See the “Elvis” Cast Side by Side With Their Real-Life Counterparts
Rock-and-roll music legend Elvis Presley’s mark on music continues to reverberate in pop culture decades after his death in 1977. The musician’s life and impactful legacy is being explored in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming film, “Elvis.” The biopic centres around Presley (Austin Butler) and his relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). “Elvis” has Luhrmann’s creative, unique style, filled with musical numbers, over-the-top costumes, bright colours, and a cast that perfectly embodies the real-life characters intertwined in Presley’s extraordinary life.
A person of Presley’s fame and notoriety arguably had many connections throughout his life, and here are just some of the portrayals in the film alongside their real-life counterparts ahead of the film’s release on June 24.
Elvis Presley in Real Life
Presley was born in 1935 to parents Gladys and Vernon Presley. He grew up in Tupelo, MI, before moving to Memphis, TN, in 1948, according to Biography. The singer rose to fame after he was picked up by the Sun Records label in the summer of 1954, which is where he recorded his hit single, “That’s All Right.” Following the release of his singles, Presley started performing in a number of clubs alongside band members Scotty Moore and Bill Black, which helped him quickly become a local celebrity.
Just one year after his first gig with Sun Records, the singer signed a management contract with Hank Snow Management, making Colonel Tom Parker his manager. From then on, Presley cemented himself as a force in the world of music and earned several accolades, including Gold and Platinum records, Grammys, and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In addition to his music career, the musician also had a successful acting career, starring in over 30 films between 1956 and 1969, per IMDb. In 1967, he married Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he started dating in 1960. Together, the two had a daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968.
Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42 from a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription drugs, according to History.com.
Colonel Tom Parker in Real Life
Colonel Tom Parker was Elvis’s manager from 1955 until Presley’s death in 1977. In the years of their professional relationship, Parker collected more than half of Presley’s income, making him one of the highest-paid music managers at the time, as reported by Smooth Radio. As a manager, Parker was incredibly influential in making decisions for Presley, ranging from his acting roles to refusing to tour around the world, which was speculated to be because Parker was not a US Citizen, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Regarding Parker’s role in Presley’s life, Biography writes, “To build a longer-lasting career, Parker carefully managed Presley’s entry to the Army, oversaw his Hollywood film deals and, later, shaped his comeback in Las Vegas.”
Priscilla Presley in Real Life
Priscilla Beaulieu met Presley in Germany in 1959. At the time, Presley was in the army and stationed at a base in the country, which just so happened to be where Beaulieu’s father was also stationed, as reported by Biography. The two instantly fell for one another at the disapproval of Beaulieu’s parents because of their 10-year age gap: Presley was 24, Beaulieu was 14. The two kept in touch and they reconnected in 1962. That year, Beaulieu moved to Graceland, TN, to be with the rock-and-roll star, and five years later in 1967, she became Mrs. Presley. With Elvis, Presley had a daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1968. The couple remained married until their split in 1972, which was allegedly due to the singer’s frequent infidelity, per Closer Weekly.
Presley went on to have a successful career after her marriage to Elvis and is known for her acting in “Dallas” and “The Naked Gun.” Regarding her relationship with her late husband, she told People in 2021, “I loved taking care of Elvis very much. I loved tending to him. I loved feeding him. We would baby talk, because you have to have your own language when you have that many people around. It was a good life. It was different, but it was ours.”
Gladys Presley in Real Life
Gladys Presley was Presley’s incredibly supportive mother. As the musician was growing up, he was close with his mother. “My mama never let me out of her sight. I couldn’t go down to the creek with the other kids,” Elvis once said about her (via The Express). As Presley grew more famous over time, she had a difficult time acclimating to his stardom. This led Gladys to drink heavily and use diet pills, which led to her death in 1958. According to Smooth Radio, she died from a heart attack, though liver failure from frequent alcohol use was also a factor that led to her death.
B.B. King in Real Life
At the beginning of his music career, Presley drew inspiration from gospel and R&B music of the time, which included artists like B.B. King. Known as “The King of the Blues” for his incredible vocal style and smooth guitar riffs, King started his music career in the early 1950s while navigating various gigs on Beale Street in Memphis and working as a disc jockey, according to Biography. As Presley was launching his singing career in the mid-1950s, he and King often crossed paths, and the two grew close over the years. In King’s autobiography, the musician said he liked Presley and that, “I saw him as a fellow Mississippian. I was impressed by his sincerity,” he wrote (via Elvis Australia).
The blues singer went on to have a legendary music career, performing well into his 80s. King died in 2015 at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy that continues to impact artists today.