HOLLYWOOD—It’s hard to believe that on August 16, 2021, marked 44 years since the passing of Elvis Presley. Presley was discovered dead in his Graceland mansion, found motionless on a bathroom floor by his then 22-year-old girlfriend, Ginger Alden. Elvis became the biggest star in the world in the 1950s, and continued topping charts and making movies into the 60s.
His voice and image remain as instantly recognizable as then. His anniversary of his death, August 16, 1977, at the age of 42, is marked every year by fans at a series of events at Graceland. Elvis is known as the “King of Rock and Roll.” Fans of Elvis are truly faithful, they attend the annual candlelight vigil outside his home at Graceland on August 15, with a remembrance that leads into the anniversary the next day.
Priscilla Presley, who recently lost her beloved mother, greeted fans of her late husband at the candlelight vigil. The name Elvis, also spells “Lives,” and that he does, continue to live in the hearts of millions of fans.
Elvis was unique, one of a kind. Only in history, the police salute a President, yet the day of his funeral back in 1977, the police saluted a legend. It was a day the world stood still. There might not be a celebrity death more clouded in suspicion, rumor or mystery than Elvis Presley’s. The mystery and debate of what truly happened still rages on, more than four decades later.
You might recall, that Tennessee’s chief medical examiner at the time, Jerry Francisco, wrote on his death report that the cause was Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease, essentially meaning Presley suffered a heart attack or heart failure. Elvis was alone for the last four hours of his life. At around 9:30 a.m. on August 16, 1977, he got ready for bed and went to the bathroom.
The musician had taken pain killers for severe tooth ache and three different packages of prescription pills. Dressed in gold pajamas, he took the book Frank Adams’ “The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus” with him. Elvis many times would spend long periods in the bathroom. Sometimes for reasons of constipation, other for just solitude. It was his usual time, since he spent the night entertaining guests and family.
While others say the drug use contributed to his death, according to published reports. A 1980 People magazine article reported that Presley’s stepbrother said he abused prescription drugs and felt he had an enormous amount in his system at the time of his death. So many theories-and the information released officially-are all people have to go on, because his father Vernon Presley, sealed the official autopsy report for 50 years.
So in 2027, the 50th anniversary of Elvis’s death, his official autopsy report will be made public. Will that day bring closure? Until then, not only will theories surface of how he died, but adoring fans might even insist he is still alive.
Some say, he went into a witness protection program, with sightings of him in a supermarket in Mississippi, a parking lot in Las Vegas, and others saying that he faked his own death and is living under a different name, according to a published report in Newsweek. Elvis starred in over 30 films, not including TV concert series.
One of his co-stars Ann Margaret, in 2020 said, she and Elvis were soulmates. They remained friends throughout their lives, until his death. She was one of the only celebrities to attend his funeral-with her husband Roger Smith.
Another co-star, Nancy Sinatra, wrote on Twitter on August 16, 2021, a touching tweet of how much she missed her friend. She posted a picture of them together in the 1968 musical “Speedway,” where Elvis starred as a racecar driver and Nancy (in her last film role to date) as his romantic interest. I would love to see Nancy Sinatra in another film.
Rose’s Scoop: Ann Margaret stars in her latest film “Queen Bees,” a romantic comedy released on June 2021.