Being one of the most famous people in the world, Elvis Presley needed to protect his privacy and watch out for those he could really trust. Upon rising to global stardom in 1956, The King formed an inner circle of close male friends, some of whom were family members. Known as the Memphis Mafia, they became part of his partying entourage throughout the singer’s two-decade film and music career. Yet Elvis was still very much the boss who forbid certain things in his presence.
Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith is the last surviving original Memphis Mafia member, who knew The King as a teenager even before he became famous. His father Travis, the brother of Elvis’ mother Gladys, was one of Graceland’s security guards.
Billy was even on the family move from Tupelo, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. He went on to become one of the star’s few confidants and one of the last people to see him alive before his sudden fatal heart attack on August 16, 1977 at just 42.
Speaking on his YouTube channel Elvis Fans Matter with his wife Jo, the couple shared a couple of things The King made taboo for his Memphis Mafia to do.
Jo said: “Another thing he couldn’t stand was whispering. If you whispered and he didn’t hear it, he just had to know.” Billy shared: “He just knew it was about him. He just had to know. He had an inquisitive mind.”
Jo added: “He could not keep a secret. He’d say, ‘I’m going to tell you this and don’t tell anybody.’ We were sworn to secrecy and then the next day somebody’s telling us what he just swore us not to tell! But that’s just the way he was. He wanted to be the first one to tell it.”