Actor and songwriter Robert Gene “Red” West, a longtime confidant of Elvis Presley, has died in Memphis, he was 81.
West died Tuesday at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis after suffering an aortic aneurysm, his wife, Pat, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper.
West met Presley in high school and worked for him for 20 years. He was a friend, driver and bodyguard. He also took small roles in some of Presley’s films and co-wrote some songs Presley sang including “Separate Ways” and “If You Talk In Your Sleep.”
West also composed or contributed to songs recorded by other artists, including Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone and Johnny Rivers.
After Prestley died, West concentrated on acting full-time with TV credits including The Wild, Wild West, Baa Baa Black Sheep, along with Magnum P.I., The A-Team, The Fall Guy, and most recently guest-starred on Nashville, Rectify and Memphis Beat. On the film side, his most memorable role was as Red Webster in 1989’s Road House opposite Patrick Swayze. His other feature credits include The Rainmaker (1997), Goodbye Solo (2008), and most recently, 2013’s Safe Haven.
In addition to his wife, West is survived by two sons, actor John Boyd West, of Tampa, and Brent West, of Memphis; a brother, Harold West of Olive Branch, Miss.; and six grandchildren.