Larry Geller

(Larry Geller kindly talked by phone with EIN's Nigel Patterson on 17 Feb 2019)

About Larry Geller: Elvis' personal hair stylist and spiritual confidante recently shared his time to talk Elvis and Larry's latest endeavour with EIN's Nigel Patterson. In a fascinating and candid interview Larry shares his thoughts on a wide range of Elvis related topics and provides direct insight to who Elvis was and what he was looking for, including:

  • Elvis' last few years and his dramatic plans to change his life and career from September 1977
  • claims by Aurelia Dupont Yarbrough and singer-songwriter, Leo Sayer
  • what motivates some fans to make fanciful claims and build "castles in the sky"
  • meeting Elvis for the first time and later working for him
  • what Larry tells fans who want to know "What was Elvis really like?"
  • Elvis and UFOs
  • Elvis' voracious appetite for knowledge and books
  • Vernon Presley and the "blue light" over the Presley home in Tupelo the night Elvis was born
  • Working with Jay Sebring at the revolutionary Sebring International
  • Larry's new company, Wisdome Organics, based on his Holistic Hair Care Philosophy


The Interview

EIN: Hi Larry, before we discuss Elvis and what Larry Geller is doing in 2019, could we quickly clear up a few of the outlandish current claims being made in relation to Elvis. Firstly, Aurelia Dupont Yarbrough has published a book “We Just Killed Elvis What Now My Love? My Presley Puzzle”, in which she claims she and Elvis were in love. I understand Ms Yarbrough had a peripheral relationship with Elvis. What can you tell us about Ms Dupont Yarbrough?

LG: I knew an Aurelia Dupont. I'm not going to belabor the point, except to tell you.... absolute nonsense. Nigel, I could probably tell you better than anyone else who is alive. I knew her, she lived around the corner from Graceland on Dolan Street, next to where Vernon Presley used to live. She lived with another girl and they both would come over every once in a while. Elvis was not in love with her. Absurd, just absurd. In fact has anyone ever heard of her before? I mean come on!

EIN: Ms Dupont's story is like many others, including the 1987 book, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, by Lucy deBarbin in which Ms DeBarbin claimed she had a love affair with Elvis over 20 years and bore his child, Desiree.

LG: Nigel, let me tell you. Elvis was Elvis. He had a lot of love affairs. He had a lot of girlfriends. Most of them had tremendous fantasies about him. They were building "castles in the sky". I was there. I saw it happen. They write books. You know it doesn't even deserve talking about. There's too many other interesting things about Elvis Presley that should come out, in terms of who Elvis was a man, as a soul, as a person who was searching... struggling... to find his place in the universe. Of course he was Elvis Presley, the greatest star that ever lived.

EIN: Larry, another claim, this time by British singer-songwriter (and now Australian resident), Leo Sayer, is that he spoke with Elvis the night before he died and Elvis invited him to visit Graceland “to make some music” the next day. What do you say to Leo’s claim?

LG: Absolutely not true! Leo Sayer had one big hit around 1976-77 (Larry sings a few lines from the chorus of Leo Sayer's When I Need You.....). I don't want to insult the guy....Elvis knew of him but wasn't into his music. Nigel, do you know how many people claim that they spoke to Elvis on August 16th? You know I just received an email today from someone claiming that Elvis gave away $7000 worth of jewelry on that day. I mean, come on.... I was there, and all I can do is tell you the truth.

You know Nigel, I am empowered to talk about Elvis the man and what it was like being around him; where he was coming from; what he was interested in. These other things are on a low rung. It's below me to speak about these other people. I have no interest in speaking about them.

EIN: Thanks Larry, I appreciate your candid response. I wanted to ask about these people because I am particularly interested in Elvis' socio-cultural impact and these people with their incredible claims highlight one facet of that impact. In your opinion, what is it about Elvis that causes such fanciful stories?

LG: Elvis was an exceptional person. He was the greatest star of the twentieth century. He was the most handsome, he had the face, he had the eyes, the hair, the voice, and he had incredible charisma. He was the perfect package, man, singer. He had everything. He was the King of Rock and Roll. At the same time he was a major movie star.

For someone like Elvis, who had all that, their impact on society and on our culture goes so deep. He penetrated into the very heart and soul of humanity with his music, with his voice, his charisma and personality. So when that happens it triggers all sorts of fantasies and imaginations, a lot of them are true, a lot of them are not true.

EIN: Larry, let's move on now to a subject that has recently caused some interest.....Elvis and UFOs. A number of books have stated that Elvis was interested in UFOs. Was it a strong interest?

LG: I'm going to answer your question but I need to back up just a bit to explain Elvis himself. Here's a guy that never went to college. He's say to me, "I don't even know how I got through high school. I don't know how I graduated". He said, "Man, I'd sit there staring out the window, imagining myself, visualising being on the big screen, becoming a big star, a singer, an actor".

At the same time, once he became Elvis Presley the star, at a certain point in his life he became so interested and curious about life itself. And he wanted to know, in fact the very first time I met him we had a three hour conversation.

Elvis asked, "Why me? Why me. Why was I plucked from all of the millions and millions of lives to be Elvis? Do we really have souls.? Where do we really come from? I've got to find out". He said, "I'm a believer. I believe in God. I believe in the afterlife. But I want to know why?

I started to bring him books. Books on every major religion in the world, books going back to time immemorial. Books about eastern cultures, about western cultures. And Elvis started to read books by the greatest thinkers in history, great philosophers, writings from the whole spectrum of human knowledge.

And over the years we amassed a fantastic library. Some of it is still at Graceland. A lot of it has been taken. Some of it was stolen. I had a lot of it because I built his library.

You know Nigel, when we would go on tour Elvis took with him two huge trunks filled with his favorite books. Wherever he went he had 200 books with him. Elvis read every day of his life. He was a voracious reader.

So to answer your question, Elvis was interested in everything. He read about other planets, flying saucers. I remember one time we were driving in the Arizona desert and he pointed and said "What is that?" We all looked and and someone said "That looks like a flying saucer". Elvis said "Well I don't know, it could be". That happened a couple of times. We couldn't prove it. But Elvis believed that it was possible so I bought him some books. But he read books about everything, about human nature, spiritual growth, dreams, the afterlife. So to answer your question, Nigel, he had an interest in everything. Elvis was a very intelligent man.

EIN: How often did you and Elvis discuss the subject of UFOs?

LG: Only a few times. Erich von Daniken had a few books out at the time and I bought them for him. He didn't read about it that often but as I said, it was one out of many, many, many others. As I said, Elvis was a searcher and we talked about many things. He was a very intelligent man and interested in everything.

EIN: What were Elvis’ views on intelligent life beyond Earth?

LG: Oh yeah, sure. Elvis thought it was certainly possible. He thought why wouldn't it. Elvis thought it was sort of stupid that people didn't investigate flying saucers etc. He thought they shouldn't close their minds to the possibility. He said, "My mind's always open to discover, and who knows what's going to happen in the future. And he felt very strongly that our civilisation in the future....meaning now, as we're talking 40 years ago, that we were going into a new age of discovery. Things of the past are going to be revealed, moving into an age of revelation. He believed that our world was evolving and he thought we were on the brink of the greatest discoveries in the history of human kind.

EIN: The blue light over Elvis’ Tupelo home the night he was born. I understand Vernon Presley discussed this with you. What did Vernon say?

LG: Nigel, I already know where you are going with this. Those stories originate with my book that I wrote (EIN Note: If I Can Dream - see extract and link below). And what happened was, it was in 1965, right after the Meditation Garden had been built at Graceland. And one afternoon, Elvis, his father, Vernon, and myself were sitting together, outside. Elvis said "Daddy, I want you to try to remember the night I was born because It's very important to me that I know that. I'm doing something with Larry and I need to know the exact time, see if you can remember.

And Vernon thought for a while and he said, "I remember that night. I haven't thought about it in long time. And Vernon began to describe the night. He said it was one of the coldest nights. He said you weren't born yet. I walked outside so I could have a cigarette. And I saw this blue light. I hadn't thought about it in years, but there this blue light. And when I saw that I knew you were coming Elvis, I knew something special was happening.

EIN: Larry, I know you don't want to comment on those who have made fanciful claims concerning Elvis. But related to the blue light witnessed by Vernon is a story told by Wanda June Hill in her book We Remember, Elvis, that Elvis told her he was from the Blue Star (of Rigel). Did he ever discuss this with you?

LG: No, I'm not going to discuss that.

EIN: I understand.

EIN: Larry, are you aware of a photo showing Elvis holding up a press clipping about the abduction of Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson in Pascagoula in 1973?

LG: No I'm not.  


Extract from If I Can Dream, Larry Geller (1989):

Of course, there's no question that Elvis could afford to give everything he gave away, but, knowing Elvis as I did, I can safely say that even if he had lived out his life an an obscure truck driver he'd still have given away things. Not cars, of course, but whatever he had. Elvis' generosity drove Vernon to distraction. As far as Vernon wa concerned, Elvis threw away money and didn't know the value of a dollar. In a sense, that is literally true. Except for the value of cars and jewlry, two things he seemed to be buying all the time, Elvis had no idea what things cost and couldn't care less.

EIN: Before you came to work for Elvis you had met him some time before. Please tell us about that and how you got into hair styling.

LG: I first met Elvis when I was a teenager in Hollywood in 1957. I was so impressed. He shook my hand. It was a great meeting. Three years later I grew up and went to college. Someone had suggested hairy styling and I thought what a great idea as I loved creating things. So I went to Beauty College and then in 1960, Jay Sebring and myself opened the very first hair styling salon for men in America. And we opened our doors and the biggest names in Hollywood came to us.

And then I met Elvis again in 1964. I was supposed to be the hair stylist for Peter Sellers but Elvis convinced me to quit and come work for him full-time….. and to bring my spiritual books. I went to his house, to do his hair, and we got into a three hour conversation.

EIN: Please tell us about that conversation.

LG: Nigel, Elvis opened up to me. He told me he had money, fame, fans…fame, he was a legend in his own time, but that wasn’t enough. Elvis said to me, "Larry, fame and fortune are not enough. That's not what life's all about. He said “I want to be connected to the divine so that I can help people. I'm here to love people through my music , through what I do in the media. That's why I was born. It wasn't an accident. There's a meaning, there's a reason for every fan, that's why I'm here. I want to help people. I want to help them by giving them whatever I can, through the talents that God gave me or if I can give some, some money or buy them a car - I am here to help people."

That's what I want people to know about Elvis, that's what he was really about. He spent his time gathering information, trying to increase his own knowledge base. Not just for himself, but to expand his career. And this connects to something else I think is very, very important. Towards the end of his life, as everyone knows, he started to put on weight and he had a lot of physical illnesses.

Elvis worked himself to death. He would not stop working. All he wanted to do was to get out there and touch his fans.. He loved his fans; he loved bringing joy into their lives and that was his purpose. He neglected himself. He neglected his body. You know, when I think of Elvis I talk about him in the most superlative terms...... glowing light That's the kind of guy he was. Like you and me and everyone else, he had his blind spots, he had his weaknesses.

Elvis had the worst nutritional habits. He ate too much sugar, too much carbs. He wasn't exercising in those last few years. He was taking the pills that doctors were giving him and he became addicted to these pills. He was very, very sick in the end. Every night when he went out to perform his blood pressure would shoot up - it reached 200 every night. Then the strain on his heart. He had hypertension, glaucoma, a spastic colon, his blood count was off. He had a lot of physical problems.

Now one day, towards the end of 1976, he woke up to the mistakes he was making in his life. He said, “Larry, my life is on the line. I've got to make some dramatic changes. I was born with certain gifts, I want to continue and expand upon them. And if I don't change I'm going to die. I've got to change. I don't want doctors around me anymore. I don't want pills. What I'm going to do is this. I'm going to quit touring".


And he said this a couple of months into 1977. He said that by that point I'm firing most of the people. I'm going to keep only three people. He mentioned who two of the three people were and we were going to go to Hawaii. And we did go to Hawii. He rented a house and we stayed there for about a week. That was the house that he wanted to rent or lease for a whole year starting September. And he was going to fire Colonel Parker and most of the people that worked for him. He said, "Man we're going to go to Hawaii, I'm going to eat right, we'll play football every day, we'll go in the water. I'm going to recharge my batteries, I'm going to recharge my life. I'm going to get really healthy again. And then we're going to go to Hollywood and I'm going to start a production company. I'm going to make movies and I'm going to act in those movies. That's what I'm supposed to be doing now".

So Nigel, the point I want to make is that Elvis had a vision for his future, but fate had other plans.

EIN: It was indeed sad that fate had other plans for him.

LG: But there's another destiny involved. Even though he has passed, his life has meant so much to so many people, millions of people. There are more people picking up spiritual books - some of them are reading the books he used to read. He has helped a lot of people. And you know, people ask me all the time, "What was Elvis really like?" And I say, "Don't listen to anyone, not even me. Listen to his music. Just listen to his voice. Who Elvis will come right through. That's where it is, in that magic."

Extract from Leaves of Elvis' Garden, Larry Geller (2008):

Elvis was engrossed with the story and religion of the Jews, in part because of his upbringing in the South, an area not tradionally hospitable to the chosen people. Weren't all the prophets Jewish, as well as Peter and Paul and the rest of the Apostles? It all seemed to revolve around them. They had produced the Psalms, which he loved; the Ten Commandments; and the story of creation itself. The Jesus he knew and loved was a Jew. One afternoon upstairs in his bathroom at Graceland, I glanced into the mirror as I was styling Elvis' hair and saw that his eyes had welled up with tears. Concerned, I asked. "What's wrong, Elvis?"

After a moment of silence, Elvis regained his composure and looked up from the Bible he was holding in his lap. "What's wrong is...I'm not Jewish like you. Lawrence, the Jews are the chosen people. How can I be a channel and an inspiration, how can I attain the highest level and be of help to others if I'm not one of the chosen?"

"But you are, Elvis," I said. "First, you were chosen at birth; you, not your twin brother, Jesse. And later, you chose to get closer to God, just like the Jewish people did. And what about the gift of your voice, your talent, and the extraordinary career you've been given? Seems to me that God chose you as well. Elvis, your voice has reached out and touched people's lives like no other singer who has ever lived. Isn't that what you've been chosen for?"

EIN: Larry, your time working with Jay Sebring. You have the distinction of being his first apprentice at Sebring International. Please tell us more about that time, why that concept was so revolutionary, and what it was like working there.

LG: That was in 1960. It was revolutionary because it was the first hair styling salon for men. It was a great success and we had ALL the major celebrities come to the salon…...Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Kirk Douglas, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison……everyone in Hollywood in music, in motion pictures. It was great. I was 20 years old and I learnt all about organic shampoos and hair styling and nutrition. And I met Elvis again in 1964. And the day that I met him I was supposed to go to cut Peter Sellers who was one of my clients. But Elvis said, "Larry, you've got to quit and work for me full time, be my hair stylist and bring me all the spiritual books that you know about.

EIN: In 2018 you launched your new company. Please tell us about that.

LG: You know, since Elvis died I have written two books, done documentaries, travelled the world, I have a fan page on Facebook, and behind the scenes I've been developing my holistic hair care philosophy which I launched last year. It's called Wisdome (wisdom with an “e”) Organics. My goal is to provide the best hair care products possible. My Wisdome Organics website has a lot of information on it including my philosophy and a lot about Elvis.

EIN: Are you pleased with how Wisdome Organics has been received?

LG: Oh I love Wisdome Organics, and it is really going great. I have the best shampoo and conditioners. When I was doing Elvis' hair what I would do was, in his bathroom, I would take vitamin E capsules and aloe vera and some other herbs and I would mix my own shampoo just for him, for his hair. So I've taken all of that knowledge and created something even better and improved. So I'm very pleased and a lot of things will be coming up in the future. I even received my first order from Australia today!

EIN: How can interested people obtain Wisdome Organics products?

LG: The website address is:

EIN: What are your plans for 2019?

LG: Apart from Wisdome Organics, 2019 will be another busy year. I have many more things coming up including going to Denmark, Sweden, and Germany, as well as many other places. All to talk about who Elvis was and where he was coming from.

EIN: Larry, on behalf of all our readers, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with EIN today.

LG: Nigel, it was my pleasure.


Comment on this interview


Go here for more relevant EIN articles:

EIN book review of 'Leaves Of Elvis' Garden' Read Susan MacDougall's insightful review of Larry Geller's new book.

Part 1 of EIN's 2003 in-depth Larry Geller interview Larry discusses Colonel Parker, meeting The Beatles and Elvis in the sixties.

Part 2 of EIN's 2003 in-depth Larry Geller interview Larry talks about Elvis' final years, the nasty side of The Colonel, Dr. Nick and Elvis' future plans.

Joe Esposito EIN Interview:

Go here for Interviews with Memphis Mafia members, Marty lacker, Lamar Fike & Elvis' cousin Billy Smith.

'Marty Lacker: A Life Well-Lived' & Elvis at American Studio's Interview:

Ginger Alden Interview:

Shirley Dieu, author of Memphis Mafia Princess, talks to EIN:

Interview with Dick Grob, Elvis' Head Of Security:

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