Sonny West has died in Nashville after a long illness. He was 79 years old. He had been suffering lung cancer.Sonny was a member of Elvis Presley’s entourage and met him for the first time in 1958 before Elvis left for his military service in Germany. Later he came to work for Elvis, and he was responsible for the fleet, and bodyguard. He even lived for a time at Graceland. The man had supporting roles in films such as ‘Kid Galahad’ and ‘Stay Away, Joe’.
Sonny West was with Elvis (and Jerry Schilling) on December 21, 1970, when Elvis met with President Richard Nixon. Sonny West worked a long time for Elvis, but was fired in 1976. He was one of the authors of the controversial book ‘Elvis, What Happened’.
Waylon Jennings : Red West may have been one of the best friends he ever had, and Sonny West , because they cared about him, watched over him, trying to keep him alive. Elvis may have been the most beautiful man in the world’. ‘…. he was just that good looking, and his voice was unbelievable’.
Del ‘Sonny’ West was born on July 5, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. He was introduced to Elvis by his cousin, Red West back in 1958, just before he was to be stationed over in Germany during his time in the US Army.
However, upon Elvis’ military discharge in March 1960, he spent some time at his Graceland home in Memphis before heading back out on his career. During this time, Sonny began visiting him, and soon after this, Elvis asked Sonny to come to work for him full time.
The friendship between Elvis & Sonny West grew over the years into a very tight and trusted relationship. He even moved into Graceland for a period of time.
Along with other MM members like Charlie Hodge, Red West, Joe Esposito etc, Sonny West appeared in several Elvis movies as an extra. He can also be seen in the 2 concert movies ” Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” (1970) and” Elvis On Tour” (1972). During the years spent in Hollywood with Elvis, Sonny started to stick close to the director and various other members of the crew members, taking care to watch and learn about the production end of movie making.
In mid to late 60’s, Sonny West had a few acting roles under his belt, along with stunt work. According to the Internet Movie Database, Sonny appeared in the following productions.
- July, 05, 1937
- Memphis, Tennessee
- May, 24, 2017
- Nashville, Tennessee
Cause of Death
- Lung Cancer
- Crestview Memory Gardens
- Gallatin, Tennessee