Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - INTERVIEW -

When Elvis and Priscilla di­vorced in 1973, they made a joint ap­pear­ance in court and left the build­ing smil­ing, arm in arm.

Al­ways a re­li­gious man, Elvis be­lieved at times, usu­ally when drug-tak­ing heav­ily, that he could cure the sick. When one of his em­ployee’s chil­dren was un­well, he de­manded to be taken to his home, where he laid his hands on the child, who, to his de­light, re­cov­ered the next day.

Ac­cord­ing to his bi­og­ra­pher Ray Con­nolly, in a three-night spree in 1970, Elvis spent $20,000 in a gun shop, $10,000 on a deposit on a house for an em­ployee, an ad­di­tional fur­ther $10,000 on jew­ellery and a fur­ther $85,000 on 10 Mercedes bought as presents. When his wife and fa­ther con­fronted him about his spend­ing habits, he threw a tantrum and went AWOL. He was found at the White House, pitch­ing him­self to Richard Nixon as a fed­eral agent at large, charged with con­trol­ling the hippy drug cul­ture. He had gained en­trance by a hand­writ­ten note given to guards at the gate. Nixon gave him a spe­cial badge. When Priscilla left him for his karate teacher, he of­fered his se­cu­rity guards the gun he reg­u­larly used to shoot out ho­tel TVs, and urged them to as­sas­si­nate the man, or to track down a hired killer, which they did. Luck­ily, by this time, his tem­per had abated.

When his then seven-year-old daugh­ter Lisa Marie wanted a puppy, a trip to the pet store ended with Elvis buy­ing dogs for most of his ret­inue and their girl­friends.

In 1975, when Bar­bra Streisand was re­mak­ing A Star is Born, she of­fered the role of the male lead to Elvis, who turned it down.

Per­form­ing on the Ed Sul­li­van Show, Elvis was once cen­sored — filmed from the waist up in or­der to shield view­ers from his en­er­getic hip thrust­ing.

The Bea­tles once vis­ited Elvis’s home, a pri­vate visit; no press, no fans. Ini­tially, Elvis and the Bea­tles were shy of each other, but when Elvis brought out gui­tars and a piano, a rau­cous ses­sion en­sured.

Fig­ures es­ti­mate his al­bum sales at over 1 bil­lion.

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