Elvis Presley’s Health, His Struggles, His Dreams

As we grow older it’s only human to look back and evaluate one’s life.  In retrospect, is the world a better place for my being here?  Over the years I have repeatedly asked myself: did I contribute enough?  What more could I have done?

For fourteen years, I was Elvis Presley’s close friend, personal hairstylist and spiritual mentor.  When I set aside my emotions and allow my intellect to take over, I accept the reality that years of neglect, a diet of junk foods, an exhausting and devitalizing lifestyle and toxic damage, caused Elvis to lose his life so tragically young.

I know that in many ways I helped Elvis – but I always wondered if there was anything more I could have done to save him.  I’ll never know.  The truth is, no one really saves anyone, but we can help others to save themselves. It’s too late for Elvis…but it’s not too late for you or me to learn a lesson from him and save our own lives.  Knowing Elvis as I did, he truly would want it that way.

Towards the end, Elvis’ body increasingly suffered from a host of debilitating health conditions, yet his youthful mind and the beauty of his spirit were still attuned to the idea that life is sacred. Ultimately his state of health became a source of concern and continual conversation between us. He woke up to the painful realization that without dramatic changes in his life, both personal and professional, he would not survive.

During Elvis’ lifetime and continuing since his death, the rumor mill has been rife with speculation of his drug use. The paradox of this aspect of Elvis’ life is that he was adamant about his friends not using recreational drugs around him.  Ironically, his blind spot was not acknowledging that his own dependency on prescription drugs, while legal, was no different and perhaps even more dangerous.

“The spirit is willing, Lawrence, but the flesh is weak.”

Approaching the breaking point, Elvis was determined to fight for and transform his life.

Many times during the closing days of his life we explored ways for him to take on this monumental task.  A plan soon emerged: we would go to one of his favorite places, Hawaii. Elvis was burnt out after years of touring the country and was excited by the prospect of taking off a year or so, if that was what it might take to turn everything around.

The idea of kicking back and relaxing, finally cutting out junk foods and getting off “all those damn pills they give me” really inspired him.  Eating loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking fresh juices, daily exercise, running and playing football on the beach and meditation were on the top of our to-do list.  We were like little kids eagerly looking forward to the end of the school year and the long, happy days of summer vacation. It’s a beautiful fantasy I carry with me to this day.

And there were other changes afoot. For years Elvis had talked to me about making significant changes in his business and career, from management to his personal staff to re-entering Hollywood in films of substance as a serious actor.

I truly believe that he would have followed through with his dream.  Elvis was ready. I had never seen him so focused.

Sadly, forces against him proved to be too much, and Elvis lost his battle. There were many times in 1977, the year he died, that he could have acted on his new-found hope and determination. The tragedy and the great mistake of his life was that, despite the best of intentions, he fell into the trap of procrastination that often keeps us from acting upon what we know is best. The lesson for all of us is: when clarity comes and you know what to do to enhance your life and the lives of others around you, don’t hesitate. Life is too precious and too precarious.

Each of us comes into this life pure and whole, with the full potential of our innate powers.

Our body is the temple of life, and we can all influence our health and our destiny through the choices we make.

About Larry Geller

Before becoming Elvis Presley's personal hairstylist, spiritual mentor and confidant in 1964, I worked with the famed Jay Sebring in the very first men's hair styling salon. Our clientele read like a Hollywood Who's Who: Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Peter Sellers, Rock Hudson and many more. The last time I did Elvis' hair was for his funeral in August of 1977.
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14 Responses to Elvis Presley’s Health, His Struggles, His Dreams

  1. michael meadows says:

    dear larry
    although I have not read your book yet I am truly inspired by your stories and thoughts about elvis. I feel somehow connected to elvis and plan to hopefully visit graceland in the future. I have been an elvis fan for forty years and feel he was more than just an incredible singer with an incredible voice.

    my mother knew how much I liked elvis, who sadly died abruptly in 2005 at age 61. this devastated myself, my family and more importantly my father, whom I felt I could not console. strange things started to happen to me tingling, feelings, visions and more notably a very vivid dream in which my mother was sitting next to elvis on a sofa! she said “mike look who is with me”. Larry I was there in the room! they both looked fantastic (around35yrs). I jumped out of bed and immediately thanked my mum for letting me know she was okay but why was elvis there? I am now on my own journey and wanted to share this with you and hope our paths cross one day.

    kind regards mike

  2. Brad says:

    I don’t know why I have become fascinated and slightly obsessed with the man, who I never even listened to as a child—I am 53. I am an “orthodox” Jew and to look at this Jew who strayed so far from who he was, and the extreme of fame , like few people can even conceive, and how it trapped him and probably killed him–is just fascinating. The Chai, the large donation to the Jewish center, wanting to put the star on his mother’s grave, the inquisitive Jewish neshama couldn’t be squelched. Of all the interviews I saw, yours seems the most authentic. And then, for me, perhaps without a definite reason, wanting to know exactly how it ended. I saw a news story about a book by his stepbrother who was with him giving him drugs every night that just came out a few months ago— a pretty compelling picture of “suicide”. What a tragedy. So much to offer. Did you see this book? Is it true or garbage to cash in on the market, or both?

    • Larry Geller says:

      Brad, if you haven’t read my book “Leaves of Elvis’ Garden” you should – you will learn all about Elvis’ connection to Judaism. As for the other book you mention, I can guarantee you 100% that Elvis did not commit suicide. He and I spoke in 1977 about his great plans for the future. He was going to make many positive changes in his personal and professional life, and he was very optimistic. The tragedy was that he didn’t take action right away, wanting to honor his upcoming tours and not disappoint his fans. This is also in my book. And this is the emet (truth).

  3. Diane says:

    Larry, from all I have read it seems to me that Parker was a true poison in Elvis’ life. By working him so hard and not allowing him to flourish in the ways Elvis wanted to, it appears he facilitated his early Death. Such a shame that Elvis could not release him as his manager. Did Elvis ever intend to get rid of Parker? How much did the book that Red, etc., wrote disturb him? Thanks for your comments.

  4. Darren Prosser says:

    Hi Larry my name is Darren I live in the UK I hear yo coming to the uk. To great Yarmouth in September I have read your books on elvis and being like minded like you iv wanted to meet you for a long time I hope to so

  5. Paul says:

    Alright Larry , i just wanted to let you know how much i love reading about your life with Elvis , the love you had for each other always comes through and i know all Elvis fans the world over, thank you for the peace and serenity you brought to his life when he needed it most. I know you will meet again , God bless you

  6. Richard Whale says:

    Hi Larry
    I loved just reading through your blog, I also loved the DVD ‘elvis the last 24 hours’

    I have always been a great elvis fan despite being only 11 months old when he died- my wife and I visited Graceland in 2004 and it really touched me. I personally always warmed to Elvis vulnerability and innocence and to me, he was much more than just the music.
    You must have had a terrific connection which you must be very grateful for, even to be at his home many years after his death, I still felt his aura.

    Best wishes
    Richard from the UK

  7. I am acually writing a bio on him and i am getting allot of info from this website!!!:)

  8. Cheryle Johnson says:

    I am very concerned. I found out this year I am dying from mercury poisoning from my amalgams (fillings in my mouth). I am a 58 year old female in CA.
    In my research, it came to my attention that Lisa Marie also found herself in my position in 2003. I know exactly how she felt. I also ran around for 2 years trying to get help from the best doctors in CA but no one could help me. I have a mouth full of mercury and am in the process of trying to get help to get it out so I won’t die yet. I have young adult children who need me still.
    When I found out about Lisa Marie, I know exactly how she felt. It leads me to believe that Elvis may have had some mercury in his mouth too. You might know if Elvis maybe died from mercury poisoning. Did he have silver fillings in his mouth? If he did, it is possible why he died. I do know having mercury poisoning the body burden is great. One must take everything you can get your hands on to try to stay alive. It was once said by a lady, “I walked around and everything looked NOT REAL”
    Just getting up is an accomplishment, as the body aches everywhere and lots of unexplainable things happen to the body as it is slowly poisoned. There are also other ways to get this body burden like vacinnes, flu shots, etc. I know what it is like to be slowly poisoned to death. Unexplainable things happen to the body daily. Eventually it wins. And if Elvis was abusing the prescriptions as has been said, that was the last straw. It takes lots to keep me going.
    I would like to talk to you. I would like to let you know how it is so maybe light will come to this very dark place. I heard Elvis went to the dentist the night before he died. Is that true? Seems to fit to me. When I get this stuff out of my mouth, I must go to a biological dentist because all the precautions have to be in place.
    I am not just some lady. I do medical research. Please e-mail me. I’m just a nice lady with lots of info.

  9. I just wanted to let you know that I am creating a unit study for my homeschool blog, about Elvis Presley, and I included a link to this post in the first part of the unit (under the Health section). Here is the link: http://homeschoolunitstudies.blogspot.com/2011/01/elvis-presley-part-one.html

    • Larry Geller says:

      Hi Danielle,

      Larry and I enjoyed your blog, and we think it’s wonderful that you are using his friend Elvis to teach children some important things for their own lives. BTW, Larry grew up in Rochester; he lived at 35 Tracy St. – of course, that was a long time ago.

      Shira Geller

  10. Pingback: Elvis Presley?s Health, His Struggles, His Dreams | Elvis Alive Forever

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