Meet Fernie ‘ELVIZ’ Ramirez
Elvis Is in the Building!
Fernie Ramirez retired March 24 from LAPD Training Division’s Art Unit after 32 years of City service. He worked about 16 years at the L.A. Zoo and about 16 years with the LAPD as a Graphic Designer.
Fernie ran his own graphic design studio in Hollywood in the early 1980s, and now he works out of his home on small projects. He loves drawing caricatures.
Fernie hosts karaoke parties, and absolutely loves playing those great doo-wops, oldies, Latin and country hits as a mobile DJ. He also enjoys playing tennis two or three times a week.
Fernie became interested in Elvis in his 30s. He says a song caught his ear, “Treat Me Nice.” After that, he started listening and singing Elvis’ greatest hits. One day after a drink, he got up the nerve to sing “Mack the Knife,” one of his favorites. Then he next sang another Elvis hit, and a lady came up to him and said, “Hey, you did that song very well!” So, after he hit some of the karaoke venues in his neighborhood, people were asking him if he performed at parties or other events. Without thinking, he said yes! Although he never had, he immediately went out and bought a $24 costume, added extra jewels and started performing at events around town.
Fernie says he knew his show was rather good because some of his jewels were scattered around the floor! He is proud to say that he is still performing at the age of 72 or 68, he can’t remember. His Elvis jumpsuits now cost around $1,800! He says he is having a fun-tastic time performing in front of an audience and is surprised his kneecaps haven’t fallen off yet! (Elvis liked to kid around a bit.)
Fernie says his show is rather unique because no impersonator does what he does! He welcomes those who love Elvis to visit his Website at www.elvizandfriends.com.
He has been performing for about 12 years and is available for birthdays, weddings, fundraisers, divorces, funerals and any special event where Elvis is needed.
In his retirement, Fernie has kept himself busy as Elvis, of course, but also serves on the board of a small nonprofit organization Friends of Father Murphy, which awards scholarships to help students of low-income families complete their education. He also chairs three fundraising projects: Veterans Appreciation Dance and Show, Chanclazo Dance and Show, and his timeout weekend getaway, Laughing to Laughlin with Elviz. “It’s a lot of work but the rewards are great!”
How do you feel about retirement?
“It was kind of tough deciding when to retire. It’s another important page in your book of life, but hearing that all of my retired friends were having fun in their adventures and having my hummingbirds in order, I figured it was about time.”
Fernie emphasizes that, “It is important to have a plan B, C and D before you retire. My formula: Trust in God, eat right, think positive, do the right thing, treat everyone with respect and keep moving those bones!”
How do you feel about Shelter-in-Place and getting bored:
“I truly wish everyone would follow the safety rules to end this pandemic … so I could enjoy my retirement, pleeeeease! Being single, the shelter-in-place order has honestly not bothered me. I have plenty of projects around my home. One was changing the lighting in my kitchen, even though I almost shocked myself to death. But I am enormously proud of completing the project, and I now have a new hairdo!”
As you reflect on your City career, would you have done anything differently?
“No. Working for the City and my co-workers has been a pleasant experience. You work hard and play hard and it pays off with good memories. Socializing through the media platform is the new norm for now, but this too shall pass. What I miss most with me being a hugger, I just can’t wait to give all a big bear hug!”
Ladies and gentlemen, ELVIZ has left the building!