Elvis Presley: How the King’s Hairdresser Snuck Backstage to Meet Him

by John Jamison

Elvis Presley was behind the music, and he was behind the dance moves. But how did the man behind his hair, stylist Larry Geller, link up with The King in the first place? It wasn’t exactly a job application into an interview type of deal.

From 1964 to 1977, when Elvis Presley passed away, Larry Geller was responsible for the rock star’s iconic hairstyle. The instantly recognizable pompadour had to be constantly maintained, and not only because of the style itself. Geller had to keep Presley’s dirty blonde hair in check by dyeing it black.

In a 2020 interview, Larry Geller talked about the time he spent with Elvis. To include how he met him in the first place. Geller claimed to become a fan of Presley’s from the first time he heard him. Not long after, he caught wind of an Elvis concert coming to town. And he had to meet him. But he didn’t have a ticket to the show.

Larry and his friends tried yanking open doors at the back of the venue. No joy. But they walked around to a side entrance where they spotted the man himself.

“Elvis was about 20 feet away, wearing a gold jacket,” Geller said. “I said ‘Come on you guys, let’s go meet him. Let’s go meet Elvis!’ They froze. And I knew right away they were petrified, and I said ‘Well, I’m going you guys.’ And I ran up to Elvis.”

Larry Geller froze too. He said that his jaw dropped, and Elvis offered him a handshake before he was called away to play the show. It changed Larry Geller’s world forever.

Larry Geller and Elvis Presley Meet Again

Five years later, Elvis was still Elvis. Larry, however, had gone to cosmetology school and was working at one of the first high-profile salons for men. The concept was pioneered by celebrity stylist Jay Sebring, who brought Larry on to help out.

One day, Larry got a call while he was sitting at the salon.

“The voice said, ‘Larry, I’m sitting here with Elvis Presley and he wants to know if you’d like to come to his house to fix his hair,'” Larry said in the interview.

Naturally, Larry said yes. Then he packed up all of his equipment as quickly as he could and rushed out the door to fix Elvis Presley’s hair. He left a call from Peter Sellers–who was having a hair emergency–in his wake. That could wait. This opportunity was years in the making for Larry.

Finally, Larry got to Elvis’ place in Bel Air. He fixed The King’s hair. And the rest is history.