Frank William Kryriopoulos – Major, United States Air Force

Elvis Impersonator Frank Kyriopoulos
By Patricia Sullivan
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, November 11, 2005

Frank William Kyriopoulos, 61, a retired Air Force officer, intelligence analyst for a defense contractor and locally renowned Elvis Presley impersonator, died November 2, 2005, of complications during heart surgery at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland.

Major Kyriopoulos performed once in the White House for President Bill Clinton, a noted Elvis fan. He appeared more commonly at private parties and bars. At one of those in 2000, he told a Washington Post reporter that “the thing about Elvis is the energy. He knew how to move a group and get everyone to have a good time.”

Frank William Kyriopoulos (Official White House Photo)

Major Kyriopoulos also helped operate his wife’s business, Entertainment by Carisma, which hires out dancers and star impersonators. During a 1994 winter storm, he told The Post that the dancers were staying inside but that the King would venture out on slippery roads to make his appearances. “Elvis is dead, and you can’t kill him twice,” Kyriopoulos said.

He happened into his avocation as a teenager, when Presley was popular, and “it drew attention from the girls,” said his son Christopher Kyriopoulos of Nashville. He stopped performing for years and then, in middle age, found himself in a karaoke bar and, well. . . .

“He didn’t become a rock star until he was about 50,” his son said.

Major Kyriopoulos was born in Salt Lake City, became an Eagle Scout and graduated from the University of Utah. He served in the Air Force from 1968 to 1988 and helped found the Air Force Academy’s Arabic language program in 1976. He received a master’s degree in Middle East studies from the University of Utah in 1971, which included graduate studies at American University in Beirut. He also received a master’s degree in psychological services from Marymount University in 1994.

After retiring from the military, Major Kyriopoulos operated a food delivery business in Springfield and worked in a variety of sales positions. After Sept. 11, 2001, he went to work for defense contractor SAIC as a senior Arabic translator and intelligence analyst.

“He was known for his spirit and his robust laugh,” said his wife of 39 years, Christine Kyriopoulos of Springfield. “He was a lot of fun, always, and he wasn’t afraid to do different things. He wasn’t exactly the kind of conformist you expect to see in the military. You just couldn’t hold him down.”

Once hired to provide entertainment to a party of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mr. Kyriopoulos arrived as Elvis and, after a quick costume change, departed as Santa Claus. In recent years, he worked many children’s parties as Elvis, Santa or Winnie the Pooh and often joined his wife to deliver singing telegrams. His wife, it should be noted, is a belly dancer.

He was president of the Lakewood Hills Civic Association in Springfield for eight years and also volunteered with Alcoholics Anonymous.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include another son, Niko Kyriopoulos of Denver; his mother, Afton Kyriopoulos of Salt Lake City; five sisters; and three grandchildren.

Major Kyriopoulos will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on 9 January 2006.

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