Al Dvorin immortalized the expression, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis Has Left the Building" and sadly he will never again repeat those famous words and instead the sad story is "Al Dvorin has left the building".
Our dear friend Al Dvorin was tragically killed in a road accident on Sunday August 22nd. He was in a car being driven by his friend Ed Bonja from Palm Springs to Las Vegas on a small, winding back road when fate took hold. Apparently, Al suddenly took his seat belt off because it was uncomfortable and Ed looked to see what Al was doing, missed a curve and went down an embankment, rolling over. Al was killed instantly as he was thrown from the car and Ed was hospitalised. They were following behind Paul Casey, a promoter who had booked Al for an Elvis Show. Paul did not know about the accident until he heard from Ed Bonja in the hospital. Apparently, Ed has been released from hospital but was badly injured, his seat belt saved him.
Al Dvorin lost his wife earlier this year, she died from cancer. He was just starting to get active again and had several shows coming up. He had phoned me several times in the last month, most recently just before August 16th when he told me he was going to Vegas to do some shows. He loved the designs for the "Elvisly Yours Restaurants" and had printed them and took them everywhere to show people, he loved them so much. I had invited him to England when the first "Elvisly Yours Restaurant" is planned to be opened. I wanted him to be the voice that announced people by name as they left the Restaurant, eg "Ladies and Gentlemen, Sir Elton John has left the building..." or Jim Smith, Mary Rose etc.
We had the honour of meeting Al Dvorin at the "Aloha from Killarney" Concerts staged by Mark Leen, the Emerald Elvis in January 2003. Al was one of those people you took an immediate liking to and we hit it off and became friends, phoning and writing emails. Although, Al always had problems with computers so mostly he would phone. We had plans to tour an Elvis Museum with his personal collection of Elvis artifacts that he had kept from his time working with Elvis from 1955 until 1977.
Of all the people Maureen and I had met associated with Elvis he was the nicest, kindest, funniest and most honest. He would be described in Yiddish as a real "mensch" ...the dictionary definition is "a decent, upright, mature, and responsible person" but it means so much more such as kind, warm, considerate, loving, friendly. Al would often use Yiddish expressions in his conversations with me. In the Jewish religion people are buried very quickly and flowers are never sent. I will try and find out a charity favoured by Al where people can donate money instead of flowers and post it on the website.
I had told Al over and over again to record all his memories of his 22 years with Elvis. He had so many stories to tell and with such humour. Al had the sort of voice that was so interesting, so amusing you could listen to him for hours and we did. Al knew Elvis longer in show business than anyone else and did all his shows from 1955-1977. He had planned to write a book to put the record straight because so many people made such outrageous claims of their time with Elvis and Al knew the truth. I don't think Al got very far with his book because he was not good at organising himself. He could organise Elvis concerts perfectly, but getting into a routine to write or even record his memories he always managed to leave it for another day.
The world's media have now picked up the story
and I am pleased that Al has received some recognition for the work he did
promoting Elvis' career. Click on links :
I still have Al's voice in my ears from his
many phone calls to me. He was lousy at sending emails because he never mastered
the computer so I would get calls from him, always on my mobile phone(cell
phone). We just sort of hit it off and he really wanted to work with us on many
projects, but particularly the "Elvisly Yours Restaurants".
Below you will see the last two emails Al sent to
me and the email on July 16th was almost a premonition :
I HAVE MY GRANDSON FROM ISRAEL STAYING WITH ME---- HE JUST DOWNLOADED THE
PICTURES OF THE RESTAURANTS --- THEY ARE GORGEOUS----- GIVE
MARK LEEN MY BEST AND WISH HIM WELL ON HIS MARRIAGE FROM HIS
PAL OLD AL IN CHICAGO 0---THE BEST TRO YOU AGAIN --- WE WILL BE IN TOUCH
AL HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!!!
SID I LOVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING-- KEEP UP YOUR FANTASTIC WORK---- YOU ARE
KEEPING THE IMAGE OF ELVIS GOING STRONG THOUGHOUT THE THE WORLD--- LOVE
THE PHOTOS AND AND COPY --- READS VERY WELL--- SEND ME MARK
LEENS PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU CAN ---I WANT TO CONGRATULATE HIM
ON HIS WEDDING YOUR FRIEND ALWAYS AL DVORIN OR AS MY STAFF CALLED ME
SWEET AL----- CAUSE I WAS KIND OF ROUGH ON THE GUYS WHO PLAYED CUTE WITH
US---- JUST FINISHED DOING MY VOICE ON THE NEW ELVIS PIN BALL MACHINE
NEXT LAS VEGAS AND THEN PALM SPRINGS----- HAPPY TO WORK WITH YOU
ANYTIME--- YOUR PAL AL
referrng to our last Cyber Newsletter)
Mark Leen, the Emerald Elvis, had booked Al
to appear at his forthcoming Event in Ireland for January 2005 to
commemorate Elvis' 70th birthday. His last words to Mark, with that
superb wit, were "TELL LINDA I LOVE HER HUSBAND AND IM NOT
GAY" (Linda is Mark's wife).
We have lost a dear friend and the Elvis World one of its greatest spokesman and historian who was there from almost the beginning of Elvis' professional career. Although Al Dvorin did so much behind the scenes to make Elvis' career so successful he will be remembered for those five words, "Elvis has left the building..."
Our sympathies go to his family. His daughter recently moved to Las Vegas and he has a son in Chicago, his home town.
If you would like to post a message in tribute to Al Dvorin please click on this link : "Al Dvorin Tributes"