Music

Elvis Presley’s Memphis Mafia: ‘King wasn’t strict, but he’d find out if you broke trust’

Follow That Dream: Elvis Presley stars in 1962 trailer

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Elvis Presley’s inner circle was famously known as the Memphis Mafia. The King’s group of male associates and bodyguards were on his payroll and had open house access to Graceland. And now in a new interview, Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith has shared how the Memphis Mafia didn’t have to sign confidentiality agreements because allegedly The King and his father Vernon weren’t that strict.

Billy appeared on the Memphis Mafia YouTube channel with his son Danny to answer fan questions.

On if there was a need for NDAs among his inner circle, The King’s cousin said: “Elvis and Vernon were not that strict. Elvis picked people he wanted.

“He knew who he could trust. If you broke that trust somehow or another it didn’t take long to get back to him and you were [throws thumb over his shoulder].

“But believe it or not, most of the ones he chose – except for maybe two or three over the years – were still there and extremely trustworthy.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/sSKstGvYlag

Billy added: “We all pretty much had the same goal in mind which was take care of Elvis and his needs.”

The Memphis Mafia would also hang out with The King at his concerts and on movie sets.

In another video, Billy remembered how he first started working for Elvis in 1961 when he was shooting Follow That Dream.

He said: “Boy, it was quite something to be able to live that experience at that time. My Mom and Dad got to come down too and my brother, to watching the filming of it all, that was another treat.”

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Billy even featured in the movie as a double but for Elvis’ female co-star Anne Helm with ballon breasts.

The Memphis Mafia member shared how Hollywood movies usually had to advertise for extras and doubles, but they didn’t want to slow production down.

So director Gordon Douglas pointed out Billy and said to Elvis: “He’s about the right size and I think we can make him enough from behind to look like Anne that he can double for [her].”

Billy continued: “[It was] in the scene [where] they’re walking down this road and this car comes from out of nowhere and it’s actually trying to hit them.”

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Billy added: When they dressed me up they had this straw hat that Anne had on and they put her hair up in a ponytail.

“So they put a ponytail on me and the ponytail was hanging down the straw hat.”

Elvis’ cousin also shared how he had to wear two balloons as breasts under his shirt that were held in place by tape.

The Memphis Mafia member remembered with a laugh: “I slapped every sucker that reached to feel!”

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