Elvis Presley was only married once, to Priscilla Beaulieu, a girl he met in Germany in 1958 while he was stationed there serving his two-year stint as a draftee in the US Army. She was only fourteen when he first knew her. He later convinced her parents to permit their daughter to accompany him back to Graceland on completion of his stretch in the armed forces, assuring them that Priscilla would be chaperoned at all times by the singer’s father. Aware of Elvis’s infatuation with actress Debra Paget, Priscilla died her hair and had it cut to emulate that of his gorgeous co-star in his first film Love Me Tender (1956). It was common knowledge that the singer’s attraction to Priscilla had much to do with her similar appearance to Debra. During the making of his first film he had developed a huge crush on Miss Paget, an attraction that went unreciprocated because she was dating Howard Hughes at that time.
Elvis’s romantic dalliances, not surprisingly, started long before Priscilla arrived in Graceland. In 1956, one of Natalie Woods’ co-stars in Rebel without a Cause (1955), Nick Adams, introduced ‘the King’ to her and the couple dated for several months. Most of their friends expected eventual wedding bells, but both were focused on their acting careers. The relationship eventually stalled. That same year he and British bombshell Diana Dors commenced a five-month affair that Diana later revealed in the 1970s. She was married at the time of the affair. Actress/singer Connie Stevens also became involved with Elvis, albeit briefly. Former Deb Star Jana Lund played Daisy Bricker in Loving You (1957), and gave Presley his first screen kiss in that picture. The two dated from January to August that year. Lovely Dolores Hart portrayed Elvis’s girlfriend, Susan Jessup, in the film. Six years later Miss Hart would turn her back on Hollywood to become a nun. In 1958 she also appeared in King Creole.
Elvis & Judy Tyler in Jailhouse Rock (1957)
The third Presley film was Jailhouse Rock (1957) and starred him alongside pretty, twenty-four year old Judy Tyler who played his girlfriend Peggy Van Alden. Three days after filming completed, Judy and her husband of just three months were killed in a road accident in Wyoming. She never got to see the movie that made Elvis famous. It has been said that Elvis refused to watch the film because of Judy’s tragic death.
With Juliet Prowse in G I Blues (1960)
Inducted into the Army in 1958, Elvis was granted sixty days to complete King Creole, before being required to report for duty on its completion. G.I. Blues (1960) would be shot in California after his army stint ended. He and co-star Juliet Prowse enjoyed a steamy affair during filming. Despite the European locale, all his scenes were shot in Hollywood. ‘Elvis and I had an affair’, Juliet conceded. ‘We had a sexual attraction like two healthy young people, but he was always a victim of his fans. We always met in his room and never went out.’ She would briefly become the fiancée of Frank Sinatra later.
Elvis weds Priscilla in 1967
Sex kitten Tuesday Weld and Elvis had an off-set affair when they co-starred in Wild in the Country (1961). Priscilla was back at Graceland, still in her teens at the time. According to eye-witnesses, Elvis was spending a lot of money on Polaroid films he took of Priscilla and her girlfriends cavorting in their training bras! Interestingly, in the 1980s, both Tuesday Weld and Priscilla would have affairs with actor Richard Gere. Blue Hawaii (1961) would prove to be the second-biggest-grossing film of all the Elvis’s movies until Viva Las Vegas came along in 1964. Joan Blackman co-starred in Blue Hawaii and later reminisced: ‘Elvis really wanted me to be his wife, but I told him I was in love with the actor, Hampton Fancher III. But Elvis and I did have that, special something between us, so warm and wonderful, working on the film.’ The two would play romantic interests in Kid Galahad the following year. Ironically, when seventeen year-old Ellie Corbett (played by Jenny Maxwell) kissed Elvis’s character Chad, he became irate, telling her he does not rob cradles. ‘The King’ was involved off-screen with sixteen year-old Priscilla at the time. They would marry in 1967, the union lasting six years.
Jenny Maxwell, murder victim
On June 10, 1981, Jenny Maxwell and her estranged husband dined out and returned to his residence in Beverly Hills. Their relationship had been turbulent and by 1980 they had started divorce proceedings. Jenny was heading towards a ‘hefty’ settlement but it never eventuated. Someone shot the couple to death that same day. Her husband called for help but Jenny was already deceased with half her head blown away. Her husband died shortly afterwards and police later attributed the deaths to a botched robbery. Jenny was just thirty-nine years old. Their killer has never been found.
Elvis and Joan O’Brien in It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963)
Elvis and his co-star Joan O’Brien had a hot off-screen romance when they made It Happened at the World’s Fair in 1963. Similarly, actress Yvonne Craig (she played Dorothy Johnson in the picture), was dating Elvis prior to the start of filming and subsequently landed a role in this movie and in Kissin’ Cousins. (1964). TV fans probably remember her as the portrayer of Batgirl in the camp series of Batman (1966). Fun in Acapulco (1963) saw Elvis placed alongside Ursula Andress, fresh from her meteoric rise to stardom after Dr No (1962). All Elvis’s scenes were shot in Hollywood and Priscilla often visited the set, so he had his minders keep him away from Ursula, aware of her reputation as a man-eater. As for Mexican actress Elsa Cardenas, who played Dolores Gomez, she has declared that she was briefly his lover during filming.
With Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Viva Las Vegas (1964) introduced Ann-Margret to cinema audiences as an exciting and delectable superstar of the highest calibre. She and Elvis became an item for a long time, even after filming had concluded. She enjoyed riding motorbikes, as did Elvis, and kept calling him on the telephone for the next year, even though he was engaged to Priscilla and would ultimately marry her in 1967. Such was the success of this movie, Elvis and Ann-Margret headlined at various Vegas casinos and always drew large crowds whenever they performed there.
Elvis was pronounced dead at 3.30pm on August 16, 1977. He was forty-two. By this point he suffered from glaucoma, hypertension, liver damage and an enlarged colon, each magnified – and probably caused – by drug abuse. His latest fiancée Ginger Alden had found him unconscious on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion. The couple had been engaged since January, but friends of the singer vowed he had no intention of marrying again. He left Ginger nothing in his will. This may have been intentional or he might simply had not gotten around to it. She struck a $105,000 deal with the Enquirer for her story, but settled for considerably less when she broke her exclusivity agreement. Eighty thousand people lined the route to the cemetery where he was initially interred. His remains now rest at Graceland.