One of Elvis Presley’s bodyguards was the brother of his girlfriend, Linda Thompson. The King of Rock and Roll was particularly generous to Sam Thompson, buying him a house right by Graceland, vehicles and gifting him one of his guitars. The former bodyguard has lots of funny stories about his time working for Elvis in the 1970s, but it was the personal one-on-one times with the man behind the icon that he really cherishes.
Speaking with Spa Guy last year, Thompson spoke of visiting Elvis’ birthplace and where he grew up in Tupelo Mississippi, accompanied by The King.
The former bodyguard said: “We drove right through Tupelo and he said, ‘This is where I grew up’.
“And we drove by his house and he said, ‘That was my house’.
“Just me and him in the car and nobody even noticed us.”
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Elvis: “They know that guy on the stage. They don’t know me.”
Thompson added: “Little moments like that where you forget this man can stand in front of 20,000 people and mesmerise them.
“This was a human being, a person.”
He admitted: “[When giving interviews] I always like to get something in about Elvis’ humanity because people know who he was iconically.
“I remember one night when we were talking and he was kinda blue about his relationships.”
Sam Thompson on the left and his sister Linda Thompson
Elvis was only married once to Priscilla Presley but had a string of girlfriends over the years.
Thompson recounted that: “[Elvis said:] ‘Nobody really knows who I am.’
“And I said: ‘Elvis, people love you man! They love you. They know you all over the world.’
“He said: ‘No, no, no. They know that guy on the stage. They don’t know me.’”
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Thompson added: “And it’s really true, you have to become another person when you’re performing like that.
“And that’s what he was on the stage. But he was a different person when you could just sit and talk with him.
“That’s the guy that I miss and those are my most cherished moments.”
The former bodyguard also told a funny story of a terrifying motorbike ride with The King.
The pair were going down the highway with Thompson holding onto Elvis, who was driving, only for him to see sparks over The King’s head.
Eventually, Elvis could feel how tight Thompson was holding on so pulled over, only for the bodyguard to realise it had come from his cigar under the star’s helmet.
Thompson said: “He had a little Tiparillo cigar in his mouth and he had that face shield [on his motorcycle helmet.]
“The faster he went the wind would come up under there and that’s what it was! And he laughed. He thought that was the funniest thing!”