Elvis Presley: Graceland expert reveals Nashville hotspots
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The King of Rock n Roll was filming Clambake and staying in Bel Air, Los Angeles at the time. In the dead of night, on this day, March 9, in 1967, Elvis Presley got out of bed and ventured to the bathroom – but tripped over a TV cord on his way. The star fell headfirst and hit his head on the porcelain bathtub.
Elvis was knocked out cold and laid on the floor for an “indeterminable” amount of time.
Eventually he woke up and started shouting about his injury, waking up his girlfriend at the time, Priscilla Beaulieu, who was in the bedroom.
The star cradled a “golf ball-sized” lump on his head while he waited for doctors to arrive.
The doctors returned the following day with a portable X-ray machine to determine if the King had injured his skull.
According to Doctor Forest Tennant, MD, who wrote a report on the star’s health, Elvis said at the time: “I think I really did hurt myself.”
The following day Elvis was “out of it”. His aides described his mood as “despondent”.
The doctor’s report also claimed the King saw his “deceased mother standing in her old bedroom” when he returned to Graceland.
Although the injury shocked Elvis and everyone around him, he did not have any fractures in his skull.
Despite this, the event did cause a delay in the start of production for his movie, Clambake.
Elvis Presley 'captured alive' in 1978 poolside photo
Elvis’ boss and cohort Colonel Tom Parker reprimanded the Memphis Mafia for the incident.
He also forced Elvis to burn his new age religious books and mysticism-focussed texts.
Colonel Tom did this in an attempt to shift his image from playboy to sensible married man.
Years later, Californian physician Tennant determined this head injury may have caused a collection of the King’s ailments and might have contributed to his death.
In the years leading up to Elvis’ death the star complained of vertigo, back pain, insomnia, eye infections, headaches, and more.
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In 1973 the Jailhouse Rock singer was rushed to hospital with jaundice, which ultimately put him in a “semi-coma”.
The star was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and hepatitis.
Tennant claimed these injuries and illnesses were caused by brain tissue becoming dislodged when he hit his head on the bathtub, before it “seeped into his blood circulation”.
His body then identified this brain matter as an illness, producing antibodies to destroy it, triggering an immune disorder called “hypogammaglobulinemia”.
Tennant added that this immune disorder would explain a number of the King’s ailments, including minor and chronic pain in his liver, lungs, heart, spine, and bowels – all of which he had complained of before his death.
Elvis died on August 16, 1977 at his home in Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee.
The star was found slumped in front of his toilet by his fiancée at the time, Linda Thompson.
In her autobiography Linda described the scene: “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the toilet and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it.
“It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.”
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