Birth Date: October 8, 1935Death Date: February 5, 2019
George Klein, 83, passed away February 5, 2019. He is survived by his wife, Dara Patterson Klein, who shared 31 years together. His visitation will be held Sunday, February 10 from 11 a.m. until his service begins at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery with interment to immediately follow.
George Klein was born in Memphis, TN on October 8, 1935. He is a recognized name in Memphis as an American disc jockey and television host. He graduated from Humes High School in North Memphis as president of his senior class and went on to receive a marketing degree from Memphis State University. During his school years he acted as a “groupie” at Sam Phillips’s Sun Studio. George met Elvis Presley in the eighth grade at Humes High School, and they remained friends until Presley’s death in 1977. Elvis served as best man in Klein’s wedding and Klein served as a groomsman in Elvis’ wedding. He later served as one the pallbearers that laid his close friend to rest.
George Klein was selected by Priscilla Presley to accept Elvis’ award into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was the producer and host of the nationally syndicated TV special “Elvis Memories.” In the actin world he appeared in eight of Elvis’ movies as well as Route 66. He had a long and successful career as a Memphis radio DJ and TV personality, hitting the airwaves in 1957 and hosted the award-winning Channel 13 “Talent Party” TV show for 12 years. 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 the George Klein Show live broadcast from Graceland every Friday from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. CST (Elvis Time) on SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio. He was also the host of Memphis Sounds daily broadcast on WYPL – TV and hosted the George Klein Original Elvis Hour for 31 years on WMC – 79 AM. George 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 and the second, Elvis: My Best Man: Radio Days, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nights. The book 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. Yet amidst all his commitments, he found time to originate and produce the Mile of Dimes and Goodfellow’s Christmas Charity Show for 40 years. He was the TV host of Memphis March of Dimes Television. He was also creator of the Muscular Dystrophy “Bong Show.”
He earlier recorded two records on the Sun Labe and co-write with Mark James, Ronnie Milsap’s first chart record – “Lovin’ You is a Natural Thing.” For sixteen years he served as deejay, TV Host, program director and public relations director for WHBQ radio and TV. He served on the Memphis Music Board of Directors and received the Award of the Year. Klein also worked at WLVS (names for Elvis) as a deejay. Finally, he was selected by Billboard Magazine as Memphis’ No. 1 Disc Jockey. In 1988, George rejoined WHBQ. He received the Spirit of Memphis Award in 1999 from the Convention and Tourist Bureau. In 2000, he was awarded the Telly Award for Best Cable Interview with Scotty Moore. Mayor Willie Herenton proclaimed September 26, 2006 as “George Klein Day” and awarded him the Key to the City (as he had been awarded by three previous mayors). In 2013, George Klein was inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018, he was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, which Priscilla Presley personally presented him with his award.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38119 (901) 767-8930. “Celebrating Life… Behind the Stone Wall”.