Don Wilson's Hollywood Beat
by Don Wilson
He was my friend, a person who changed my life forever, someone that I will never forget. His name was Elvis – I first met Elvis when I was only nine years old. My dad had known Elvis, meeting him at the Eagle’s Hall in Houston, Texas, that night and he did one song. In fact, my uncle had booked Elvis for the gig on March 19, 1955. Silent western film star Hoot Gibson was there and my dad introduced them. Elvis loved cowboy stars and was pleased to learn that my father was friends with his favorite, Gene Autry. Tommy Sands was also on the show. Little did I know, because of this night, I would be friends with not only Elvis, but Tommy Sands too. I would eventually perform on shows with Tommy.
February 1970: Elvis was coming to Houston for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
My father arranged with Colonel Parker for us to meet with Elvis prior to one of his performances. Elvis introduced himself and said “Hi, I’m Elvis Presley.” I replied “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Presley.” Elvis then said “Naw, I’m Elvis. ‘Mr. Presley’ is my dad over there!” It was a short meeting, but it left an impact.
November 13, 1971: My father and I met with Elvis briefly before his performance at the Memorial Auditorium. My dad and Elvis started a quick ‘Cowboy Trivia’ game off the top of their heads and I had some answers, much to Elvis’s surprise. Elvis said “How come you know so much? You’re too young.” I replied “Old Westerns on Saturday mornings.” Elvis grinned and said “Oh!”
November 21, 1971: My parents and sister were killed when their car was struck by a train. There were no railroad crossing guards, nor signals. I was with my Grandmother at the time. It was a mere eight days after my dad and I met with Elvis. When I learned the news, I was devastated. I wrote to Elvis and informed him, I received a condolence card signed by him.
June 18, 1972: Elvis played the Tarrant County Convention Centre in Fort Worth. Joe Esposito escorted me and my aunt to see him at his suite. It was at the Sheraton Fort Worth, on the top floor. Elvis hugged me and said how sorry he was for my loss. Then Elvis said: “A great philosopher once said ‘To live in the hearts of those we leave behind – is not to die.’ I know what it’s like to lose a parent, but you have gained a friend, me.”
A lot has transpired since then and I have a lot of memories to share. Keep checking back for more news about Elvis, his friends and his associates on this page!
Elvis is seen leaving a concert with Joe Esposito Red West (obscured) and DIck Grob in1972.
"Thank you so much for the wonderful post, Don. I am truly honored to be mentioned in the same breath with Elvis. And I so appreciate you also keeping the memory of my work alive. Blessings to you dear friend for all you do! xoxo" - Celeste Yarnall
"Don is right up on what's happening with Elvis! I've known Don Wilson for many years and found him to be a man of fine character - very honest and loyal." - George Klein
"I've known Don Wilson for many years, he's a great fellow. He's a very,very dear friend of mine and he takes care of business!"- Richard Davis
More Elvis Features Coming Soon!!
"My dear and longtime friend, Don Wilson is a treasure among men. He has a fascinating history of knowing and meeting many of Hollywood's elite and the worlds' finest entertainers! With his warm heart, and engaging personality, he has created a niche for himself from Hollywood to New York to Tennessee. I had the distinct joy of being interviewed for his documentary, "The Definitive Elvis". He has always treated people with the utmost respect and sincerity and I am truly blessed to know him all these wonderful years! As E would say, "Son, UYou're on your own!" - Mindi Miller
Former Girlfriend of Elvis Presley, 1975/1976. Actress/Model
Elvis during his press conference in the Mercury Ballroom of the New York Hilton on June 9, 1972 prior to his 4-show engagement at Madison Square Garden.
Producer Hal Wallis looks on as Elvis hops on his bike at Paramount in 1957.
Don Wilson and Joe Esposito during production of "The Definitive Elvis" in 2001.
"Don, This is AWESOME! I love it! You put your heart and soul into this. Invaluable stories assembled in such a beautiful package. Anything you set your mind to seems to "SHINE" and so very interesting.....your stories and pictures are a "go to" site to get the facts. You've led such an interesting life ...how exciting! You remind me of James Bacon, but you are in a league of your own. You've gone way beyond info he collected. No wonder your Elvis documentary "The Definitive Elvis" is in the Guinness Book of World Records! So talented! Good Luck!" - Chris Coffey
"Don, I am enjoying your new website. Wishing you the best on all your projects. Your Friend, Becky Yancey " Secretary to Elvis Presley, 1962-1974
"I am proud to call Don Wilson a friend. From the first time I met him in Hollywood, I knew he was special. He is a person one can believe what he says is true. He goes way back in the Elvis World with his love and admiration of Elvis, from a very young boy and going forward till time stands no more.
His kindness to Elvis's memory and the family surrounding Elvis, and Elvis fans is inspiring, endearing, respectful and trustworthy. He has met so many famous persons and throughout his life, he treats everyone as the star they are.
I know everyone who meets Don, appreciates his sincere love and kindness that he shares with the world. Elvis knew those who were kind, sincere in his life, and I know he cared for Don and appreciated him, as I do and all those who meet Don. I always enjoy Don's posts, like time stopped in a bottle...
So much history on his sites, his posts, and through it all, his sweet soul shines through. Thank you Don for being one of the nicest persons I know. I love you and God bless you dear friend." - Barbara Leigh
"Don Wilson is one of the nicest, kindest people, and he plays great music, and is a great communicator and I like him!" - Sam Phillips
"Don has a terrific Elvis knowledge. He was there with Elvis and the guys and observed. If there's something that he doesn't know, he researches to find our the answer! - Patsy Andersen
Fmr. Fan Relations
Elvis Presley Enterprises
"I love Don's Website! Not only does it contain a plethora of info about one of my former boyfriends, Elvis, as you know, but so many interesting Hollywood stars! Please keep sharing your precious memories! ❤️JC"
- JoCathy Brownlee Elkington
“I’m truly honored to have Don Wilson as a close and trusted friend for many years. His unique talent and good nature have allowed him to connect with a literal who’s who of Hollywood. From the music, TV and motion picture industries, to the most celebrated icons of our time - even being befriended by the greatest star of them all, Elvis Presley – doors have opened for Don. He has amassed an historic treasure trove of personal photos and memorabilia, with the most intimate firsthand stories behind them. The entire entertainment industry has opened their arms to this one-of-a-kind individual – and now we’re privileged to share his journey.” - Larry Geller
Elvis Live At Madison Square Garden In New York, June 1972.