what was elvis like in person? (like the rest of us, only a few know)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.TWO QUORA QUES­TIONS an­swered in one day, both about Elvis. (Check out the pre­vious post on this site’s front page for the first ques­tion and my an­swer.) The ques­tion this time was,“What was Elvis Presley like in person?” This is a dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer for those of us who did not know the man per­son­ally during his life.

I chose to an­swer with an anec­dote about an­other per­son’s anec­dotal ac­count of their meeting Elvis way back when. My an­swer is the text be­tween the two im­ages below:


BlueHawaii mLP jacket

Elvis was polite and easily engaged

Thirty years ago, I lived in an apart­ment in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. I had two re­ally nice neigh­bors, Frank and Sandy. The latter had been in the hotel busi­ness for years, and told me his Elvis story: he was working at a re­ally swanky hotel in Hawaii when Presley was there in 1961 filming Blue Hawaii.

Sandy was not an Elvis fan. In fact, he pre­ferred pop vo­cals, old-fashioned jazz, and show tunes. The first time he met the young Elvis, the singer had been out all day and was di­sheveled, sweaty, and in a hurry. Sandy was not im­pressed, and it more or less con­firmed his dis­taste for rock & roll in gen­eral and Elvis Presley in particular.

A few days late, Sandy bumped into the singer in com­pletely dif­ferent cir­cum­stances and had a com­pletely op­po­site ex­pe­ri­ence: Elvis was po­lite, warm, friendly, and easily en­gaged. Sandy said he was per­haps the most charis­matic person that he had ever met—and Sandy had met plenty of movie and recording stars over the years!

In­ter­est­ingly, Sandy was sur­pris­ingly taken aback that Elvis was so at ease and playful with gays, a topic rarely dis­cussed among Presley fans and historians.


Elvis BlueHawaii movie ukelele 2 1500

FEA­TURED IMAGE: Joan Blackman and Elvis Presley in a scene from Blue Hawaii, filmed and re­leased in 1961. The movie and its music were big im­prove­ments over the pre­vious year’s movie and sound­track album, G.I. Blues. But both were light­weight and huge steps down from the music-based movies of the ’50s (Loving You, Jail­house Rock, and King Creole). Nonethe­less, Blue Hawaii sold lots tickets and records and made lots of money and laid the foun­da­tion for the next few years of Pres­ley’s career.




2 thoughts on “what was elvis like in person? (like the rest of us, only a few know)”

  1. As you say few of us know what he was like as the vast ma­jority of were never lucky enough to meet him.However after a life­time of reading about him it seems fair to say that very few people had any­thing bad to say about him.

    • D

      Agreed. When Sandy re­lated the story to me thirty some years ago, it was fun hearing and watching how much merely meeting Elvis changed his mind. Of course, it’s al­ways fun for me to listen to an­other person re­late how a fact or an event changed their pre­con­ceived no­tion of something.

      It’s even more fun when it hap­pens to me ...



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