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David Stanley became part of Elvis’ family in 1960 when his mother Dee married the star’s father, Vernon Presley, on July 3, 1960. He grew up living next door to Graceland and, when he was old enough, became part of the inner circle who made sure everything went smoothly and exactly as Elvis wanted. David was even there in the bathroom at The King’s Memphis mansion on the night Elvis died. He describes a man who was always struggling with his gifts and his fame, who struggled to allow people to truly know and love him.
David was only five years old when he was suddenly thrust into the life of the biggest star in the world, along with his brothers Ricky and Billy.
As a child, he just remembers being taken to school in a pink Cadillac by the man who “looked over at me and he picked me up and he gave me a hug and he welcomed me into his family.
“He took me in and he shared his life with me. He knew that my dad had been swept out of my life, and he did that replacement thing.”
But as David grew up, he started to understand the pressures his step-brother was under and to see a man struggling to feel worthy of all his extraordinary gifts.
David said: “When people talk about him and how big he is, he was such a magnet, people were just drawn to him.
“He had a hard time being that. I mean, he was being Elvis Presley. I think in the end that’s what caught up with him.
“How do you become a person that everybody loves?
“How do you become a person everybody adores and follows and wants to be around and wants that pat on the back?”
He says Elvis struggled with more than just fame. The star famously delved deeper and deeper into spiritualism in his final years, rooted in his sincere attempts to make sense of his life and love.
David added: “Watching him being Elvis, cool Elvis, up Elvis, down Elvis, sad Elvis, the great entertainer he was, watching him do that and towards the end, watching him go through that…
“Many times he would sit down by himself and say, ‘Why me? Why I do have these phenomenal gifts?’
“He always wanted to share it but he always had that problem of, ‘why has this been bestowed on me?'”
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David said that Elvis “went the extra mile to make you feel special” and yet was not able to let others do the same for him.
He explained: “Elvis loved to love people but it was difficult for Elvis letting people love him or letting us love him. He would just go inside himself and try to figure out who he was.”
No matter how much those around the star tried to help him, especially towards the end, David added: “Elvis was ultimately responsible for himself. We could only take care of him as much as we could.”
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