George Klein (DJ)
|Born||October 8, 1935|
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||February 5, 2019 (aged 83)|
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Little (m. 1970–????; div.). Dara Klein|
George "GK" Klein (October 8, 1935 – February 5, 2019), born in Memphis, Tennessee, was an American disc jockey, and television host. He met Elvis Presley in the eighth grade at Humes High School in North Memphis, and they remained friends until Presley's death in 1977.
George Klein was born October 8, 1935, in Memphis, Tennessee. Klein met Presley when both were 13 years old in the eighth grade in 1948 at Humes High School. "Elvis was the only kid in school that could sing,” said Klein. "I was really lucky because his mother liked me." Others argue at the time it was Elvis who was the lucky one. Klein was the class president, the guy the would-be 'king', looked up to.
Years later, it was Presley who stole the spotlight, recording songs at Sun Records. "So Elvis goes into That's Alright Mama and man he took off like fireworks! Sam said, 'son, I think you got something'," said Klein. He had a long and successful career as a Memphis radio DJ and TV personality, hitting the airwaves in 1957 and hosted Talent Party on WHBQ-TV from 1964 to 1973. He also was a member of the famed Memphis Mafia, consisting of Elvis Presley’s closest friends and associates, and appeared in cameo roles in eight of Presley’s movies. In his later years, Klein hosted both SiriusXM’s channel 19 Elvis Radio and the George Klein Original Elvis Hour on WLFP FM. Klein also wrote two books. The first, Elvis Presley: A Family Album, was published in 2007, by Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. The second, Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights; and Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley, was co-written with Chuck Crisafulli and published in 2011, by Three Rivers Press.
Conviction and sentencing for mail fraud
Klein was indicted and convicted of mail fraud in 1977. Klein, the former program director for WHBQ radio Memphis, went to trial after being indicted on four counts of conspiring with a former postal employee to steal Arbitron diaries. Klein pleaded not guilty, although he admitted to filling out diaries in order to inflate WHBQ’s ratings. Klein was acquitted of three mail fraud charges, but found guilty on one count of conspiracy and sentenced to 60 days in federal prison.
Personal life and death
Klein married Barbara Little on December 5, 1970, in Las Vegas. Little later divorced Klein in 1979 and married Richard Bauer. She died on December 20, 2013, from cancer. Klein married Dara Patterson on May 8, 1998 in Memphis, TN and was still married at the time of his death. He was a fan of the Memphis Tigers. According to local news reports, Klein died in Memphis due to complications from dementia. The Twitter account of Priscilla Presley stated Klein had been in hospice care prior to his death. He also had pneumonia. Presley said of Klein that her former husband liked his personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a "guys thing", with their own inside jokes and their "own language". She said she had been in constant contact with Klein and other of her former husband's friends Jerry Schilling and Marian Justice Cocke while Klein had been ill.
- "Johnny Cash's Radio Debut: DJ George Klein Was There". Gibson. Nashville, Tennessee: Gibson Brands, Inc. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- Sainz, Adrian (February 7, 2019). "George Klein, Elvis Presley's friend, and radio host, dies at 83". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco: Hearst Communications. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
- Betts, Stephen L. (February 6, 2019). "George Klein, Elvis Presley Confidant, Dead at 83". Rolling Stone. New York City: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- WHBQ-TV Staff. "George Klein, friend of Elvis and legendary Memphis DJ, dies after complications from dementia". WHBQ-TV. Memphis, Tennessee: Cox Media Group. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Lockerbie, Caitlin (February 5, 2019). "Memphis DJ & Elvis' Best Friend George Klein Has Died". WATN-TV. Memphis, Tennessee: Nexstar Media Group. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- WMC Action News 5 Staff (February 5, 2019). "George Klein, legendary DJ and best friend of Elvis, passes away". WMC-TV. Memphis, Tennessee: Gray Television. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Roberts, Jeremy (August 19, 2017). "Legendary Memphis deejay George Klein salutes Elvis every Friday on SiriusXM". Medium. United States: A Medium Corporation. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Klein, George (2007). Elvis Presley: A Family Album (1st ed.). New York City: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0316003506.
- Klein, George (2011). Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights. New York City: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0307452757.
- Crisafulli, Chuck; Klein, George (2011). Me and a Guy Named Elvis: My Lifelong Friendship with Elvis Presley. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0753539538.
- Klein, p. 276.
- Nash, Alanna (2005). Elvis and the Memphis Mafia. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1845131289.
- WGNS Staff (May 4, 2013). "2013 TN Radio Hall of Fame Class Inducted in Murfreesboro". WGNS. Murfreesboro, Tennessee: The Rutherford Group, Inc. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Greene, Alex (October 12, 2018). "Memphis Music Hall of Fame Announces 2018 Inductees". Memphis Flyer. Memphis, Tennessee: Contemporary Media, Inc. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
- "Barbara Klein has passed away". elvispresleyfansofnashville.com. Nashville, Tennessee: Blogger. Weebly. December 21, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Barbara Klein Bauer". Find a Grave. United States: Ancestry.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- Boyd, Jared (February 5, 2019). "Legendary Memphis Deejay, Elvis'Friend George Klein Dies". The Daily Memphian. Memphis, Tennessee: Memphis Fourth Estate, Inc. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
- "Twitter @Cilla_Presley". Twitter.com. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
- Associated Press (February 6, 2019). "George Klein, friend of Elvis Presley and longtime radio host, dead at 83". Fox News. New York City: Fox Corporation. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Klein, George (2011). Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock 'n' Roll Nights. New York City: Three Rivers Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-0307452757.
- George Klein NAMM Oral History Interview (2000)
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