Al Dvorin Has Left The Building
August 24, 2004
He and celebrated Elvis photographer Ed Bonja were traveling from Palm Springs to Las Vegas. Dvorin was thrown from the car and died at the scene. Bonja, who was driving, was treated at a hospital and released.
Details of the accident are not completely clear, with conflicting information coming in from various sources. Generally, the reports say that Dvorin was adjusting his seat belt, or perhaps had dropped something, and that Bonja reached over to assist and lost control of the car. A freak accident.
Al Dvorin, 81, was one of the kindest men from the Elvis circle. He always made time to talk to and with fans from around the world and spoke of Elvis and the years he spent with Elvis in a positive way.
Al's wife Bernice passed away earlier this year after battling cancer for sometime. Our thoughts and prayers are with Al's family and friends.
The recent picture of Al was taken August 14th 2004 by Paul Gansky.
He first met Elvis Presley in 1955 and worked with him for 22 years, helping to organise his tours and personal appearances. It was in the early 1970s that the star's manager Colonel Parker asked Dvorin to inform fans after a gig that Elvis would not be appearing for an encore. Dvorin took the stage and made his now legendary announcement: Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight.
The phrase became a staple at Elvis concerts and has lived on long past the star's death. But Dvorin was never paid a penny for the words, which have been reproduced countless times over the years, and remained bitter towards Elvis Presley Enterprises, the multi-million pound empire now run by the star's daughter Lisa Marie. Sid Shaw, owner of London memorabilia store Elvisly Yours and a close friend of Dvorin, said: 'Of all the people I have met associated with Elvis he was the nicest, funniest, smartest and most honest. 'He had so many great memories of Elvis that I always told him he should write a book'. 'But after Elvis died he kept a low profile because of his friendship with Colonel Parker and because he didn't want to be seen cashing in on Elvis' death like so many others had done'. 'It was only a few years ago, after the Colonel died, that he decided to start attending Elvis events and conventions around the world to share some of his memories'.
At the time of the accident Dvorin was in a car driven by Ed Bonja, a long-time Elvis photographer. A former band leader and talent agent in Chicago, Dvorin first met Elvis through his work with Colonel Parker. He was among those on Elvis' last tour in 1977. The singer died of heart problems and drug abuse that August. A spokesman for the Elvis Presley estate in Graceland said: 'He was a fixture in Elvis world. He'll be greatly missed'.
If you wish to send a memorial donation in Al's memory, you may send it to:
Congregation Ezras Israel
7001 N. California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60645
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