Red West passed away July 18, 2017

  • I just don’t have the words but my prayers go out to the family and loved ones.
  • To be continued…

PRESS RELEASE:

  • Courtesy of Hollywood online
  • Red West, a boyhood friend and member of Elvis Presley’s “Memphis Mafia” who appeared in many of the singer’s movies as well as in Road HouseBlack Sheep Squadron and Goodbye Solo, has died. He was 81.

West died Tuesday at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis after suffering an aortic aneurysm, his wife, Pat, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper.

West appeared as a stuntman/actor on dozens of episodes of CBS’ futuristic Western series The Wild Wild West in the 1960s and a decade later had a regular role as Sgt. Andy Micklin on another Robert Conrad-starrer, NBC’s Black Sheep Squadron.

He portrayed Red Webster, the owner of an auto parts store who gets his revenge against Ben Gazzara’s character, in the Patrick Swayze classic Road House (1989) and was Sheriff Tanner in the Walking Tall movies released in 1973 and 1975.

As a leading man, West garnered acclaim when he played an old-timer who forges a friendship with a Senegalese cab driver (Souleymane Sy Savane) in director Ramin Bahrani’s North Carolina-set drama Goodbye Solo (2008).

A native of Memphis, West played football in junior college, served in the U.S. Marines and became a Golden Gloves boxer and karate instructor. He first connected with Presley when both were students at Humes High School, he recalled in a 2008 interview.

“Elvis was always different,” he said. “We had crew cuts and wore T-shirts and blue jeans; Elvis had the long ducktail, the long sideburns, and he wore the loud clothes and naturally was a target for all the bullies. One day luckily I walked into the boys’ bathroom at Humes High School and three guys were going to cut his hair just, you know, to make themselves look big or make them feel big or whatever, and I intervened and stopped it.”

After Presley began his recording career, West served as his driver and then worked as one of his bodyguards for years. Meanwhile, he appeared alongside Presley in 18 films, including Flaming Star (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls!(1962), It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Live a Little, Love a Little(1968).

West also wrote or co-wrote such Presley songs as “Separate Ways,” “If Every Day Was Like Christmas” and “If You Talk in Your Sleep” and worked with singers Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone and Johnny Rivers as well.

One year after he was fired by Presley’s father and two weeks before Elvis’ death on Aug. 16, 1977, the tell-all book Elvis: What Happened?, co-written by West, was published and became a controversial best-seller.

West, who studied with the acclaimed acting teacher Jeff Corey, also appeared in at least two movies filmed in his hometown — Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker (1997) and Ira Sachs’ Forty Shades of Blue (2005) — and on a 2011 episode of the TNT series Memphis Beat.

His film résumé also included Two for the Seesaw(1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Legend of Grizzly Adams (1990), Natural Born Killers(1994), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer(1998), Cookie’s Fortune (1999) and Glory Road(2006), and on TV he was seen on BonanzaMannixGet SmartThe Six Million Dollar ManThe Fall Guy and Nashville.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Pat — who was one of Elvis’ secretaries — and sons John and Brent.

Linda Thompson book to be released August 2016

*** Book cover courtesy of Amazon.com ***

 

Linda Thompson is well known to Elvis Presley fans around the world as being the woman Elvis chose to date, for a period of years, after Elvis seperated/divorced from Priscilla. But her life story is not limited to being one of the great loves of Elvis (which she was).

People email me around the world, to http://www.ElvisCollector.info and http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org, asking why I don’t have photos/videos/blogs/audio/etc. about Lisa Marie and/or Linda Thompson. My answer has been, and will forever be, that Lisa Marie has her own (blessed) memories and she has forums in which to tell her story. Thus it is not my place to interject concerning a father and his daughter.

Pertaining to Linda Thompson she also has her own story and forums in which to share and/or tell her story and I trust the judgment, and wisdom, of Linda Thompson.

My observations concerning Linda Thompson is that she really loved, and cared for above and beyond, Elvis. She is (including but not limited to); very intelligent, (no disrespect intended) but a beautiful person/woman, quick witted, funny, fashionable, loyal, trustworthy, a successful and talented writer including several beautiful songs such as “my grown up Christmas list” which, in full disclosure, is one of my favorite “contemporary Christmas songs”.  Personally she is a wonderful mother and grandmother and she exudes a spiritual (positive) spirit and can (literally) light up a room.

Her new book, scheduled to be released in August of 2016 per Amazon, is entitled “A little thing called life”. Her is the direct link for pre-ordering/ordering Linda Thompson book released August 2016. I pre-ordered her book via Amazon and look forward to receiving it,  and reading it, and I am thankful that she opted to share aspects of her life with the world. Doing so is a brave and honorable thing.

I remember first seeing Linda Thompson back in the 1970’s a couple of times and then (sadly) during Elvis’ funeral with her (if my memory is correct) mother. The first few times I saw her she was immaculately dressed and affectionate/supportive of Elvis publicly and vice versa. But when I saw her at Elvis’ funeral she was (justifiably so)…devastated. Yet she was doing everything she could, with a grace and loving heart, to comfort Lisa Marie and Vernon Presley (who was beyond crushed and it was very moving/touching to see how many friends/family members/co-workers/relatives/etc. were doing everything they could for Vernon. But, his sorrow went to his marrow). His heart. His soul. He loved his son and I don’t know how he was able to get through Elvis’ funeral and the months afterward until he (sadly) died.

Interestingly Linda’s older brother, Sam Thompson, worked  in a security capacity for Elvis from 1972 until 1976 (approximately when Linda Thompson and Elvis ended their relationship). Sam Thompson went on to have a successful career and I wish him continued success in all of his personal and professional endeavors.

I have always encouraged Elvis Presley fans to; reach out, support, let them know how much they are respected and appreciated, add their various works to their collection(s), seek out, and acknowledge their lives and their sacrifices (which include the sacrifices of their family/loved ones). These sentiments are, of course, applicable to Linda Thompson.

I have always believed that Elvis Presley fans are the most loyal, and diverse, fans in the world. I hope that they, and tens of thousands of others, purchase her book – encourage family/friends to do so – and share their feedback via social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.).

I say this (in part) because Linda Thompson has had a unique life , and is not solely about Elvis but includes aspects about Elvis from her firsthand perspective, and any endeavor she is involved in, in my opinion, is a worthwhile endeavor and should be very interesting. I look forward to reading her book and I am thankful she took the time to write this long awaited book.

Take care and may God bless you and yours…always.

 

Jeff Schrembs

ME July 12 2016.jpg

 

* Please feel free to share this blog post via social media. As always your comments are appreciated. Thank you

 

 

Book review of “Elvis Aaron Presley”

Elvis Aaron Presley by Alanna Nash, Billy Smith, Lamar Fike, and Marty Lacker (1996 reprint) is an excellent book.

This book can be found online as well as on www.Amazon.com.

 

WHY you ask?

 

Well, I will tell you.

 

First and foremost these individuals were with Elvis, including Billy Smith who was Elvis’ cousin, for either (a) all of his life and/or (b) the vast majority of his life.

 

Secondly, Marty Lacker is an honorable honest and faithful friend of Elvis’ and been an Elvis Presley (facts both good and not so good) confidant since the early 1960s.

 

Lamar Fike was a funny, caring, and sincere man who never left a room before leaving his laughter/sense of humor on everyone. Sadly Lamar Fike passed away recently and our prayers remain with his family, friends and loved ones.

 

Billy Smith was with Elvis the day of his death and played racquetball with Elvis (as Elvis could not sleep). Sadly, Billy Smith was the last person on earth to hear/see Elvis sing a song (as Elvis played the piano which was outside his racquetball court in the same building and the song he played/sang was “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”).

 

Alanna Nash is the foremost author concerning Elvis Presley. Her writings are “sourced” and her writing style leads the reader effortlessly throughout this book and each of her books.

 

One of the great things about Alanna Nash’s writings are that she puts things into context that may be controversial but are necessary to fully examine various aspects of Elvis’ life onstage and off.

 

The stories contained in this book are memorable and the individuals who wrote this book are exceptional men (individually and collectively). They were proud of being Elvis friends and they loved him…and he loved them as well.

 

That alone, ladies and gentlemen, is reason enough to get this book and learn more about the world’s greatest entertainer and the man himself.

 

Take care and God bless.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

The last living links to Elvis Presley (by Jeff Schrembs)

The Rolling Stones had a, justifiably so, hit song entitled “Time is on my side”. With each passing year we have learned that this is not so. Time will go on long after we physically leave this world.

On August 16, 1977 at the age of 42 Elvis Aron Presley died. His health (mentally, physically and emotionally) had been deteriorating since 1973. The greatest entertainer in history had died and the world was in mourning.

At the time of his death the various family members, and friends, rallied around Colonel Parker and Vernon Presley (who was inconsolable and in shock as well as having his own severe health issues) in a constant state of chaos having not only lost a friend – a loved one – but also (in many cases) their employer.

In the days immediately after they had no time to grieve as the swells, and the media coverage, filled the infamous Graceland gates with hundreds of thousands of fans. Flower shops for miles were sold out. Elvis last album, Moody Blue, sold 1 million copies within a week.

Elvis fans suffered in the heat and at night sweated as candles were held up and personal stories recalled.

I will never forget that day nor will I forget the legacy, and the ups and downs of being a fan, of Elvis Presley. Our generation is truly the last living links to Elvis Presley as sadly other generations can only read about him, learn about him, watch tapes of him, but never can comprehend the musical scene in which Elvis triumphed – went into the Army – did his first comeback – went into the movies for 9 years – did the 68 Special – started touring and performing live in Vegas – toured from 1970-1977 – and created a great body of songs that still resonate these (4) four decades later.

With each passing year (sadly) we have lost loved ones, friends, relatives, etc. of Elvis Presley, Recently we lost Lamar Fike and Myrna Smith. My prayers continue to go out to their family and loved ones.

As of this writing (June 2013) there remains essential players in the “Elvis Presley story” being; Marty Lacker, Sonny West, Red West, Billy Smith, Jerry Schilling, Joe Esposito, Sandi Pichon and even Priscilla. Lisa Marie stands alone and I applaud her for excelling as a Mother having lost, at such a young age, her beloved Father…Elvis.

Though Elvis fans will form their own opinions, 99.9% on opinions not put into context or taking into consideration the fact that Elvis loved each of these individuals over a period of decades, I have always supported each of these individuals endeavors and I have respect for them. They remain “living breathing witnesses” to greatness. They were loved and trusted by Elvis. They shared in his success. His failures. His depression. His deteriorating health. And most of all in his life. I encourage everyone to seek out these individuals and support their endeavors for time holds no guarantees.

Outside of these few are those who have given of their time – their expertise – and of their passion by writing books, in context, about Elvis. Such is the case with Alanna Nash. I have read her books about Elvis knowing as much about Elvis as anyone outside of the Memphis Mafia, Priscilla and/or Lisa Marie. Alanna Nash writes about all aspects of Elvis, the good and the not so good, and provides a context. I applaud her for doing so and I thank her.

It is my hope that those of my generation never take for granted those who are actual links to Elvis. For Elvis himself often questioned, his friends and of God, “will they remember me when I am gone”? We have never forgotten him and I hope that the answer to this questions continues to be a resounding….YES.

Elvis was more than an image. More than a persona. He was a man who achieved greatness, in every avenue he pursued, while having his own self doubts and temperament. He was, of course, imperfect but he was unique and he used the talents he was blessed with and he shared it with the world. His story would be incomplete had it not of been for the inclusiveness of these individuals whom I have specified herein. I hope that they never stop sharing their memories. Sharing their time. And sharing their talents. For we lost enough on August 16, 1977.

Take care and may God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

www.ElvisCollector.info