Presley, Elvis/Memphis Mafia
Hello. I was wondering about the infamous Memphis Mafia. What kinds of services did they perform for the King? Did he support them financially, and did they live with him? How did he choose them?
Hello, thanks for writing. The guys in the Memphis Mafia (MM) served their main function by simply being around Elvis. That was their purpose for the most part. However, they also filled practical roles in Elvis's life, from doing his hair, running errands, playing football with him, etc., until the days when they were "promoted," so to speak, to jobs like working with Colonel Parker on tour logistics and scheduling, taking care of the ranch (in MS), etc. Elvis often paid a salary to those who worked in an "offical" capacity for him, but for the most part the MM lived off of the fringe benefits, i.e. gifts, cars, houses, bonuses, and the like. Very few were around all the time, since they did have families and jobs to attend to, but a few of them did spend a lot of time with Elvis. A couple of the guys even lived on Elvis's property.
As for the selection process, Elvis enjoyed people with good personalities, of course, like we all do (I presume), but he mainly wanted guys around him who were loyal and trustworthy, and who were deferential to him. He also kept a handful of guys from his family close by, and family members were very important to him. So, I don't know that there was a specific method that Elvis used to choose guys to hang around him (again, the primary function of the MM), but he typically selected guys he clicked with, and who knew who the boss was.
Finally, over the 23 years or so that Elvis was in the public eye, the MM grew and changed, but for the most part there was a core group.
I hope this answers your questions. If you've got a follow-up, you can contact me back here through the AE website, or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.