Priscilla Presley said her former husband liked Klein’s outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a “guy’s thing,” with their own inside jokes and “their own language.”
Elvis Presley used to affectionately call Klein “GK.”
“Their friendship was golden, truly golden,” she said in a phone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard George say anything bad about anybody.”
Presley served as Klein’s best man, and Klein was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral. Klein appeared in his friend’s film, “Jailhouse Rock.” When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Klein made the acceptance speech.
“Personally, Elvis was a great friend to me,” Klein said in the speech. “You know, I never saw Elvis refuse an autograph. I never saw Elvis refuse a handshake. I never saw Elvis refuse to take a picture with anyone.”
Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley’s music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla Presley said.
University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, a former head coach at the University of Memphis, said on Twitter that he would talk basketball with Klein before and after games.
“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the city, for Graceland, for Elvis Presley and his family,” Calipari wrote.
In recent years, several friends of Elvis Presley -- Scotty Moore, Red West, D.J. Fontana -- have died. Priscilla Presley said she has thought about that, and calls it “a reality check.”
“It hits home,” she said. “He’s the last of our history, in many ways.”
Funeral arrangements have not been released.