Elvis legend takes his leave

August 24, 2004 Associated Press

Al Dvorin, the announcer who made famous the legendary phrase, "Elvis has left the building", has died at the age of 81. Dvorin was killed in a car accident as he returned from an Elvis convention in California.

He first met Elvis Presley in 1955 and worked with him for 22 years, helping to organise his tours and personal appearances. It was in the early 1970s that the star's manager, Colonel Parker, asked Dvorin to inform fans after a gig that Elvis would not be appearing for an encore.

Dvorin took the stage and made his now legendary announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight."

The phrase, which was first uttered by other announcers early in Presley's career, became a staple at Elvis concerts and has lived on long past the star's death. But Dvorin was never paid a penny for the words, which have been reproduced countless times over the years, and he remained bitter towards Elvis Presley Enterprises, the multimillion-pound empire now run by the star's daughter, Lisa Marie.

Sid Shaw, owner of London memorabilia store Elvisly Yours and a close friend of Dvorin, said: "Of all the people I have met associated with Elvis, he was the nicest, funniest, smartest and most honest.

"He had so many great memories of Elvis that I always told him he should write a book. "But after Elvis died, he kept a low profile because of his friendship with Colonel Parker and because he didn't want to be seen cashing in on Elvis's death like so many others had done. "It was only a few years ago, after the Colonel died, that he decided to start attending Elvis events and conventions around the world to share some of his memories."

At the time of the accident, Dvorin was in a car driven by Ed Bonja, a longtime Elvis photographer. A former band leader and talent agent in Chicago, Dvorin first met Elvis through his work with Colonel Parker. He was among those on Elvis's last tour in 1977. The singer died of heart problems and drug abuse that August.

A spokesman for the Elvis Presley estate in Graceland said: "He was a fixture in Elvis world. He'll be greatly missed."

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