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Elvis: How King looked after illiterate uncle when he was too ill to be a Graceland guard

Graceland: Take a live virtual tour of Elvis' Memphis home

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When Elvis Presley shot to fame he needed security so ended up hiring his mother Gladys’ brother, Travis Smith, to be his first Graceland guard. The King’s uncle and mother were pretty tight from their early years and the Presley and Smith families moved from Tupelo, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee together. In their new home city they shared a house, with the Presleys downstairs and the Smiths upstairs.

Travis’ son Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin who was a Memphis Mafia member, shared the story of his father in the latest YouTube episode of Memphis Mafia Kid.

He said how his father worked for the Precision Tool Company in Memphis and bought a 1951 Chevrolet, which he let Elvis take his driving test in.

When The King became famous in 1956, the family had moved to Audubon Drive where they asked Travis to be a guard out front.

Elvis’ uncle, who got on well with people, would crowd control the fans and made sure they kept off the neighbour’s lawns.

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