VIPs AND CELEBRITIES
JOE ESPOSITO – When “Diamond Joe” Esposito went to work for Elvis Presley in 1960, the two were already friends. They met in the Army, and in the years to come, Esposito would serve as Elvis’ road manager, bodyguard and go-to guy. Joe is highly regarded as Elvis’ closest confidant and friend. He was the Elvis’ best man when the King married Priscilla Beaulieu, and it was Esposito who administered CPR to Elvis on Aug. 16, 1977. He later was a spokesman for the entourage, and remained with the estate, helping to catalog the inventory. Since then, he has been a champion of the Elvis legacy and in 2006 wrote the memoir, “Remember Elvis.” JERRY SCHILLING – A 12-year-old Jerry Schilling met “A Guy Named Elvis” in 1954 in Memphis at a local pick up football game. As Elvis’s career soared, so did their friendship. In 1964 Elvis asked Jerry to come work with him and become a member of his private entourage, “The Memphis Mafia.” Since then Jerry has spent 45 years in the entertainment industry working as an actor, film editor, documentary and film producer, has managed such artists as The Beach Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lisa Marie Presley and was the tour manager for Billy Joel. Jerry still proudly resides in the home Elvis gave him back in 1974. DJ FONTANA – The drummer in Elvis’ original band, DJ was the man behind the beat for the first 15 years of Elvis’ career. Along with playing on approximately 460 RCA cuts with the King, DJ and Scotty Moore received the Nashville Music Award for the best independent album of the year in 1998 for “All the Kings Men.” In 2009, DJ was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. TOM BROWN – Tom Brown is the vice president of original productions for Turner Classic Movies. While at TCM, Brown has been the executive in charge of production on special projects featuring Priscilla Presley, Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Jerry Schilling, George Klein, Joe Esposito and the TCB Band. He has been the host of several Elvis Week events, interviewing Elvis’ band members, personal friends and movie costars. ED ENOCH is a legendary vocalist in the music industry. His professional capabilities and dynamic, powerful voice have earned him much respect. He is a successful businessman, entertainer and a leading, legendary Gospel music artist. Ed creates an imposing presence. His strong lead voice is powerful, inspiring and clearly recognizable. The “sound” of the Stamps Quartet is attributed to the amazing lead vocals of Enoch’s distinctive lead voice. Ed began his early professional music career in 1969 as Baritone vocalist of The Stamps Quartet and later became lead vocalist and road manager for the group. In 2003 Enoch was granted the official ownership of the historical Stamps Quartet name. The Stamps Quartet began working as back up vocalist for “the world’s greatest entertainer, Elvis Presley in February 1971. They toured and recorded wth Elvis until his untimely death in August 1977. Ed states, “working for Elvis Presley was a wonderful experience. Elvis was a class act and a kind and endearing friend.” Every night after Elvis’ concerts, the Stamps Quartet were summoned to his hotel suite where we san Gospel music with Elvis until sunrise. ESTELLE BROWN – The surviving member of Elvis’ Sweet Inspirations, Estelle was also on stage on that historical night in 1969. In addition to singing with Elvis, Estelle and “The Sweets” provided background vocals on more million-seller singles than any other group. CYNTHIA PEPPER – Elvis’ costar in “Kissin’ Cousins,” Cynthia remembers the experience as the highlight of her career. “Getting to know Elvis was an experience I will never forget.” Starting with a TV career with roles in various popular shows of the time. Baby boomer fans still hold a strong, sentimental fondness for her. An irresistible Barbie Doll TV version of Sandra Dee at the time of her brief small screen reign, the pert, pretty and pixieish actress proved to be a lovely fresh-faced by-product of the innocent early 60s. DARLENE TOMPKINS – An accomplisheChicago-born Darlene Tompkins came from a “show biz family”, with relatives who worked in vaudeville and in plays (Tompkins’ three-years-younger aunt is actress Beverly Washburn). A beauty contest victory opened some Hollywood doors for Tompkins, who began appearing in commercials, co-starred in Beyond the Time Barrier (1960) (at age 18) and appeared in TV series and additional features, including Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii (1961). SAMMY SHORE – Unfortunately, following his doctor’s advice, Sammy Shore will not be appearing this year as he is recovering from a heart condition. If you recall the International marquee then you remember seeing Sammy Shoe’s name up there along with Elvis’. “The man who made Elvis laugh,” opened Elvis’ shows during the King’s legendary run in Las Vegas and on his touring dates of the ‘70’s.. JIMMY VELVET – Jimmy was a young recording artist in the 1950’s with hit songs “We Belong Together,” and “Teen Angel.” Jimmy met Elvis when he was fifteen years old and the two remained life long friends. MARIAN COCKE – Elvis’ friend and his nurse for the last two and a half years of his life. She is the host of the Elvis Presley Memorial Dinner Charity event held each year in Memphis. Marian’’s book, “I Called Him Babe” remains a fan favorite and she has a DVD audio book “An Evening with Marian” recounting fond memories of Elvis in a personal way for his fans to enjoy.