By The Associated Press
DALLAS – Lamar Fike, a member of Elvis Presley’s famed inner circle called the “Memphis Mafia” who had a long career in the music industry, has died. He was 75.
Fike, who was suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, died Jan. 21 at a hospital in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, said his son, James Fike, 45, of Atlanta.
“He did everything first-class. He was very brilliant. He had a tremendous presence. When he walked in a room, he lit it up,” said David Stanley, Presley’s stepbrother who first met Fike as a toddler.
“He taught me so much about music, about life, about living life to the fullest,” he said.
James Fike said his father held various roles with Presley, including as a lighting director, bodyguard and managing Presley’s music publishing group. After Presley’s death in 1977, James Fike said that his father continued to work as an entrepreneur in the music business in Nashville, Tenn., in music publishing, managing artists and brokering music and memorabilia deals.
He said that in 2006, his father moved to Texas, where he had relatives.
James Fike said that his father, a great storyteller, would recall when Presley and the “Memphis Mafia” would decide they needed a cheeseburger somewhere and hop on their plane to take them to whatever city they chose.
“He was a character. He always had these stories,” James Fike said.
Stanley said that Lamar Fike was “like a father figure to me.”
“Him and Elvis were the best of friends, so obviously he was part of the family,” Stanley said.
Stanley said that Fike, who had been working on a memoir of his time with Presley and a screenplay, was the kind of guy who would call him up and say to meet him in a city just to spend some time in the best hotels, eating at the best restaurants.
Fike was among five members of the group dubbed the “Memphis Mafia” who incorporated the name in the early 1990s.
Fike was born in Cleveland, Miss., on Nov. 11, 1935. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Joan Fike. In addition to James Fike, he is survived another son, John Fike, of Nashville, Tenn. A memorial service is set for Feb. 26 in Mart, a town about 25 miles east of Waco.