August 16 marks the 41st anniversary of the passing of “The King of Rock & Roll,” Elvis Presley. I remember early radio reports saying Elvis was suffering from colon cancer, but they were quickly eliminated from future coverage, which might explain the laundry list of drugs, as later reported, he used in relieving the pain of his worsening colon problems. He reportedly spent the last night of his life in his room, with daughter, Lisa Marie, then took a large amount of drugs and went into his bathroom to die. He was just 42.
Now, more than 40 years later, his wife, Priscilla Presley, has revealed in interviews, including in the HBO documentary, “Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” that she believes he planned his demise. Two years after the death of his longtime friend and road manager, Joe Esposito, new details surfaced. Allegedly, when Elvis died, his longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, sent Esposi- to to Graceland to clean up all remaining drug bottles and instructed him to take away a suicide note written by Elvis, which emerged last December. It said, “I’m sick and tired of my life, I need a long rest.” Elvis’ stepbrother, Rick Stanley, publicly admitted: “The handwritten note appears to be genuine to me. It’s a clear indication suicide was on his mind.”
If you wait long enough, when the people who suppress the truth pass on, the truth comes out, as it has with Marilyn Monroe and JFK’s deaths. The Colonel preferred to have us believe Elvis was a drug addict rather than lose the insurance money for the gigs he couldn’t play. From the times I met Elvis, I don’t believe he was sick of his life, but could no longer endure the pain and suffering from chronic constipation.
*** Winning an Oscar for “Three Billboards” has made Sam Rockwell as hot as a bonfire. In addition to the upcoming “Blaze,” for actor/ director Ethan Hawke, with Steve Zahn (out Sept. 7), and “Backseat,” with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Steve Carell (Dec. 14), he also has “The Best of Enemies,” with Taraji P. Henson; “Blue Iguana,” with Ben Schwartz; animated comedy “The One and Only Ivan,” with Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Bryan Cranston and Danny Devito; and “Jojo Rabbit,” with Scarlett Johansson, awaiting release dates. Rockwell also will play Bob Fosse, who won an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy in the same year (for “Cabaret,” “Pippin” and “Liza With a Z”) to Michelle Williams’ Gwen Verdon -- Lola in “Damn Yankees” (1958) and “Cocoon” 1985 -- in an as-yet-untitled eight episode FX limited series produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Fosse wrote and directed his autobiography, “All That Jazz” (1979), and as Robin Williams referenced in “The Birdcage,” “Fosse, Fosse, Fosse!”