Dr. George Nichopoulos does not want his grandchildren to grow up thinking of him as a Dr. Feelgood who killed Elvis Presley. The white-haired 82-year-old former personal physician to the rock superstar dodged parallels Tuesday to his role as a one-time suspect in Elvis' death and that of Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, under investigation in the death of the King of Pop.
Nichopoulos sat down with a crew from TV's "Entertainment Tonight," announcing a book, "The King and Dr. Nick," due out in February. In it, the doctor says he will tell the world he is tired of being accused of hastening Elvis' death.
"I don't regret any of the medications I gave him. They were necessities," Nichopoulos said. Dr. Nick, as he was known, was acquitted in 1981 on charges he overprescribed drugs to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and seven others.
Much of the public was unconvinced. "Even though I was acquitted, there's still a population of people out there who didn't buy this. They wanted to blame somebody," Nichopoulos said.
"Entertainment Tonight" correspondent Victoria Recano repeatedly asked Nichopoulos to compare his role as Elvis' physician to that of Jackson's embattled doctor. Publicists for Nichopoulos' Nashville publisher, Thomas Nelson Inc., said Nichopoulos wanted to "steer clear" of the comparisons.
The interview is scheduled to air on tonight's segment of "Entertainment Tonight" at 6:30 on WREG-TV, Channel 3. The interview was at Sam Phillips Recording Studio. Rose Phillips, wife of Judd Phillips (nephew of Sun founder Sam Phillips), collaborated with Nichopolous on the book. "He loved Elvis dearly," she said, and was disappointed that he lost his license temporarily when the State Board of Medical Examiners found that he over-prescribed prescriptions for Elvis and others. It was again revoked in 1995 on similar charges. "I've detected hurt from the fact that he was never able to get matters clarified," Rose Phillips said.
Asked about the "biggest lie" over his role, Nichopoulos said: "There were so many. I guess the thing that hit me the most was I worked very hard trying to do all the right things with Elvis ... He was such a challenge. I was constantly trying to find new ways to deal with it ... It all seemed to come back in my face. I was the whipping boy."
Nichopoulos said he treated Elvis primarily for arthritis, an impacted colon and insomnia.
"Unfortunately there's not a drug you can give somebody to take care of everything. You need a different drug for every situation." He said he served as doctor for not only Elvis but up to 150 people on the road. Nichopoulos said Elvis insisted the prescriptions be written in his name in order to keep his father, Vernon Presley, from getting upset by the cost of prescription drugs for so many people. "So it looked like he (Elvis) was taking all these drugs because the prescriptions were in his name."
As Elvis' reliance on drugs became evident, Nichopoulos said he often prescribed placebos.
Nichopoulos and his attorney, Dan Warlick, said drugs in Elvis' system were not at "toxic or lethal levels" when he died. "He died a natural death," said Warlick.
Most of the autopsy team at Baptist Memorial Hospital attributed the death to "polypharmacy" or drug interaction, but former medical examiner Dr. Jerry Francisco said last year he stands by his 1977 ruling that Elvis died of cardiac arrhythmia, not drugs.
I'm sorry Dr. Nick, I don't buy it. You overprescribed, I feel, pills to Elvis and others. From what I understand, and read, it was hard to say no to the King. I don't hate him(Dr. Nick) anymore because Elvis did what he was gonna do. If Dr. Nick wasn't gonna get him the drugs, Elvis would've found someone who would. I belive that at times Elvis was given placebos, I really do. But like I said, in the end, Elvis would've gotten the drugs from someone(Dr. Ghangim(sp) in Vegas). It sucks, but it's true, I believe. It's the same w/ most of the Mafia, I don't blame them anymore. I said "most", some where there I feel for the perks. This is all just my opinion. I was 11 when he died and just a student of his life.
I believe Dr. Nick gave Elvis pills for arthritis, an impacted colon and insomnia. But what about the other drugs he gave Elvis just to feel "high". Elvis just liked those drugs. He just wanted to feel "high". He liked drugs, that's it. And it was Elvis himself who took all those pills and swallowed them. We got to remember that. From 1972 on Elvis way out of control and it got worse and worse..Of course he died of cardiac arrhythmia eventually. Because of the pills ! Just read the book from Guralnick "Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley". Elvis was in troubles all the time after 1972, because of those damn pills..
Elvis had arthritis??? Neverheard that before! But I do't blame Dr Nick for Elvis' death. You just need to look at someone like Michael Jackson to see that someone can know the risks but still get sucked into a world of dependancy on medication and denial and, depsite the love of those around you, they can feed their addiction until it eventually kills them. Although the cirmcumstances appear to be quite different in the end.
One thing which is often lost sight of - the media and various critics of Elvis attach today's morals and medical knowledge to Elvis' drug use. We should remember that Elvis lived in a time (60s and 70s) when mankind thought that chemicals were good and valid ways to treat problems. Artificial ingredients were encouraged, smoking was fashionable and stylish, drinking alcohol was cool (eg the Rat Pack). Elvis had very little in the way of precedent to rely on - a hick from the sticks becomes the most famous person in the world, he can afford to do what he wants with medicines (which were legal and the side effects not really explored). It is noteworthy that he did not smoke or drink to excess and there is little or no record of him taking illegal drugs. Dr Nick was a sideshow; he is just promoting another book.
Listening to this via the Elvis Matters > Insiders link, one of the main faults with this interesting interview is the very high level of the background music, presumably mis-used in an misguided attempt attempt to add more drama. All it does, especially at the end, is make you struggle to hear the softly spoken doctor Nick. Interesting that he says about 3/4 of the Memphis Mafia around Elvis were "Drug Enablers"... and doubtless true. Heaven only knows what really happened with some of the Stanley brothers the day of Elvis' death.
I don't buy it! 30 years after Elvis' death Dr Nick sits in a store near Graceland signing copies of a book he has written about Elvis. All he is after now is making money out of Elvis and I can't believe people are willing to give money to the man who fed Elvis drugs. Yes Elvis was a strong character and perhaps difficult to say no to, but that doctor must have made a fortune out of Elvis! I'm sorry, but the guy gives me the creeps! Methinks he dost protest too much! I'd like to know Lisa Marie's opinion on him.
What a load of crap! How come this is the first time I've heard that Elvis had arthritis? And dying at the age of 42, bloated almost beyond recognition and full of more then drugs then a corner pharmacy is not dying a natural death. Give me a break! I'm sure the State Board of ME's were completely mistaken in revoking this jerk's license not once, but twice! The last time in 1995, a full 18 years after Elvis passed away. Yeah okay.
Hey, I don't blame anybody for Elvis's death anymore except Elvis. He was not a stupid man and he was responsible for his own behavior. But there comes a time, especially when you've already got one foot in the grave anyway, that you just have step up to the plate and take responsibility for your own actions. If this disgraced and de-licensed crook admitted today to over prescribing, to being blinded by money and fame, for kowtowing to Elvis's demands, I doubt there would be many of us who would have much to say about it. After all, we've all known it all along anyway.
However to come out now with yet another new book to push, adding more bs to an already bucketful of bs just makes me irritated. I would never buy this book nor read it even if it was free. It's just a lame attempt to pump up the inheritance pool before popping off.
You really don't want to know how Lisa feels about Dr. Nick & most of the members of the "inner circle". She grew up watching them & watching what went on. At least that's the impression I got from a few of her statements.
Not only was Lisa Marie only 9 when her dad passed away, she also only spent 3-4 years full time at Graceland before her mother walked away from the marriage. I am sure that she wasn't exposed to a lot of what went on, especially the drug abuse, even when she was visiting with him. So how much of what actually went on could she possibly remember or know of intimately? I just assume anything she's got to say about what happened comes by way of her mother and so therefore should be taken with a grain of salt.
Unbelievable. What makes me laugh is that the toxicology reports state several drugs at above therapeutic and at toxicl levels, the autopsy's conclusion is that polypharmacy was the cause of death, and everyone except Nichopoulos and Francisco believes Elvis's was a drug death, and still Nichopoulos and Francisco cling on the the blatant lie that is that Elvis died of a "Natural" heart attack. The fact that they still state this conclusively proves what liars they are. Dr Nick's statements made in his defence can all be destroyed on both moral and ethical grounds and at the very least he is guilty of negligence, and it's about time he held his hands up and admitted it. As a side point, the story states that his attorney is Dan Warlick; this surely can't be the same Dan Warlick who was the chief investigator for Jerry Francisco when Elvis died? He's changed his tune if it is.