The less than down-to-earth celebrities out there have been known to surround themselves with helpers, minions, a posse, and/or “yes men.” These can be official employees, friends, or a combination of both.
Some obvious entourage functions include personal assistant, bodyguard, driver, child-care provider, chef, and trainer. A newer task for aspiring hangers-on is social media specialist — someone to ghost-tweet the superstar’s comings and goings.
As you’ll see in the following examples, members of an entourage can be essential, or they can be exploitative. The 10 entourage examples start with a king’s relatively reasonable gang of associates and work up into the celebrity stratosphere with a lady, a prince, a queen, and concluding with one celebrity who is said to act like the biggest diva of them all. Where possible, we’ve provided an idea of these special crew members' earnings or compensation. Click ahead to see them all.
By Colleen KanePosted 28 October 2011
Let’s begin with the King, since he more or less introduced the entourage tradition in the past century. Elvis’ crew of longtime friends, cousins, and confidantes was known as the Memphis Mafia — a name given to them by the press around 1960, as they often dressed in dark suits and sunglasses.
Some of the crew were employees with specific roles, such as security or logistics planners who helped, to use their favorite term, “TCB” (take care of business). None were paid more than $500 a week, according to the book “Elvis, The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics.” Unsalaried others helped TC of other B, acting as yes men, drug connections, and finders of women for Elvis (not such a difficult task). In return, they received cars and other goods as gifts, in addition to basking in the appreciation of Elvis.
Pictured here around Elvis, showing off the badges they just received from former Sheriff Roy Nixon at Graceland on Dec. 21, 1970, in Memphis (L-R, standing): Billy Smith, former Sheriff Bill Morris, Lamar Fike, Jerry Schilling, Sheriff Roy Nixon, Vernon Presley, Charlie Hodge, Sonny West, George Klein, Marty Lacker. (L-R, front) Dr. George Nichopoulos, Elvis Presley, Red West.
An article on the decline of the celebrity entourage in the Los Angeles Times mentions that Oprah Winfrey has a bra handler. In the 2000s, Oprah took up brassieres as one of her many causes, convincing her masses of female fans that the fit of the bras they’ve been wearing is probably all wrong, and that they owe it to themselves to get a professional bra fitting. (FYI, this campaign, which included "bra interventions," was called Oprah’s Bra Revolution.) No other information is available about this supportive member of her team, but it makes sense that Oprah, with her often-fluctuating weight, would employ someone to manage such affairs.
When an attendant to a troubled celebrity becomes influential and reaps grand financial benefits from decisions made by the celebrity, unsavory accusations tend to arise. That was the case with the Memphis Mafia, and it is very much the case with Eugene Landy, therapist to Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who became his round-the-clock one-man entourage.
Landy began working for Wilson as a therapist, but later became his manager, musical collaborator and producer, as well as his financial partner and beneficiary. Landy provided all this and more to the musician for the base rate of $35,000 a month plus expenses. Eventually, after this exploitative relationship was hashed out in the courts, Landy was banned from contacting Wilson. Landy died in 2006.
A 2007 Cindy Adams column in the New York Post highlighted her favorite discoveries from the then-new book “Unusually Stupid Celebrities: A Compendium of All-Star Stupidity," and it's one of the most specific gigs in this slideshow. According to the book, when a member of rapper Ludacris’ entourage was asked what his job was in the group, he said, "I do the Game Boy batteries.”
When you’re Rod Stewart, every bit of beauty rest counts. A Cindy Adams column in the New York Post about celebrity hotel demands mentioned that Stewart employed a special room-darkening team. This team deploys to hotels before Stewart arrives to seal up all cracks and prevent any chance of light entering the room, so as not to disturb his afternoon nap.
This seems all the more likely after reading an anecdote in the memoir “Lips Unsealed,” by Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s, who partied with her band in Stewart’s hotel penthouse suite during the 1985 Rock in Rio festival. “He said he had never stayed up all night, never…He cleared everyone from his penthouse, explaining like an old fussbudget that he still wanted to try to catch a few hours of shut-eye.” From the pool where the party continued, “Every so often we looked up toward Rod’s penthouse suite and saw him pacing back and forth on this balcony,” Carlisle was quoted as saying. “‘I can’t sleep,’ he yelled down at me. He seemed upset.”
It was only a handful of years ago that the superstar known as Lady Gaga was the aspiring young singer Stefani Germanotta, but she lost no time assembling a creative team of stylists and designers known as the Haus of Gaga. Modeled after Andy Warhol’s Factory, the Haus of Gaga dreams up and makes costumes, props, sets, and dance routines. It sounds like a fun gig, to hear Gaga describe it to MTV: “I called all my coolest art friends and we sat in a room and I said that I wanted to make my face light up. Or that I wanted to make my cane light up. Or that I wanted to make a pair of dope sunglasses. Or that I want to make video glasses, or whatever it was that I wanted to do. It’s a whole amazing creative process that’s completely separate from the label.” Haus of Gaga has become its own brand, selling T-shirts and a software app.
As for her non-Haus entourage members, their tasks, much like Lady Gaga’s hairdos, depend on the day. They may be called to duty to carry her when she’s in an egg costume, or 80 of her best friends may accompany her to her appearance on the Graham Norton show and devour all the bacon in the studio cafeteria.
Sean Combs employed an umbrella holder who has since risen to his own fame. Fonzworth Bentley’s title was really valet and personal assistant — and his name was really Derik Watkins. (The artist also known as Puff Daddy Puffy, P. Diddy, and Diddy likes making up alternate names.) A photo of the Fonz(worth), also known as Farnesworth, impeccably dressed while holding up a white umbrella for Diddy on a St. Tropez beach made him famous overnight, he told the New York Times.
The umbrella became his trademark, as he appeared in videos such as OutKast’s “I Like the Way You Move,” which brought a deal with the cognac brand Courvoisier, talk of a comedy show on Fox Broadcasting, and, naturally, his own line of luxury umbrellas. Watkins’ other responsibilities while in Combs’ employ included waking him, fetching coffee, choosing his clothes, and packing his suitcases.
The Prince of Wales has never undressed himself, nor picked up those clothes after undressing, because there are three valets to do that, according to a book by a former staffer titled “Not in Front of the Corgis,” as detailed in the Daily Mail. One duty of the valets is to iron his shoelaces whenever his shoes are removed (which is rather not a green tradition for such an ecologically minded figure). In all, the royals have 1,200 servants, including ladies in waiting (unpaid with expenses), a fender mender, and a maid for the coffee room. A daily task of one servant is to place a sheet of black blotter paper in the Queen’s pad so that no one can read what she wrote by analyzing the indentations in the pad.
Royal staff do not draw high salaries — less than a dozen earn more than £100,000 a year (about $160,000), the article says, with the highest paid being the Keeper of the Privy Purse (the royal accountant) who earns about $290,000. They do however have certain perks: The Queen’s dressers sometimes get to keep her castoff clothing (once labels are removed) and they can use the Queen’s pool at Buckingham palace (when a royal isn’t present), or use any of seven sports and social clubs.
Mariah Carey has earned a reputation for being unwilling to perform basic everyday tasks for herself, which works out fine since she travels with a huge entourage. After her appearance on the British morning show GMTV, they dished on her diva ways: “She had two people to lower her on to the GMTV sofa, in case her dress got crushed, one person to walk in front of her backwards at all times in case she fell over, and several people behind the camera making sure she was going to be filmed from the right angle!” Carey also brought her own toilet paper, according to the Daily Mail, and even her dogs have an entourage.
According to the book “Unusually Stupid Celebrities: A Compendium of All-Star Stupidity," Carey employs a “petite Colombian woman” to keep her long skirts from touching the floor. The New York Daily News reported on one Mariah minion dedicated solely to applying breast tape. Many, many more examples of her rider requests and preferences are just a Google search by a gossip-research assistant away.