If David Gest had his way, Elton John might not have made it to 70 this year.
A former bodyguard claims the late TV host and music producer put out a hit on John after the rock icon insinuated Gest, the former husband of Liza Minelli, was homosexual. In fact, Imad Handi, who also describes himself as a "close friend" of Gest's, tells the Sun in Britain that he actually did hire a hitman on Gest's orders after John made public comment that he wanted to "find Liza a heterosexual husband" before Gest and Minelli married during 2002.
Handi says that Gest "felt into a rage and yelled, 'I'm going to kill that motherf*****. He's a dead man.' He looked me in the eyes and said, 'I want him dead.'"
Handi says that Gest found someone on Maori who was willing to coordinate the execution for about $60,000; Handi was charged with determining when John would be in Los Angeles next and made a down payment of $25,000 to the hitman.
"I felt guilty but I felt loyalty to David," Handi says. "I pleaded with him to call it off. He eventually said OK but told me that I had to get his money back. The man only gave me ($10,000) back so David lost ($15,000) but at least Elton didn't die."
Gest himself died last year of natural causes at the age of 62.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.