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Elvis’ stepbrother reveals ‘King put a GUN to his head and made a harrowing threat’ as star spiraled into addiction

ELVIS Presley's stepbrother had revealed how the star held a gun to his head and threatened him when he tried to take drugs off him at the height of his addiction.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, David E Stanley revealed how his brother's drug habit spiraled towards the end of his life - as manager Colonel Tom Parker pushed him to play exhausting low-budget shows across the United States with little creative input.

Elvis Presley held a gun to his stepbrother's head at the height of his drug addictionCredit: Alamy
Elvis with his stepbrother David, who worked as his bodyguard and tour managerCredit: JDMCr
A new movie about Elvis was released on Friday, June 23, 2022Credit: Getty

It comes as a new movie about the King - starring Tom Hanks and Austin Butler, released on Friday, June 23, 2022.

David, who worked as Elvis's bodyguard and tour manager, said at the height of his addiction, the star was popping 33 sleeping pills and nine shots of Demerol a day - and topping up on amphetamines, codeine, morphine, diazepam and Placidyl.

"I tried to stop him," David said, now an author and filmmaker.

"One time, he pulled a gun on me and said: 'Put the drugs down now.'

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"I told him: 'You hired me to protect you.' But he put that gun to my forehead. And I said: 'Really? Is that what is going to happen?'

"I was not afraid because he would never shoot me. But he was dramatically trying to drive home a point that it was his decision.

"Elvis loved us, but he got addicted and could not beat that. He liked the way he made them feel, couldn't stop, and it cost him his life."

Another time, David remembers the Suspicious Minds singer reaching for his gun after pouring out a bottle of pills on his bed before a show at Louisiana State University.

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"One day on tour at LSU, everyone was unable to get him out of bed," David said.

"I walked into his room and said: 'It is time to get up, boss. You need to get up.'

"From his bed, he just uttered: 'What I need is my medication?' I replied: 'What these?' - and I picked up one of the pill bottles and poured it on the bed.

"Elvis said: 'Put the goddamn drugs down.' And he had now pulled himself up to get his gun, and I replied: 'I am just doing my job.' Elvis said: 'This ain't your job.'

I've never seen anyone be gripped by addiction like my brother."

David E Stanley, Elvis's stepbrother

"And I was so distraught at his addiction: 'I was like f**k it - whatever you want to do.'

"Again, I never ever for a moment believed that Elvis would shoot me.

"He was an addict. I've worked in that field helping young people with problems, but I've never seen anyone be gripped by addiction like my brother."

David said ruthless manager Parker - played by Hanks in the new Elvis biopic - treated Elvis like a "cash cow" and did little to take care of him or help him overcome his addiction.


He said Parker dashed Elvis's dreams of doing a European tour - and even turned down profitable movie deals - to keep him on the road doing cost-effective US shows.

Elvis felt trapped, according to David, and saw drugs as his only "faithful friend."

"Elvis could have been a bigger star," he said.

"In the late 70s, I was thinking we should be playing stadiums and doing rock and roll. 

"His last few shows were horrible. Elvis needed a break."

David E Stanley, Elvis's stepbrother

"The whole Vegas thing went from his great return in sequined suits to these gaudy looks. 

"His last few shows were horrible. Elvis needed a break.

"It was none of my business to say anything. It was not my job.

"Elvis could have done so much more because he had so much talent.

"Whatever that X factor was, he had it. Everywhere we went, it was always mass hysteria.

"But, like many gifted human beings, he had frailties."


Elvis died on August 16, 1977, aged 42, after suffering a heart attack at his Graceland home.

Post-mortem tests showed Elvis suffered from advanced cardiovascular disease, emphysema and bowel disorders.

His blood contained at least ten different prescription drugs.

An investigation into his doctor Dr Nichopoulos — aka Dr Nick — later discovered that in the eight months up to his death, Elvis was prescribed an incredible 8,805 pills and injectable drugs, including powerful painkillers taken at a rate only standard in terminally ill cancer patients.

The Tennessee health board cleared the doctor, claiming he only prescribed them to keep his patient off illegal street drugs.

But David recalls how he confronted Dr Nicik about the number of drugs he prescribed.

"I told him once: 'You are killing him,'" he said.


David wrote a book about his life with Elvis entitled My Brother Elvis: The Final Years.

He is re-releasing a film he made called Protecting the King, which examines Elvis's last five years alive.

"It is about the last five years, from the moments of glory to the tragic demise.

"It shows Elvis doing medications and being introduced to the girls, sex and drugs.

"He was the greatest entertainer in the world, but the truth is he made decisions that cost him his life.

"And we can learn from his mistakes.

"I wrote that book to show the other side of Elvis, not to take anything away from his greatness."

He continued: "It covered his legacy, which will never be taken away, but it also reminded the people that the most popular individual in the world had a problem that cost him his life.

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"No one is out of reach when it comes to medication taking over your life."

The Sun contacted the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation at Graceland for comment.

Elvis and his brother, who worked for him from age 16Credit: JDMCr
A gun owned by Elvis PresleyCredit: Alamy
Elvis holds a toy pistolCredit: Getty
Elvis' drug addiction worsened in the 1970sCredit: Getty
David Stanley now talks to young people about the dangers of drug addictionCredit: David E Stanley