Graceland: Take a live virtual tour of Elvis' Memphis home
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Not many celebrities have lived with the unbelievable heights of fame that Elvis Presley did. The most successful solo artist of all time got by keeping his close inner circle, his Memphis Mafia, around him at his Graceland mansion home. And when he moved in, the star had a privacy wall with one-way mirrors installed on the upstairs landing, at the entrance to his private haven.
But despite Elvis living with incredible stardom, his father didn’t believe claims in the late 1970s that his son was a recluse.
Vernon Presley gave an interview just weeks before The King’s death for the posthumous 1977 TV special Elvis in Concert.
The CBS programme was broadcast on October 3, 1977, a couple of months after the star died of a heart attack at 42 on August 16.
In Vernon’s interview, given on June 22, Elvis father said: “I know he can’t go out like an ordinary person because people see him and, of course, they recognise him.”
Vernon added: “There’s been so many different news reports out that they’ve made him into a hermit type guy like Howard Hughes was supposed to be.
“I don’t know how all this stuff gets started but it’s not really true.”
In another vintage interview, Elvis’ girlfriend from 1972-76, Linda Thompson remembered how The King handled going out in public.
She said: “Dates with Elvis consisted of riding golf carts around Graceland or riding motorcycles or three-wheelers or going to movies.”
Linda continued: “He would rent an entire theatre out and show movies all night. And he enjoyed going rollerskating occasionally.
“He would rent the fairgrounds out, ride the rollercoaster 15 times in a row – that sort of thing.”
But when outside the gate of Graceland, Elvis would never disguise himself from his fans.
His former girlfriend said: “No, because he had his own walk and his own stance. There’s no way he could really disguise who he was. Not effectively.”
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Linda added: “We tried going out a few times shopping and we would make it halfway between the car and the door of the store.
“And people would be just all over us. They would converge immediately and we’d have to run back to the car. It was very difficult for him to get out like a normal person.”
But when asked what really bothered Elvis, she admitted that it was his loneliness in his stardom.
The Miss Tennessee model said: “He was an intensely lonely person at heart. He was so alone in his fame and his thoughts as we all are.”
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Linda would say to him how so many people love him, but Elvis didn’t think it was the same.
The King would reply: “You don’t understand, it’s not a personal love. They don’t know me, they don’t know what goes on inside me. What my thoughts are, what my feelings are, what my background is.
“They know what they’ve read and they love me and I appreciate that love but they don’t love me in a personal way.”
She added: “So it was important to him to have people around he felt did love him in a personal way.”
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