Presley, Elvis/elvis


hello tony I really like elvis too, im always imitating his accent with due respect......any way my question is who and what was that guy named Red and what was his job to elvis. thank you rip elvis


That "guy" is named Red West and his years with Elvis go all the way back to high school.  He was Elvis's bodyguard starting during Elvis's early years of touring and stayed in that position until 1967 when he left over a dispute about who was supposed to attend Elvis's wedding but he came back two years later, in August, 1970, when Elvis received a very serious death threat.  Luckily and thankfully, nothing happened, but that only caused the security around Elvis to become that much tighter.  Red has a cousin and his name is Delbert "Sonny" West.  Sonny came to work for Elvis in 1960 after meeting him a couple of years earlier in Memphis.  Sonny was also Elvis's bodyguard and he took his job, as did Red, very seriously.  July 8, 1976 was the very last time that either Red or Sonny saw Elvis Presley alive.

On June 13, 1976, Vernon Presley called up Red and simply told him that he had been fired and was given the reason as being that expenses were getting too high (which was silly - Vernon just didn't want them around anymore so he, IMO, saw a chance to get rid of them) and then he called Sonny (who was at his dentist's office getting some dental work done) and told him that he had been fired.  Sonny tried calling Dr. Elias Ghanem (now deceased) to talk to Elvis in Palm Springs, CA but Elvis wouldn't talk to them.  Elvis had told his father to let them go (at that time) but to tell them that they would be re-hired later and given $5,000.00 -- that never materialized.  

Red & Sonny began trying to find work after being fired and, for the most part, were unsuccessful.  (I should mention that Dave Hebler, who came into the group in 1974 as a bodyguard, was also fired during this time).  Whoever it was that thought of the idea, be it Red or Sonny, thought that the best way to get Elvis to see what he was doing to himself (since Elvis wouldn't talk to any of them) was to write a book.  Sadly, neither Red nor Sonny knew much about how to go about writing a book and they hired sensationalist, Steve Dunleavey, who was a journalist for the National Enquirer.  Details began to leak about the book into the print publications and Elvis even offered them all money to stop the book that later became, "Elvis: What Happened?" but to no avail.  The book debuted on August 1, 1977 and Elvis died fifteen days later.  

To this day, I still believe that Red, Sonny & Dave were doing their best to help save Elvis but as Dave Hebler said in the "Good Morning, America" clip used in the 1981, 1983 and most recent DVD version of the movie, "This Is Elvis", "How do you save a man from himself?" but I do NOT believe that the book "caused" Elvis's death.  Elvis just took too much medication (whether it was legal or illegal) and his heart just couldn't take anymore.  

As of today, 2012, Red is still acting in films (as he has since 1973) and Sonny iis a born-again Christian who still raises Arabian horses and goes around the country telling fans of his time with Elvis in a program called, "An Evening With Sonny West" from which came a DVD a few years ago (I believe that the DVD is now out-of-print).  

I hope this helps answer your question, sir, and thank you for allowing me to be the one to try to help answer it.  

Take Care/God Bless & Have A Very Merry Christmas And A Wonderful New Year!

Take Care/God Bless,
Tony Trout

Presley, Elvis

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Tony Trout


I can answer any questions relating to the career and life of Elvis Presley...ANY QUESTION!


I have studied Elvis's music and life and career for over twenty years and I feel that I know most everything about Elvis that there is to know.

I ateended high school until my Junior year but had to drop out due to abuse from the other students (I have Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus)

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