Elvis’ doc making hay on drugs he gave singer

Making a living off the dead gets even more morbid with the former doctor accused of overprescribing drugs to Elvis Presley.

George Nichopoulos, the singer’s longtime physician who was acquitted in 1981 of charges that he overprescribed drugs for Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others, has a new 100-piece exhibit, “Memories of Elvis.” The exhibit includes jewelry, autographed photos, other King-ly gifts and a black medical bag. The bag holds 13 medicine bottles, included one for the painkiller Diaudid, which Presley was taking months before his death in 1977.

The exhibit at the Hollywood Casino, just south of Graceland, ends Friday. Thereafter, the former doctor, who lost his medical license in 1995 amid charges that he improperly prescribed drugs, will take his goodies on the road.

Jack Soden, director of Elvis Presley Enterprises, which manages Presley’s estate, describes the exhibit as “tacky, tasteless and unfortunate.

“It exploits whatever it is in human nature that makes people slow down and gawk at an auto accident,” he told the Commercial Appeal of Memphis.

MANSION IN THE DUST: Meanwhile, in Oxford, Miss., the historic house of William Faulkner, used by the University of Mississippi as a museum, needs a $1 million face lift and only half of the necessary cash is at hand.

Caretakers blame the poor climate control of the two-story antebellum house for its decay. In fact, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist’s daughter almost had her father’s book collection shipped to the University of Virginia to be preserved. Ole Miss officials intervened to keep the books in Oxford and have appealed to state legislators for $500,000 for structural repairs. Last year, Mississippi legislators put aside $500,000 to fix the ventilation system.

PLEA ENTERED: Mark Ronald Bailey pleaded innocent Tuesday to charges that he repeatedly stalked and threatened actress Brooke Shields. The 41-year-old suspect, arrested Jan. 10, has also been charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm with identification numbers removed. He’s in an L.A. jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Bailey is accused of repeatedly stalking and threatening Shields.

HASTA LA VISTA, LOSERS: Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday he is severing his ties with the Planet Hollywood chain.

As an investor, the actor was the public face of the troubled restaurant chain, along with fellow box-office heavyweights Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Sylvester Stallone.

Now the actor says he has sold his interest in the Orlando-based company.

“It was lots of fun and very challenging to come up with and develop the celebrity restaurant concept on an international level,” he said in a statement. “Of course, I am disappointed that the company did not continue with the success I had expected and hoped for.”

The company last week emerged from federal bankruptcy court. It has closed nine eateries. CEO Robert Earl says the chain plans to announce next month a new set of celebrity investors who will appeal to the youth market.

don’t write off “Spin City” just yet: The ABC sitcom “Spin City” might find life after Michael J. Fox. After Fox’s emotional Golden Globe win for best actor in a TV comedy Sunday, television insiders were saying that the show might continue without the actor with Heather Locklear taking over the starring role. That talk heated up when Fox told reporters backstage that he was willing to make cameos on the show. “It’s a possibility,” said one television producer with ties to the show. “It’s being explored.”

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail


Tours announced: For Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who will perform 28 shows in 24 cities beginning Feb. 28. No California dates announced, but more concert dates are expected.

Birthdays: Actress Anne Jeffreys (77), actor Paul Newman (75), movie director Roger Vadim (72), cartoonist Jules Feiffer (71), sportscaster-actor Bob Uecker (65), actor Scott Glenn (58), singer Jean Knight (57), activist Angela Davis (56), actor David Strathairn (51), singer Lucinda Williams (47), rock singer-musician Eddie Van Halen (43), actress-comedian Ellen DeGeneres (42), hockey star Wayne Gretzky (39), musician Andrew Ridgeley (37), R&B singer Jazzie B. of Soul II Soul (37), gospel singer Kirk Franklin (30).