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Robert Gene "Red" West (born 1936) is an American actor, film stuntman and songwriter. He was a close high school friend of rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. He is probably best known to American film audiences for his role as Red in Road House, alongside Patrick Swayze.
West was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Lois and Newton Thomas West. An excellent athlete and former U.S. Marine, West played football for his high school and junior college teams and was a boxer in the Golden Gloves championships.
West and Elvis
In the entourage
Red West was fired by Elvis and subsequently helped write the book "Elvis, What Happened" which was published weeks before Elvis' death. The book, according to West in the book, was an attempt to help Elvis, but believed by some to be an attempt to retaliate and earn an income after being fired. Other parties close to Elvis have little to do with West.
Dismissal and Elvis: What Happened?
In 1976, West was involved in a series of heavy-handed incidents in Las Vegas with aggressive fans that got out of hand, drawing criticism by the media. More than that, West was becoming more vocal about Presley's drug problem and how he needed rehab. As a result, West, his cousin Sonny, and a third bodyguard named David Hebler were fired by Elvis's father, Vernon Presley, who hated most of, if not all, the members of his son's entourage. Most Elvis fans and family have little to do with Red West because of his perceived disloyalty.
As a songwriter
Red West contributed to several songs written by Elvis Presley in 1961 and 1962. He received help from Elvis Presley in writing two songs in the early 1960s, which were collaborations: "You'll Be Gone" and "That's Someone You Never Forget." "You'll Be Gone" was also co-written with Charlie Hodge, and appeared on the Girl Happy soundtrack album and as a 45 single in 1965. The single reached number 35 on the Canadian singles chart in 1965. "That's Someone You Never Forget" was the final track on the 1962 album Pot Luck and was released as a 45 B side single in 1967 and was featured on the Artist of the Century compilation. Red also co-wrote "If You Think I Don't Need You" with Joey Cooper for the motion picture Viva Las Vegas. He teamed up with Joey Cooper again on "I'm A Fool," which Ricky Nelson recorded. "I'm A Fool" later became a hit for Dino, Desi and Billy, the partnership of Dean-Paul "Dino" Martin, Desi Arnaz Jr., and William "Billy" Hinsche. He also collaborated on authorship and composition of the selections "Seeing Is Believing" and "Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees," both with Glenn Spreen, "Separate Ways" with Richard Mainegra, and "If You Talk In Your Sleep" with Johnny Christopher; Presley himself recorded the last of these in the early 1970s. The Christmas song "If Everyday Was Like Christmas" was written by West and recorded by Elvis in 1966. Red had put out his own recording of "If Every Day Was Like Christmas" in 1965 on the Brent label. It was not known to have charted as of late July 2012.
Career in film and television
When Presley was making films in the 1960s in Hollywood, Red West appeared in small roles in sixteen of the star's films. During this time, West became good friends with actor Nick Adams and his physical abilities got him hired on as a stuntman on Adams' television series, The Rebel. From there, West went on to do more stunt work in film as well as developing a career as an actor in a number of motion pictures and on television. He was often on screen as a henchman in the television series The Wild Wild West. He was also a stuntman on the series and developed a strong friendship with the star Robert Conrad Red had a tiny role as an ice cream man in the 1967 movie Clambake, starring Bill Bixby and Shelly Fabares.
West played Master Sergeant Andy Micklin in the 1978 Robert Conrad series Baa Baa Black Sheep. He also guest starred twice on the CBS hit Magnum, P.I. (as different characters), as four different characters on NBC's hit The A-Team, Knight Rider pilot episode Knight of the Phoenix, and in The Once and Future King (The Twilight Zone) as the man who played an Elvis impersonator's boss at the Crown Electric company (and who was a real-life schoolmate and best friend of Elvis). In 1989 West appeared in the action film Road House with Patrick Swayze as Red Webster, the auto parts store owner.
West continued to work in motion pictures as of early February 2013. His most recent role was in the 2013 film Safe Haven.
- Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)
- Walking Tall (1973)
- Walking Tall Part II (1975)
- Hard Knox (1984)
- Road House (1989)
- Her Hidden Truth (1995)
- The Rainmaker (1997)
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
- Glory Road (2006)
- Goodbye Solo (2009)
- Father of Invention (2010)
- At Any Price (2012)
- Safe Haven (film) (2013)