David Beckwith, the longtime publicist of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, died January 19 in Phoenix after a hip replacement surgery followed by sepsis. He was 67.
His friend, publicist Lynn Weiss, confirmed the news.
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Born on April 28, 1956, in Albion, NE, Beckwith began his career in 1979 at Rogers & Cowan and formed his own business, The Beckwith Company, 13 years later.
In 1982, Beckwith was chosen to open Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis as a public museum. More than 700 media members attended the opening news conference with Priscilla Presley, and Beckwith continued his work with Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises until his death.
Beckwith was the gatekeeper of Graceland and molded the image presented to the public for 42 years.
He also represented Wolfgang Puck and Spago for many years, including the Academy’s Governors Dinner, along with repping Freddie Gershon and Music Theater International.
He was a champion of the LGBTQ+ community, serving on the local and national boards of the Human Rights Campaign and being instrumental in creating the Outfest film festival in Los Angeles.
Beckwith is survived by his partner of 42 years and husband of 15 years, Dietrich Nelson, and many family members.
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