Memphis Mafioso Richard Davis was struck by love at Elvis Week

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Twenty-eight-year-old heartthrob Elvis Presley’s official photo shoot for the “Kissin’ Cousins” movie and accompanying soundtrack occurred between November 8 and 14, 1963, at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in Hollywood. Photography by Virgil Apger / MGM / For Elvis CD Collectors message board

The Kim Davis Ward Interview

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Richard Davis [at center in the long sleeved white shirt], Elvis Presley, and Memphis rock ’n’ roll deejay George Klein [far right in the dark sunglasses] survey a crowded location while shooting “Viva Las Vegas” in July 1963. Image Credit: Elvis Presley Enterprises / The Kim Davis Ward Collection
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Enterprise crew members Mr. Spock [Leonard Nimoy], Uhura [Nichelle Nichols], Dr. McCoy [DeForest Kelley], Scotty [James Doohan], Sulu [George Takei with his back to the camera], and Richard Davis [far right] combat an insanity-causing plague and an attack by the Tholians in “The Tholian Web,” the ninth episode of “Star Trek’s” third and final season broadcast on November 15, 1968. Incidentally, Sulu is cradling the head of a mentally unbalanced Chekov [Walter Koenig]. Image Credit: Cinematographer Al Francis [screen grab] / CBS Television / The Kim Davis Ward Collection
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Nova [Linda Harrison] and Brent [James Franciscus] await interrogation from a population of telepathic humans who worship an ancient nuclear bomb in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” unleashed successfully to cinemas on May 26, 1970. That’s Richard Davis on the far right guarding the prisoners. Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company / IMDB
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Led by guard Richard Davis at left, loin-clothed captive James Franciscus [“Brent” the astronaut] is delivered to the court of Méndez XXVI [Paul Richards at top center, best known for nearly obliterating Marshal Matt Dillon in the debut “Matt Gets It” episode of “Gunsmoke” in 1955] in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes,” the first of ultimately four sequels to “Planet of the Apes” issued to robust box office returns on May 26, 1970. Méndez XXVI was the leader of a sect of nuclear war descendants. Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company / IMDB
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Jerry Schilling, Marty Lacker, MGM sound editor Larry Jost, Elvis Presley, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton, and Richard Davis fool around with a kneeling George Klein and “Diamond” Joe Esposito on the July 1967 set of “Speedway.” Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu two months earlier and was at an all-time artistic low. None of his films or records were connecting with the public. However, by September 1967 his path to the esteemed “‘68 Comeback Special” gained a solid foundation with the fantastic singles “Guitar Man,” “Hi-Heel Sneakers,” and “Big Boss Man,” all waxed at RCA Studio B in Nashville. Image Credit: Elvis Presley Enterprises
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Cleveland Browns fullback Jim Brown, designated the greatest college football player of all time by ESPN in a 2020 ceremony, is shown between takes of his debut film, the action-soaked 20th Century Fox western “Rio Conchos.” Brown was still an active football player when he ventured in dusty cowboy regalia to the nearby Paramount Studios to meet Elvis Presley and the Memphis Mafia on the March 1964 set of one of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s most popular movies, “Roustabout.” Left to right are Elvis’ first cousin Billy Smith, Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Brown, Presley, “Diamond” Joe Esposito, Marty Lacker, and Jimmy Kingsley. Only Smith and Brown survive as of this writing. Image Credit: The Alan Fortas Archival Collection / Courtesy of Alanna Nash
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Elvis Presley, Red West, Glen Campbell, and Richard Davis attend the December 5, 1970, wedding of Memphis Mafia member and rock ’n’ roll deejay George Klein to Barbara Little. Presley, sporting aviator sunglasses, black velvet fur overcoat, and flashy gold belt recognizing his record-shattering August 1969 season at the Las Vegas International Hotel [later named the Las Vegas Hilton and eventually the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino], graciously loaned his pal since the eighth grade the use of his International suite for the marriage. West was a founding Mafioso who carried out thrilling stunts on Robert Conrad’s “The Wild, Wild West” and composed “If Every Day Was Like Christmas,” “Separate Ways,” “If You Talk in Your Sleep,” and more for Elvis. Both Campbell and Davis autographed the photo to Don Wilson, host of “Don Wilson’s Hollywood Beat” podcast. Photography by Frank Carroll / The Don Wilson Collection
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On August 16, 2001, Kim and Richard Davis attend an “Elvis: The Concert” multimedia show at the since-abandoned Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis Presley’s TCB Band, orchestra conductor Joe Guercio, the Sweet Inspirations, Millie Kirkham, the Stamps Quartet, and/or the Imperials provided live accompaniment to the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” balladeer’s vocals and performances as originally captured in “That’s the Way It Is,” “Elvis on Tour,” and “Aloha from Hawaii.” At right the constant companions pose for their official wedding portrait on November 7, 1998, inside the Heartland Little River Wedding Chapel situated in the Great Smoky Mountains in Townsend, Tennessee. Photography by Don Wilson / The Kim Davis Ward Collection
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Married on November 7, 1998, Richard Davis and Kim Hughes longingly gaze into each other’s eyes on the grounds of the Heartland Little River Wedding Chapel situated in the Great Smoky Mountains in Townsend, Tennessee. Image Credit: The Kim Davis Ward Collection
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Richard Davis skillfully holds triplets Brandon, Madison [“Madi”], and Dylan, born on July 11, 2002. At right the longtime personal valet for Elvis Presley spends precious moments with baseball jersey-wearing son Dylan. Photography by Kim Davis Ward
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Triplets Brandon, Madison [“Madi”], and Dylan join mom Kim Davis Ward on her aunt’s staircase during Thanksgiving 2019. “Madi and Brandon have Crohn’s disease, and I have ulcerative colitis,” reveals Ward. “Madi missed school all of last year. A very expensive nutrition plan that healed me was started, and she has done better than ever on it. It’s very hard to stay on because so many foods are limited. And super hard for a teenager to follow but Madi has done it. She’s our hero. It’s $58,000 worth of infusions every eight weeks plus pills every day. We have a GoFundMe page that Elvis’ 93-year-old nurse Marian Cocke established to help us with our medical bills as well as a CrowdRise donation link. The latter raises money for a MAP Vaccine that is being developed in London.” Photography by Hayley Terrell / The Kim Davis Ward Collection

Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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