crazy 'Snowman’s league'?

We got on together very well to begin with. But I knew that everything was to his agenda. He would come on the set occasionally but his contact with Elvis was minimal. He came to the set, talked with Elvis for maybe 3 or 4 minutes and that would be it. He did his thing and he knew how to manipulate people. He arrives and you’d see the body language of all the guys. They would come to attention it would be, “Yes Sir Colonel! Yes Sir.”  He’d say, “Is there a chair for the Colonel, and bring one for Larry.” It made me very uncomfortable but he would separate me from the others and he’d be 'working it'. I felt very uncomfortable around him and then a couple of years later it all came down.


You were there for some extraordinarily important dates. For instance the mid-sixties when Elvis must have needed something apart from his bad movies. And you brought to him some spiritual interest.

You know every night Elvis and I would spend a couple of hours together alone talking and this went on for years. Even Priscilla in her book points out how we would run off. She was jealous as neither she, nor the guys, knew what we’d talk about.


How is your relationship when you see Priscilla now?

I have run into her a few times and it’s very ‘surface’ and we hug and we do the “Hi, How are you?” but we’re not buddies you know! I found out recently that she’s doing some wonderful charity work which is great so, ‘God Bless her’.


One thing I never understood was how Elvis worked in his meditation and going to the Self Realisation Fellowship within his movie schedule. Did he go there when there were breaks between the films or did he come home every night and say, “Larry, this movie is a pile of shit. Let’s go meditate!”

(Laughing) We’d be out here in Hollywood for pre production for a week or two before shooting started. So we’d go out to visit Daya Mata at 10 o’clock at night. Perhaps we’d go on a Sunday or during the week to the Self-Realisation Park out at the beach. It would be no problem and no one would ever hassle him. They respected the place and the spiritual environment. That’s where his design of the Graceland Meditation Garden came from. Elvis and I designed the whole thing, along with Marty Lacker. By the way, in the final years he meditated every night and before each show I gave him a little spiritual healing. 


Another important event was Aug 27th 1965 when The Beatles came over. What can you tell me about that night?

The Colonel had set up the meeting between Elvis and The Beatles. Beforehand Elvis & I were in the bathroom and I was doing his hair. Elvis was very quiet & drumming his fingers on the ledge. He looked at me and said, “Man, I know what those guys are going through. I’ve been there, I’ve done it. They’re playing to big audiences and I’m doing these bad teenage movies - I’m so embarrassed”.


Elvis looked so phenomenal that night. He used to wear these bolero shirts and had them in every colour, expect brown. He hated brown! He was wearing a blue shirt that night. We all went to the den and all of a sudden we heard screaming, like thunder, as if a bomb went off. The front door opened and outside there were thousands of fans everywhere. The word had got out. What we heard was the front door open as The Beatles walked in! The Beatles came in with Brian Epstein, their manager. They walked up to Elvis and were introduced, and Elvis sits down on the chair. The Beatles all sit down on the floor right in front of Elvis, in a semi-circle, and they look up and they are just gaping & staring at him. There’s this dead silence in the room until Elvis says, “Well, what-the-hell, if you guys aren’t going to talk to me I’m going to my bedroom.” And then everyone started to laugh and that broke the ice. I remember them looking at Elvis’ TV and saying, “Wow look, colour Television!” because they’d never seen colour TV before. After that Ringo & Billy Smith & Marty & Richard all went off & played pool in the pool room.


What about the famous jam-session?

Paul McCartney and John & myself, & possibly Jerry Schilling were sitting around all talking when Paul asked Elvis if he could try one of Elvis’ guitars. Elvis says, “Sure man, go right ahead.” So Paul picks up one and starts strumming followed by John and then Elvis too. So the three of them start jamming for about 20 minutes and I think, 'This is unbelievable! I’m in the centre of the universe right now. The Beatles and Elvis!' The real trip was that Colonel Parker was such a control freak that he wouldn’t even allow one picture to be taken of Elvis & The Beatles together! How ridiculous is that?!


Now at a certain point I wondered where George had got. So I walked outside where it was pitch black but the minute I went out there I knew he was there because I could smell some reefer! There’s George sitting by a tree smoking a joint. I sat around and chatted to him for a while. We had a great talk because I knew that George was into Hindu stuff and later became very close to Sri Daya Mata as well. We had a real spiritual connection. I was so sad when he died last year.


Have you seen those very poor amateur photos of that night?

Yes, I know them. Elvis appeared and said, “Hey you guys! I want to show you something.” First we went outside and looked at his new Rolls Royce. It was mayhem with the crowds screaming both “I Love You Elvis” & “I Love You Beatles.” I remember some teenage girls had climbed high into the trees and used their flash cameras. I think that is where the 2 bad photos of the night come from. Next Elvis took them inside to see his new present from Col parker which was a new sauna-bath off Elvis’ bedroom. Paul looked in to check out the mirror and said to Elvis, “Who’s that in there?” Elvis didn’t know and when we all looked in we found this teenage girl who was hiding under this little wooden bench. She had somehow got by the security. When she saw us she screamed and jumped on Elvis and we had to pry her off!


After The Beatles left and Elvis had said goodbye he & I walked back towards his bedroom and he said, “I really like those guys, they are really good guys. But what’s going on with their teeth?!” Of course, because of the post war shortages in England there was a lack of good food and their teeth were bad.  Anyway Elvis said, “I don’t get it. They have the money why don’t they get their teeth fixed?” Just as we headed for bed Elvis said, “Just remember Larry, there are four of them there is only one of me”!


Did you get to see The Beatles again?

Well, of all the Beatles Elvis definitely liked John Lennon the most. For a few days afterwards John phoned up several times wanting us to all go over and party with them. However the guys all went for the next 3 or 4 nights but Elvis wouldn’t go. The other guys had a great time but I ended up staying with Elvis to keep him company.


There obviously must have been bad tension at times between you and the other members of the Memphis Mafia because of your different background. It also seems that you are often missing from recent documentaries about Elvis, possibly because Joe Esposito is in control? How did you deal with the resentment? 

You got it, that’s the way it is! Well the point is, I was there because that was what I did for a living but more importantly I was there because of Elvis, ‘cos I liked him. Here’s a guy who was so open & so receptive and he was interested in what I had so it was a perfect combination. We were both very into numerology and he was an ‘8’ ‘cos he was born Jan 8th and that was a number which represented being misunderstood and Elvis felt that he was very misunderstood. Misunderstood in his career and with people about who he was. I was born August 8th so I had that same thing going and we would talk about it. Elvis was totally aware of all the jealousy & resentments within the group but he felt that we were there for a larger purpose. That’s what our friendship was based on but it was very difficult. To the outside world I was part of the Memphis Mafia but within the group there were little cliques that hated each other – and they still exist to this day. I had Elvis’ ear and they didn’t like that. They just didn’t know what I we were talking about over the years. In terms of Elvis’ vision for his future, the people around Elvis didn’t know about it except Charlie Hodge. Charlie was aware of it ‘cos he was privy to some very, very important discussions that took place during the last couple of years of Elvis’ life. After a concert the guys would go off to the bar and to pick up chicks and I would go and hang out with Elvis. That was why I was there and I wanted to be there.


Charlie seemed to be one of Elvis’ closest friends.

Charlie was a very nice & honest guy and Billy was always there. I always had a sense of mission so I felt that I could really stick with Elvis through the rougher periods. Though to this day, even with those who had resentments and who I didn’t get along with, I don’t care because we have a bond because we shared something that’s so unique and so profound I can look over all that stuff. What I wouldn’t do to sit with him for ten minutes right now!


There was a long period when you had no contact with Elvis, from 1967 – 1972, after the incident during the filming of Clambake. I remember you saying that when you saw him for the first time again in August 1972 you thought he was deep in trouble even then.

It was my friend Johnny Rivers who suggested we should go and see Elvis in Las Vegas. But when Elvis came on I could see the change and saw it in his eyes. It so happened that I said to someone at our table, “He’s got five years the way he’s going.” I didn’t really mean it of course but it was just that I could tell that something was wrong. You can tell by someone’s body language and I could sense that he was using bad substances and that he probably didn’t have the right elements around him. It was an energy thing.


  Elvis e Larry Geller (Março de 1977).

Legends: Larry with Elvis, in Hawaii, during the March 1977 vacation.


Although The Colonel definitely made some amazing business moves in the early days, it seems that by the mid-Seventies he was flogging his work-horse to death. This must have been terrible to see?

(Sighing) - Oh God, some nights I don’t know how he got through it. On one of Elvis’ last tours we were in Louisville, Kentucky, and Elvis was physically ill and was going through so much emotionally. This one night in particular he was nauseous & feverish and he felt terrible. He couldn’t sleep and he was tossing & turning. I was so tired myself I said, “Hey Elvis, I have got to get some sleep and I’ll see you when you wake up.” We were at the Hilton Hotel and the next day when I got back to Elvis’ suite I walk in and surprisingly Colonel Parker is there. The first time I ever saw him come to Elvis’ room. I say, “Hi Colonel.” He says, “Where is he?” I explain that he’s with Dr Nick and I say, “Let me tell Elvis you’re here.”  The Col brushes past me saying, “No. I’m going right in” and he opens the door.


It pains me to even tell you this but what I saw was Dr Nick kneeling at Elvis’ bed. Elvis is comatose and groaning and Dr Nick is dunking Elvis’ head into a bucket of iced-water to revive him. It was a pathetic sight. The door closes and my first thought was, ‘This is probably good since finally Col Parker is going to find out what the hell is going on. The Old Man is going to see Elvis in this terrible shape, semi-conscious, and stop this awful tour’. A minute later the door opens, Col Parker walks up to me, and I stand up. We stand toe to toe and he looks me in the eyes. He says, “Now you listen to me. The only thing that is important is that that man is on stage tonight! Do you hear me? Nothing else matters.” Then he walks out.


My heart sank. I knew the truth and I wanted to scream. Oh my god, that shallow Motherf****r. I then heard Elvis shout, “Lawrence are you there? Why the hell did you let that bastard in here?” I explained that he had walked right past me and then Elvis ranted for an hour about Col Parker. He just used every word in the book and said, “That big, fat, *** …. I’m going to get rid of his fat ass. Daddy wants to get rid of him; he’s hated him for years. I can’t stand him. He’s lost touch with show business years ago. He’s just using me and I want Tom Hullett to be my manager. After the tour in September that is it!” He talked about who he was going to fire and how he was going to change things for the good.


What about the rumour that Joe worked for the Colonel and Elvis?

Elvis seemed to know and resent that. I feel uncomfortable going over specifics as it wouldn’t be kind but there is much more about that in the new Colonel book. However I can mention a kind of relevant story that is in my book If I Can Dream. One day we were in Chicago and I went into one of the guy’s rooms and said, “I’m so frightened as something is wrong. If you look at Elvis you can see that he is so sick, more than sick and we need to do something as I’m scared something is going to happen.”


He said, “Wait a minute. Larry, you’re being negative. In 20 years from now Elvis is going to be healthier than he is today. Everyone knows that singers get rejuvenated. But I tell you Larry, that something is going to happen to you. And you know why? Cos’ you’re being so damned negative!” I realised that I was speaking a foreign language to someone, with pills in their system, who just couldn’t see the reality and who was in total denial. Later I went & told two of the others but similarly they said that I was just being paranoid. Not knowing what to do I actually went and told Elvis. And I told him the truth and that I was worried. I told him in front of Joe Esposito & Dr Nick.


You must have also been there when the rumours of the Elvis What Happened book started circulating.

When Elvis heard about the EWH book deal, and that the 3 guys were going to spill-their-guts, it blew his mind. He felt that he was being stabbed. He said, “If those guys needed money I’d give them whatever they want. I just don’t want them around me any more. I had $10 million lawsuits because of those guys.” Two or 3 months went by and no one heard any more about the book. Elvis thought that maybe The Col had managed to have it stopped. He said to me that he didn’t think it was coming out after all. However one day, on tour, a fan who had worked at the publishers in New York gave me a manuscript copy. So I went back to my room and I thought, 'Oh Shit, they are going to do him in.'


A lot of it was exaggeration and half-truths. I then felt that I needed to wait for the right moment to tell Elvis ‘cos now I felt the pressure was on me. A couple of weeks later on tour I was staying in Elvis’ room and he was complaining how his throat hurt, how his bones hurt. He felt like there was something wrong and this was where he mentioned possible cancer. I said that he needed to sleep bad and recharge his batteries since he had to be on stage again that night. I let him be and went to my room. 


An hour & ½ later my phone rings, “Lawrence, get back over here please. I can’t sleep, get Dr Nick in here.” Dr Nick arrives and gives Elvis a bunch of pills.  I return to my room and leave him to sleep. That afternoon at 4pm I go back to Elvis to wake him up and I knock on the door gently. Elvis says “Come on in, Lawrence” and he is sitting up in bed. He’s shaking his head and saying, “I can’t make it, man.” At this point Joe walks in. Elvis says, “Listen guys, I’m sick. I gotta cancel the tour. I’m going to call Daddy & you guys come back in 5 minutes.”


I realised that if Elvis cancelled at that moment then it would only help fan the flames of the book that I knew was coming out.


So was that the point when you realised that you had to tell Elvis about the book?

Exactly. With Dr. Nick and Joe there I told Elvis in his bedroom that day. I said, “Elvis, I’ve got to tell you something. No one around you tells you the truth, but you know that book? It is coming out, I’ve seen the proofs.” Elvis turned white. I said, “If you are sick and cancel this tour that is one thing. But the guys are out to crucify you and you have got to know what is going on. They are going to say things that you are not going to like but you’ve got to know the score”.


Elvis was standing up but then he sits down on his bed, in his huge suite, and he says, “Call the Colonel now.” He gets in bed, sits in bed and folds his arms. Charlie Hodge walks in at this point, all jolly and ready to go. Elvis says, “Shut the hell up Charlie.” Now Joe and the rest of us are all sitting on Elvis’ bed when Tom Hullett walks in and asks what’s wrong.


Elvis says, “I can’t make it.  I’m sick man. I hate to do it, I hate to cancel the tour but I can’t make it.” Tom Hullett says the same thing as me. “If you have to do it that’s fine but it will hit the wires. So we have to get you into hospital for the insurance and then get you home.” Elvis motions for me to come in the bathroom with him and he holds his arms up and looks at me. He says, “Look at me Larry, look at me man. I’m shaking, I’m sick” and he’s crying. I start to cry and say, “I know you’re sick but I had to tell you. I’m sorry. This is the moment I had to tell you. Your life is on the line.”


For the next couple of hours we were packing up and getting ready to leave. I didn’t do his hair like I usually did and he was very quiet with me and wouldn’t talk. We fly back to Memphis where I expected that we would go straight to the hospital but we go to Graceland instead. There Elvis eats a big pie and ends up staying in his room until 6am and then he goes to the hospital. I felt that I couldn’t go back to LA until I had talked to him so I went to the hospital where the guys tell me that he doesn’t want to see me. I remember Lamar coming out of Elvis’ room and saying to me, “You told him the truth didn’t you! Man, let me shake your hand. You’re the only one around here who has any balls!”  


I still needed to see Elvis so I waited days in an ante room next to his room. I just couldn’t leave. One morning I came back and then I heard Elvis say, “Lawrence, are you out there?” I went into his room and Elvis says, “Larry, you’ve got to forgive me, brother. It was my ego. You’re here because you tell me the truth. That’s why you’re here. You got to understand what I’m going through.”


In your book you mention that even in his condition Elvis was still making future plans. That at least sounded positive.

Elvis did have future plans both for a book and as an actor. The very next tour was 2 weeks later. We were in Detroit and it was April 25th because we were talking about his Mother, that was her birthday.

Elvis stands up, we’re looking at each other and he puts his hand on my shoulder. With his other hand he points outside and says, “The fans know ‘Elvis’ all right”. Then he poked his chest real hard and says, “But man, they don’t know me. They have no idea.” He says, “Lawrence, are you with me?” 


I ask him what he means and he says, “Look, Larry, if you don’t tell the world the truth they will never know my real story. You are the one that knows me and I wouldn’t ask anyone else. You’re responsible, you got me on this path. You know what I read, know what I go through. You know what I’m trying to do, how I want to help this world. We’re supposed to do something together, Larry. Maybe we’ll write a book. We could call it ‘Through My Eyes’ and we’ll make meaningful movies”. All this sounded so good and I agreed and said, “Of course, Elvis. I’m with you and we can do it.”


In the sixties Elvis would rant & rave about his movies many, many times and how he wanted out. He would say, “Look, I’m not into this just for the money, I’ve always wanted to be an actor”. His real regret was that he never won an Academy Award. I had already been working with him on the docudrama in 1974 about the Martial Arts. So we talked about kicking around movie ideas that Elvis liked and getting some of the best script writers in Hollywood to work on a film tailor-made for him. That was the plan and we even talked about taking a year off in Hawaii for preproduction but, of course, it never happened.


But to do that he would have had to escape from The Colonel, which of course, he tried to do in 1973 but failed.

That’s right! Elvis gave in that time but by 1977 he knew things had to change. He wanted The Colonel out and a new change. He talked of getting married again and having more children. He wanted that. It was a struggle.


In March 77 you did go on that last vacation to Hawaii. Obviously Elvis at the time was really floating between vitamins & health regimes that you were suggesting and Dr Nick and all his chemicals.

I have no respect for Dr Nick. Before a tour would start I would have packets of vitamins and minerals all wrapped up for the tour to help keep me healthy. Plus I was a vegetarian. One day I was in Elvis’ bedroom when he woke up and Dr. Nick was there. I took a packet of vitamins out and put it on the table and said, “Elvis you should take some of these man, they are so good for you.” I also gave a little spiel to him about their benefits. Dr Nick says, “Hey, get that crap out of here. That shit doesn’t work.” Here was a medical Doctor saying this! Of course he is not anymore. Thank God for some justice.


In fact wasn’t 1967 when you first left Elvis the same moment that Dr Nick arrived?

Yeah, and Elvis started his regime of pills at that time.


One of the quotes I like best is when Elvis introduced you to Kathy Westmoreland and said, “Kathy this is the heaviest Motherf***** I have ever met. You’ll never meet anybody heavier than this”. Now that’s a great introduction!

(Laughing) When he said that I thought, “Oh my God! What would she think!” Elvis sort of thought something romantic might happen between Kathy and me but I didn’t want to go there. The guys knew that Elvis respected me. It makes me feel very self-conscious all this… but it is what it is.


Some people say the mystical and spiritual side of Elvis wasn’t important but in the sixties it must have been a real key because here was Elvis making goddamn awful, lightweight movies and he must have been searching for something.

Elvis came from his spiritual base, that’s who he was. The most important thing in his life was his career, his daughter and his spiritual soul. Thirty minutes before Elvis’ funeral Vernon revealed something to me that said it all. We were at Graceland and in the maid’s room I saw Vernon sitting in his suit and looking so forlorn. He motioned me to come in and he said, “Larry, I’ve got to get something off my chest. When you first came around here I was suspicious of you. It was ‘you and Elvis’ all the time and you bringing him all those weird books. I even went to Elvis and told him what I thought but he said, ‘Don’t you worry, Larry’s a great guy.’  It took me a long time, many years, to realise Larry that you & Elvis were just spiritual guys.” The house was full of people and Elvis was lying there in his casket and when Vernon said that, it just hit me like a ton of bricks.


I think so many of us feel so emotional about these last years. It’s just so sad. If only it had been different.

Well, he did have a plan for the future. Even in that last year when he was really sick, and he was taking a lot of pills, Elvis was acutely aware of it. No one knew more of what he was going through than he did. He knew he had a problem & he knew he had to stop. We were going to go to Hawaii and he was going to get rid of most of the people who worked for him and keep a skeletal crew. He was going to get rid of Col parker.


He said, “Man, I want to get off these pills and I want to get a good diet and I want to exercise. I want to come back next year & I want to make movies again. Not those teenybopper movies but real dramatic roles and I can show the fans who I really am.” He was serious at the time.


The tragedy of Elvis’ life is that here’s the guy that had it all. He was, is, and always will be The King. But he knew he was toxic and that his diet was outrageously bad and that he had to clean up his system. He knew that there were people around who were not his friends but were just there for the pay check. Elvis was smart, & smarter than anyone around him, and he was making plans. The tragedy was that he procrastinated.


Surely the last few years for Elvis were a roller coaster ride in his head with moments of clarity and then he would be down in depression?

Sure. Life and death were on each of his shoulders and sadly death won.


I think I need to change our mood with a very lightweight question. As you spent so long by his side, and attended so many concerts, what is the Elvis song that means the most to you?

The song that blows me away is Unchained Melody because Elvis put that in his shows the last couple of months of his life. It was Elvis and the piano and a blue light on him. When I hear that it blows me away. That New Year’s Eve concert 76 when he sings both Rags To Riches and Unchained Melody – he was phenomenal that night. One of his best ever concerts and he looked great. In fact Jimmy Carter called him that night when we were back at the hotel. I picked up the phone and told Elvis that it was someone pretending to be The President of the United States. But it really was him and Elvis was expecting his call!


What’s Larry Geller doing now?

I’m working on a new book that I originally discussed with Elvis. I was going to do a Health & Hair care book and at the time Elvis said that I could use his name on the book. He was very happy to be associated with health and thought that it would be good for his image. He even discussed being in a commercial for me! Elvis had talked about it with Vernon, but Elvis died before any contracts were signed and then I felt I couldn’t go through with it.


But I’m doing it now and I have revamped it. I will talk all about my early years with Elvis and all the celebrities. The book is called, GellerCare: Healthy Hair, Healthy Life and is all about life and rejuvenation, nutrition and spiritual growth and everything you need to know about hair. It should be coming out early next year and there’ll be photos from every movie that I made with Elvis.


A tricky final question for you. You talked a lot with Elvis about reincarnation and karma. Do you dream of him, and do you think you will ever meet Elvis again?

That’s a good question. I have so many dreams of him it’s uncanny. I wake up and it’s like...,"Wow, that was cool.’’ The other is a big question though… What happens when we leave this life? My answer is: Yes. I hope to see Elvis again. God bless him.


Thanks so much for sparing so much of your time, Larry. It’s been fantastic talking to you.

Keep well and I hope that we can catch up again one day. 


Source: Internet.

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