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George Klein, friend of Elvis Presley and longtime radio host, dead at 83

George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout his career, has died. He was 83.

Presley’s former wife, Priscilla Presley, told The Associated Press that Klein died Tuesday at hospice in Memphis, Tennessee. Priscilla Presley said Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks. She said she had been in constant contact with Klein and Presley’s other close friends, including Jerry Schilling and Marian Justice Cocke, while Klein was ill.

Klein met Elvis Presley in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock ‘n’ roll icon died in 1977. Klein was part of Presley’s entourage, known as the “Memphis Mafia,” and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together.

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Priscilla Presley said her former husband liked Klein’s outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a “guy’s thing,” with their own inside jokes and “their own language.”

Elvis Presley used to affectionately call Klein “GK.”

“Their friendship was golden, truly golden,” she said in a phone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard George say anything bad about anybody.”

Presley served as Klein’s best man, and Klein was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral. Klein appeared in his friend’s film, “Jailhouse Rock.” When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Klein made the acceptance speech.

“Personally, Elvis was a great friend to me,” Klein said in the speech. “You know, I never saw Elvis refuse an autograph. I never saw Elvis refuse a handshake. I never saw Elvis refuse to take a picture with anyone.”

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Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley’s music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla Presley said.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, a former head coach at the University of Memphis, said on Twitter that he would talk basketball with Klein before and after games.

“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the city, for Graceland, for Elvis Presley and his family,” Calipari wrote.

In recent years, several friends of Elvis Presley — Scotty Moore, Red West, D.J. Fontana — have died. Priscilla Presley said she has thought about that, and calls it “a reality check.”

“It hits home,” she said. “He’s the last of our history, in many ways.”

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Funeral arrangements have not been released.

John Travolta says his ‘good friend’ Pitbull inspired his new bald look

John Travolta rang in the new year with the debut of a freshly-shaven head — and now the “Gotti” star is revealing the inspiration behind his new look.

“A good friend, Armando Perez, Pitbull — he lives his life like this and he would send me pictures of me, I have all my hair, and he’d superimpose no hair and say, ‘I prefer this,’ so I thought: ‘You know? Maybe there’s enough between my friends, my family, the people who work for me, kind of championing this whole idea that maybe it’s time to actually do it,’” Travolta, 64, recently explained to Extra.

As for his wife Kelly Preston’s reaction, Travolta said that she’s actually been on board with the idea for a while.

John Travolta recently spoke to Extra where he revealed the inspiration behind his freshly-shaven head — his pal, Pitbull.

John Travolta recently spoke to Extra where he revealed the inspiration behind his freshly-shaven head — his pal, Pitbull. (Getty)

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“Oh, she loves it,” he shared. “She has always loved the idea.”

The actor is also loving his new look, explaining to the outlet that: “It’s been a lot easier. Life’s simpler.”

“The biggest fun has been just the response to it,” Travolta admitted. “I felt like ‘Zoolander’ or something — I came out and suddenly, my new look became headline news.”

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Earlier this month, Travolta posted an Instagram photo, which featured the star sporting his new look while posing next to his daughter Ella.

“I hope everyone had a great New Year!” he captioned the picture.

Meghan Markle dubbed ‘the avocado whisperer’ by visiting friend from London

It’s good to know that eight months of living as a royal haven’t dulled Meghan Markle’s ability to mash avocado onto toast.

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Over the weekend, Markle’s friend and wedding-day makeup artist Daniel Martin shared a photo from his visit to London, showcasing the spread that Markle — at least in part — prepared for the two.

“Back to our Tig days…,” Martin wrote in the Instagram post, referring to Markle’s now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig. “Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the #avocadotoast whisperer, YUM!”

Alongside the avocado toast, Martin’s photograph also pictured a pot of tea and what appeared to be two varieties of chocolates.

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Martin is reportedly responsible for Markle’s minimal wedding-day makeup look, though she has since taken on more of her own day-to-day glam duties.

“She’s been doing her makeup herself. She’s not fussy — she’s just trying to get it on and get out the door,” he previously told People.

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In addition to avocado toast, Markle has also been known to prepare a mean loaf of banana bread — reportedly one of Harry’s favorite treats — and brought some to share with an Australian family during a visit on a royal tour with Harry in October.

Boy, 11, fatally shoots friend, falsely states friend came at him with knife, officials say

An 11-year-old Florida boy has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly shooting his friend last month and then falsely stating that his friend came at him with a knife, officials said Friday.

The boy was taken into custody without incident at a residence in Gilchrist County and is in juvenile detention in Gainesville, according to a release from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Jadon Vaughn, the 14-year-old victim, had visited the boy and his 13-year-old brother at their Lake City home when the fatal shooting occurred on Dec. 26, officials said. Lake City is about 50 miles northwest of Gainesville.

The parents had left for the evening, leaving the teens home alone, the release said.

Around 7 p.m., Vaughn and the boy wrestled to see if the family dog would respond to the friend attacking the boy, according to the release. Then the boy retrieved a pistol, removed that magazine and fired it, according to the release.

The boy then called his father and told him that Vaughn had come at him with a knife, the report said. But later, the boy and his brother admitted to deputies that they had placed a knife near the teen after the shooting, which they believed would help them get in less trouble, officials said.

“This is a tragic and avoidable death,” Sheriff Mark Hunter said in the release. “Our hearts are broken for both families; one has lost a son and the other will struggle with these events for the rest of their lives.”

Georgia teen kills himself after accidentally shooting and killing friend: cops

An Atlanta-area 15-year-old took his own life on New Year’s Eve minutes after accidentally shooting and killing his friend, police said.

Gwinnett County police identified the teens on Tuesday as Devin Hodges, 15, and 17-year-old Chad Carless, both of the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville.

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The incident occurred in a makeshift shed where a group of teens gathered, a police statement read. Investigators said Hodges was showing the group a handgun when it accidentally fired and struck Carless, who was sitting next to him.

Carless died before help could arrive. As officers pulled up to the scene, Hodges shot himself with the handgun as he was running between two homes and died.

Grown woman swaddled for birthday photo shoot: ‘Your best friend only turns 336 months once’

A photographer in South Carolina and her pal teamed up to put a fresh spin on trendy baby photos “because your best friend only turns 336 months once.”

Stephanie Smith was behind the lens for the photo shoot, with pictures resembling shots of babies taken to commemorate their growth, as Fox 13 reported. Nicole Ham came up with the spread and Smith said she was tasked with carrying it out.

“Nicole had the idea for the shoot and I brought it to life!” Smith told Fox 13.

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The photos posted on Facebook by Southern Stitch Photography captured a grown woman tightly wrapped in a blanket as she laid beside a board dated Dec. 29, 2018, reading: “336 months old. Loves – champagne. Hates – dating in 2018.”

The photographs also showed the woman – who sported a large, gold bow – inside a wreath made of greenery and flowers.

"Nicole had the idea for the shoot and I brought it to life!" Smith told Fox 13.

“Nicole had the idea for the shoot and I brought it to life!” Smith told Fox 13. (Southern Stitched Photography)

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Carrying out the design and executing the photo shoot was a team effort, Smith told Fox 13. But it also brought them plenty of entertainment.

“From shopping and laying out flowers in the store to see if we had enough to fit an adult to a collaborative effort between myself and Nicole’s mom to swaddle her… We couldn’t keep a straight face!” Smith recalled.

A teen took his own life after accidentally killing his friend while showing him a handgun, police say

Two teens died Monday in suburban Atlanta, one accidentally and one by suicide, police said.

Two teens died Monday in suburban Atlanta, one accidentally and one by suicide, police said.

(CNN)A 15-year-old took his own life after accidentally shooting and killing his friend on New Year’s Eve, police in suburban Atlanta said.

Inside a cramped, makeshift shed, Devin Hodges was showing three other boys a handgun Monday afternoon when it accidentally fired, striking Chad Carless, 17, who was sitting next to him, the Gwinnett County, Georgia, Police Department said.
Hodges and the other two teens then left the shed — and one called 911, police said.
Carless died before help could arrive, but the tragedy didn’t end there.
    As officers pulled up, Hodges shot himself with the handgun as he ran between two nearby houses, police said.
    “Our thoughts are with the families of both these young men,” Gwinnett police tweeted Tuesday.

    Texas man sues dad for wrongful death of his mother and ‘best friend’

    A man who is charged in the murder of his wife of 30 years is facing more than a criminal case.

    Johnny Oliphant’s son, who says the 2016 murder of his mother robbed him of his best friend, is suing Oliphant for her wrongful death.

    The son, Dylan Oliphant, says in his lawsuit that his mother, Gina, was a pillar of his life, while the brutal loss “wreaked absolute havoc” in his life, according to The Southeast Texas Record. The lawsuit is filed in the Galveston County District Court.

    Dylan is the youngest of two sons.

    The accused family patriarch, Johnny Oliphant, is out on bond. He is expected to stand trial over the shooting death of his wife.

    A local ABC station reported that the couple got into an argument after Oliphant returned home from a bar. He reportedly had also consumed sleeping pills. Authorities allege that he shot his wife during the argument and called 911, saying, “I guess I won that one.”

    Their marriage was described as a long-troubled one, over which plans to divorce had loomed at least once. The lawsuit claims that Johnny Oliphant was physically abusive toward his wife, said The Southeast Texas Record.

    The son is seeking a jury trial and damages for pain and suffering and financial losses, ABC reported.

    Florida boy, 11, charged in shooting death of friend, 14, police say

    An 11-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of his 14-year-old friend, authorities said.

    The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that the boy was arrested Wednesday. Deputies said Jadon Vaughn, 14, was visiting the Lake City, Florida, home of the 11-year-old boy and his 13-year-old brother Wednesday.

    The boys were left alone in the home when the brothers’ parents went out for the night. The children are understood to have wrestled, at which point the 11-year-old retrieved a pistol from his parents’ room, investigators said. The boy removed the magazine but left a single round chambered. The gun discharged when the boy pointed it at Vaughn, killing him, officials said.

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    The boy and his brother initially claimed Vaughn threatened them with a knife but later admitted that they placed a knife next to the 14-year-old’s body, thinking they “would be in less trouble,” News 4 Jax reported.

    “This is a tragic and avoidable death,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a news release. “Our hearts are broken for both families; one has lost a son and the other will struggle with these events for the rest of their lives.”

    The younger boy was being held at a juvenile facility in Gainesville.

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    In the state of Florida it is “illegal to leave an unsecured firearm within a reach of a child”. Investigators discovered two handguns in the parents’ bedroom. No charges have been filed against the 11-year-old boy’s parents but Columbia County Sgt. Murray Smith said it was a possibility.

    A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for Vaughn’s funeral services.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Trump is a fair-weather friend to the troops

    Rep. Heck on Trump trip: Deeply disappointing

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    Patrick Mondaca is an adjunct instructor at John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York. In 2003 he served in Baghdad, Iraq, as a sergeant with the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 143rd Military Police Company. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail and more. The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s. View more opinion articles on CNN.

    (CNN)“If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!” President Donald Trump tweeted recently.

    Let the military fix it — that’s the all-purpose solution, right? Wars to fight? Borders to defend? Americans to win over ahead of midterm elections? Trump’s got a panacea.
    Patrick Mondaca

    Patrick Mondaca

    The President seems to love the troops, unless, of course, it’s raining or there’s a draft and he is required to serve. In both of those cases, well, the President was unwilling to inconvenience himself for the military. He is, quite literally, a fair-weather friend, engaging with the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our nation only when it benefits him.
    Until Wednesday, Trump had yet to visit the troops in a combat zone out of concern for “personal safety and legitimizing unpopular wars.” It was reported Wednesday, however, that he stopped in Iraq for a post-Christmas visit and photo op with service members, during which he called the troops “warriors” and “patriots” who are getting “billions and billions of dollars of new equipment that (Trump) approved over the last two years.”
      This may appear on the surface to be a genuine effort to honor the military, but those who serve, as well as the rest of us, should not be fooled by the President’s empty actions. Nor will we be.
      In fact, in the aftermath of his visit, the President has been called out for making the false claim that he had given the troops their first pay raise in over a decade. No one deserves to be lied to by the President, but for the commander in chief to make false statements to the faces of those who defend the nation shows a disappointing level of disrespect.
      When I served in Baghdad in 2003 with the US Army, my fellow soldiers and I were nonplussed listening to then-President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. I’m sure that many among the troops who trotted out for Trump’s visit felt similarly. As we knew then and now, Bush’s mission in Iraq was not quite accomplished, making his words seem hollow. And as our military today under Trump’s leadership can also ascertain, dropping in for a few photos and some questionably sincere words does not a worthy commander in chief make.
      In Flanders at the Battle of Boxtel in 1794, a mortally wounded Private Tommy Atkins told his superior officer as he lay dying in the mud, “It’s all right, sir, all in a day’s work.”
      Rudyard Kipling immortalized the young soldier in his poem “Tommy,” which says, in part:
      “For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ‘Chuck him out the brute!’
      But it’s ‘Saviour of ‘is country’ when the guns begin to shoot
      An’ it’s Tommy this an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please
      An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees.”
      Kipling’s poem tells the stark truth of how many Americans feel about those who wear the uniform of the soldier, whether they choose to or not. We love them when we need them — when we are threatened, when we are afraid, when we want them to potentially sacrifice life and limb for our country. But how quickly in peacetime we forget the magnitude of that sacrifice.
      Our own “Tommies” patrol throughout the world to this day, in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and Niger. They are stationed throughout our nation in transit hubs like Penn Station and John F. Kennedy International Airport. And now they are bivouacked uselessly on our southern border, awaiting their orders to pack it up and come home. They hover bored and watchful. Later they may die terribly and ungallantly in wretched places where the average American — and the President — would not dare to go. And we probably won’t think about them again until we see notice of their death scroll briefly across the news ticker.
      But Tommy isn’t likely paying much attention to the President’s bloviating or his fair-weather allegiances. He won’t have been listening to the President’s lip service about “tremendous courage” during the Thanksgiving video conference from his Mar-a-Lago luxury resort last month with military members in Afghanistan.
      Instead, active Tommies are putting in a hard day’s work. And retired Tommies are standing in line at the Veterans Affairs hospital to get prescriptions for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
      Tommy is putting on his dress uniform and taking his own life with a rifle after dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ incompetence. He is one of the 20 veterans who kill themselves daily in this country, according to a 2018 Department of Veterans Affairs news release.
      Yes, Tommy volunteered for his or her military service, but he or she volunteered for the good of the country and not for the President’s personal agenda.
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      The lives of our service members are not pawns to be moved about a political chessboard. Our soldiers and sailors and Marines and airmen are not toys to be played with by a petulant, entitled child who could never imagine serving. And the President’s “very, very” special words for the military are mere empty expressions of the hypocrisy of the elite who don’t themselves defend our nation.
        And when we thank our own Tommies for their service — when they come home from those combat theaters and the Mexican border — I expect that they will tell us the same thing that young Tommy said in that muddy field to the Duke of Wellington so many years ago. It was “all in a day’s work.”
        And for that we should value them.