Wild Stories Of Celebrities Interacting With Elvis Presley

History is full of those stories that just seem too larger-than-life to be true, and according to Dwight Chapin, he was up close and personal for one of the biggest pop culture stories of Richard Nixon's presidential term. He was Nixon's appointments secretary, and it's easy to see where this is going.

In a piece for Politico, he wrote that when someone first told him that Elvis Presley had left a note at the front gates, he was pretty sure someone was pulling a massive practical joke. It wasn't a joke: Elvis had gotten chatting with a California senator while they were on a flight to Washington, DC, and got it into his head that he wanted to meet the president and see what he could do about bringing an anti-drug message to the nation's youth. What else was he bringing? A gun ... to meet the president. A .45, to be precise, and after being vetted by the Secret Service, he was actually allowed to hold onto the weapon, which he'd decided would make a perfect gift.

Chapin wrote that "Presley was completely genuine and echoed the themes from his letter about wanting to help his country and do something about the drug problem." Elvis, he added, "was a little overwhelmed the first time he stepped into the Oval Office," but to be fair, so were the people who showed up to work that day not expecting to see Elvis. Nixon, admittedly, is pushing the definition of celebrity, but it's too great a story not to tell — just like these interactions with actual, bona fide celebrities.

Did Alice Cooper almost kill Elvis? Of course, and Liza Minelli was there, too

Alice Cooper, Chubby Checker, and Liza Minelli walk into a Las Vegas hotel room ... and no, that's not a joke, that's the start of a completely epic story that features Elvis Presley right in the center. Cooper told the story on an episode of "Never Mind the Buzzcocks," and did it also feature porn-actress-turned-anti-porn-advocate Linda Lovelace? Of course it did.

After calling Cooper, "the kid with the snake," Elvis took him into the kitchen, pulled a loaded .38 out of a drawer, handed it to Cooper, and said, "I'm gonna show you how to take this gun out of somebody's hand." Did it almost go horribly wrong? "There's a little devil on my shoulder here that says, 'Shoot him,'" Cooper said: "And a little angel over here that said, 'Don't kill him, just wound him.'" Elvis saved him the decision, dropped him, and stood on his neck.

Hilariously, Minnelli told her version of the story on "The Graham Norton Show," and said that he had also demonstrated some sick karate moves, much to the confusion of his guests — who were at this time just sort of hanging out together. "We're all kind of sitting there, and he disappears ... and suddenly, the door flies open, and I hear, 'Hiiiii-YAH!'" With that, Elvis burst into the room ahead of another man shouting, "Fiiiight!" Minnelli continued, "And all of us are going, 'Gee, that's ... great, just great. Wow! Do you do this every night?'"

Tom Jones was serenaded in the shower

Tom Jones is just as legendary as Elvis Presley, so what happens when they get together? Jones was on "The Graham Norton Show" when he shared a bit about their first meeting: It was 1965, they were on a film set, and Elvis started singing his song to him. "I thought, 'My God, if the boys back home could see me now!'"

It was far from a one-time meeting, and the two actually became really good friends. Jones spoke about that friendship on "Conan," including the time that Elvis tried really, really hard to pitch him a song. Someone had offered it to Elvis, Elvis thought it was a better fit for Jones, and the rest?

They were in Vegas — both were performing there — and when Jones got off-stage, Elvis approached him. Jones begged off for a brief, post-show shower, but Elvis wasn't dissuaded. "So, I got in the shower, and I was washing my hair, and I hear [singing]. And I'm thinking, 'My God! I'm hearing Elvis Presley in the shower now. I'm going nuts now.' So, when I got the soap out of my eyes, he was over the shower door." Jones got out of the shower to find Elvis availing himself of the bathroom's other facilities, and when he pointed out the absurdity of the situation, Elvis immediately called for his bodyguard to come in and help him back into his tight, leather pants, as he couldn't do it himself. Just when it couldn't get weirder.

Brian Wilson's attempt at karate

A meeting between Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys could have been pretty epic, but according to one man who had a front-row seat for the whole thing, it was anything but. In 2020, bandleader James Burton recounted the bizarre story (via Express), saying that it started because they happened to be in the same studio at the same time. Brian Wilson asked him for an introduction, and when he got it, Elvis didn't have the foggiest idea who he was. At first, he thought some random guy had just wandered into the studio, but still, in a testament to what kind of guy Elvis was, he agreed to go see what this weird stranger was doing in another part of the studio.

Wilson himself picked up the story in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, and it's extremely unfortunate that Fallon didn't push him for more details about this one. Attempting to break the ice a bit, Wilson lifted a hand in a faux karate chop. Elvis retaliated, hit him, and made it quite clear he was now wildly unhappy about the whole thing.

Elvis is, of course, pretty famously into karate in a big way, and left no room for uncertainty. "He karate chopped my arm so hard," Wilson said. "And he goes, 'I'm leavin', I'm leavin'!' and he split, and that was it!"

Elvis was Rita Moreno's revenge hook-up

When she was 22 years old, Rita Moreno met the man she referred to as the "lust of my life," and that man was Marlon Brando (pictured together). The two had a famously tumultuous relationship which spanned the two times he married other women. Moreno wrote (via the New York Post), "I was becoming addicted to the challenge of winning him over and over again," and in order to do that, she turned to other men.

Who better to make Brando jealous than Elvis Presley? Moreno talked about it on Fox News, saying that she'd reached a breaking point with Brando after finding him with someone else's lingerie. Shortly after, she got a call from the infamous Colonel Tom Parker, saying that Elvis had spotted her at the movie studios and wanted to meet her.

He wanted to know if she would be willing to meet him: "And I thought of that underwear, and I said, 'Yes, I would!' Marlon went crazy. He went crazy. He was throwing chairs. It was wonderful." Once she hooked up with Elvis, though, the experience wasn't quite what she had in mind. She wrote in her memoir that they would head back to his place after dates, but nothing went as far as she would have liked. "Whatever put the brakes on that famous pelvis, it ground to a halt at a certain point and that was it." Ultimately, she went back to Brando — albeit temporarily.

Elliot Gould was shockingly honest

It's kind of nice to think that even the most cool and confident people aren't always that way — and sometimes, awkwardness works out. The story goes that Barbra Streisand was auditioning for a Broadway production, then blurted out her phone number and asked someone — anyone — to let her know what was going on with the casting. It was the already-cast lead actor who called her, and she and Elliott Gould went on to become one of the era's most famous couples. 

Their marriage lasted for about eight years, and Gould has made it pretty clear that the subject isn't an easy or straightforward one. He's also said that of all people, it was Elvis Presley who he really lashed out at for bringing things up. In an interview with Fox News Digital in 2023, he recalled being star-struck over the chance to meet Elvis, and at first, it was everything he imagined. Until Elvis asked why he and Streisand split. His reply? "Shut up, Elvis."

Gould clarified that wasn't the end of the meeting, and said that he also gave him some very prophetic advice about how strict, watchful, and controlling Vernon Presley and Colonel Tom Parker were. Gould recalled telling him, "You're a cash cow to these people. Why don't you come out and just be free, just be a free spirit? Leave Elvis here, and come out and be free." Elvis, of course, didn't take his advice.

Steve Martin met Elvis ... and his guns

Steve Martin was on "The Howard Stern Show" when he shared a bit about meeting the King in 1971. It all started when he was the opening act for Ann-Margret, and Elvis was there more to see her than him. At the time, he was putting on a show that was a mix of magic and comedy, and while he was backstage, Martin said that he saw a woman first — not realizing it was Priscilla Presley — and then Elvis, who told him, "Son, you have an oblique sense of humor."

Martin says at some point, Elvis asked him if he'd like to see his guns. Taken aback a bit, he agreed: He pulled out a loaded, pearl-handled Derringer, which was quickly followed by more. The ever-safety-conscious star unloaded them first, at least: "Eventually, I'm holding three guns, and Elvis was holding 18 bullets," he laughed, and interjected, "But he was very sweet. ... And I got a very big compliment." What was that?

Apparently, one of Elvis's employees was there strictly to interrupt conversations and get him out of interactions, so he didn't have to break off from people and seem rude or short. Martin said the guy stepped in to do his thing, but Elvis waved him away and told him that he was fine. "So we kept talking, and I felt kind of blessed," Martin shared.

Elvis introduced Johnny Cash and June Carter

Assume that Elvis Presley never played to an empty house? Think again: According to what Johnny Cash wrote in his memoir, "Cash: The Autobiography," he was one of just about a dozen people who saw Elvis perform a live show at a place called the Eagle's Nest. Why? It was adults-only, and at the time, Elvis was for the kids. 

Long before that, though, Elvis was touring and playing small-time gigs alongside another young up-and-coming star named June Carter. Carter would later write (via Elvis Australia) about how every time they would stop at a bar or a restaurant, Elvis would play Cash on the jukebox — and he promised Carter that one day, he'd introduce them. He absolutely did, at the Grand Ole Opry in 1956. "I finally blurted out — I feel like I know you already. Elvis plays you on the jukebox all the time, and he can't tune his guitar without humming 'Cry, Cry, Cry,'" she would write.

The rest is rock romance history, and decades later, their son John Carter Cash would write his own autobiography (via Express), in which he claimed his mother always thought Cash was jealous of Elvis. Although she always maintained there was nothing untoward going on, that was the rumor — partially because Elvis would spend his post-tour R&R time with the Carter family. But the whole family was friends with Elvis: Carter's mother used to repair his on-stage outfits when he'd burst buttons dancing.

Did Jerry Lee Lewis try to kill Elvis?

Both Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley were among Sun Records' biggest names. They were in a core group that also included Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins, and colleague Johnny Cash wrote in his memoir, "Cash: The Autobiography," that whenever there was a conflict, it invariably involved Lewis. Still, the really wild stuff happened outside of the studio ... and as a precursor to that story, it feels important to mention that this was the same year that Lewis shot his own bass player under circumstances that have never been entirely confirmed. 

Lewis was asked about a 1976 incident in an interview and explained just how he came to be at Graceland, drunk, with a gun. Headlines will claim it was an attempt on Elvis's life, but Lewis tells a different story. He explained that, in hindsight, it was the final days of Elvis's life. 

He would call Lewis multiple times a day, asking to meet with him, and telling him about his depression, his loneliness, and his fear. "Why's Elvis Presley, being down and out and depressed?" Lewis says he asked himself. "I shunned him off, and I didn't go." Until, that is, the fateful night that he'd had too much to drink, decided to go see his old friend, and just also happened to have been gifted a pistol that very same night. Lewis hit the gate pulling in, Elvis's security called law enforcement, and Lewis was arrested. "It was embarrassing," he said.

When Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton were invited to hang out, it wasn't what they expected

In 1989, the Chicago Tribune traced the steps of an aging and increasingly isolated Elvis. They interviewed a bellman, who shared, "One day, Elvis said, 'I'd give a million dollars if I could be a bellman for just one week.'" When he asked the star why, he responded, "'Just so I could go downstairs and walk through the lobby.'"

And that's some important context for a wildly heartbreaking story that Pattie Boyd told in her memoir, "Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me." She wrote that she was on tour with Eric Clapton in 1974, when a stop in Memphis brought them into the circle of the King. On invitation, Boyd and Clapton "had a few drinks with Elvis, then went to see a film."

Yes, Elvis asked them to go to the movies with him, and Boyd said that he was "surrounded by henchmen, who stopped us as we made for the row Elvis was sitting in and told us to sit five rows back." They sat through a movie that was several decades old at that point, and when it was over, Elvis asked them if they wanted to go on with him to another theater and another movie. "We had visions of going from one [theater] to the next watching more boring fifties movies, so we made our excuses and left."

Anne Helm's shame at a fling with Elvis

Canadian actress Anne Helm starred alongside Elvis Presley in the 1962 movie "Follow That Dream."  That movie led to her romantic involvement with him, but according to Peter H. Brown's "Down at the End of Lonely Street," it ended as many of his relationships did: Once the movie wrapped, everything was different.

Helm explained: "Though I went on to see him for a while afterward, it was different. In Los Angeles, he had his chauffeur come and pick me up to bring me to his house, ... No longer did he knock at my door and bring me flowers." Those flowers, she said, were a powerful memory: They were filming in the middle of nowhere when he surprised her with a bouquet: "There certainly were no florist shops around. ... they looked as though he'd picked them himself."

Even then, Helm described him as being desperately lonely, but also as "so very, very sweet." They took long, nighttime drives, played cards until the sun came up, and he bought her lingerie that wasn't her style, but she wore it anyway. Helm said that she only realized a few things in hindsight, including his dependence on pills. After a confrontation that ended with Helm slamming his hand in a piano, their relationship was over. "I think there were a lot of tears in Elvis. And a lot of anger. But at the same time there was this enormous heart."

Without Elvis Presley, there might have been no Elvira

Who doesn't love Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? An entire generation had their late-night, horror-movie world shaped by the elaborately coifed lady in the long, black dress. Bizarrely, it's entirely possible that the world wouldn't have had Elvira if it wasn't for Elvis Presley, and that's according to Elvira herself, actress Cassandra Peterson.

She told Entertainment Weekly that one of her first jobs was as a Las Vegas showgirl. She was 17 years old when Elvis saw her perform, and one night he invited a whole group of people — including Peterson — back to his suite for a party. Peterson says they really hit it off, and although she did kiss him, that wasn't really the important part.

"I really do credit him with changing my life," she explained. As a teenager, she thought she had already hit the high point in her career, but said that it was Elvis who opened her eyes to the fact that there was so much more out there waiting for her. "Elvis convinced me that this was no town for a young girl to be in, by herself, and that it would not lead to bigger and better things, that if I really wanted to make it in show business, that I needed to get the hell out of Vegas. So, ... I started out as the youngest showgirl in Vegas, and, if it wasn't for Elvis, I would now be the oldest showgirl."

Dolores Hart's experiences with Elvis put him in a whole new light

Watch any of Elvis Presley's performances, and it's clear that he just oozes self-confidence and charisma. Dolores Hart says that nothing could really be farther from the truth, and she knows: She was the other half of his first on-screen kiss in "Loving You." In an interview with Fox News, Hart recalled some hilarious difficulties.

When the director almost immediately stopped filming, she shared, "He immediately asks for the makeup man to come over to fix me up. ... [Director] Hal [Kanter] tells me, 'Dolores, you're blushing in your ears. They're red. We need makeup.' I was so embarrassed!" She, apparently, wasn't the only one — on the next take, she said the same thing happened ... only this time, it was Elvis who was turning bright red. "We were just a couple of kids. But he was a simple and true man."

In another interview (via Elvis Australia), Hart reminisced a bit about her second movie with Elvis, saying that many of her memories were wildly, well, normal. She said that one of the most telling experiences she had with him was at their co-star's birthday party: Hart hosted a party for Jan Shepherd, saying, "Elvis came to the birthday party. I played the clarinet and Elvis sat down and played the piano. We played a few tunes for Jan's birthday. He was quite a gentleman, [with] a quality of simplicity, humor, and shyness about him."

Elvis's meeting with The Beatles was weird

What should have been an epic meeting between Elvis Presley and The Beatles was pretty awkward, and according to Elvis's friend Jerry Schilling (via Elvis Australia), Elvis got the ball rolling with the comment, "You know, if you guys are just going to sit there and stare at me, I'm going to bed." Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow said (via The Guardian) things got off to an even rockier start than that.

"John asked what had happened to the old rock and roll Elvis, who at that point was mainly singing the soundtracks to his films. He was half-joking, but he meant it." Barrow said the whole meeting was incredibly uncomfortable until Elvis waved in some guitars and everyone started playing together: "With words, they didn't have much to say. But as soon as they got into the music, the conversation began to spark."

Furthermore, Elvis and John Lennon apparently discovered they had something sort of surprising in common, and that was a love for "Dr. Strangelove." Schilling said that "Elvis loved crazy, almost absurd humor," and Lennon? That kind of goes without saying. The pair apparently shared moments where they quoted the film and did impressions, and Schilling said that it was a side of Elvis that not many people — aside from those who knew him best — ever got to see.

Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis were tight

When Elvis Presley staged his comeback shows in 1969, one famous face was front and center to support his friend — his longtime friend, Sammy Davis Jr.  In his memoir, "Why Me?: The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story," Davis wrote of connecting with Elvis over the fact that they were both fringe characters who were well-known for doing their own thing, and it was a friendship perhaps best summed up by the time that Elvis pitched him a movie role that they both really, really wanted to see come to fruition.

It was a movie called "The Defiant Ones," and although it would ultimately get made with Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, Elvis had wanted it to be the two of them. Davis said that they got the script, read it, and loved it. Still, worries started to set in: There were people who needed convincing. But what happened?

Davis said that it was Colonel Tom Parker who put an end to the idea, and when Elvis told him, he was heartbroken. "I saw the tears in his eyes and tried to comfort him," Davis wrote, and as they talked, he quickly found out that he wasn't upset because he thought he might be missing his chance to be a serious actor. "He started sobbing. 'It's not that. It's that you're my friend and ... " The reason? Parker didn't think Elvis's career would be helped by starring alongside a Black actor. 

Kurt Russell's first acting gig was kicking Elvis, and Elvis loved his dad

Kurt Russell is at the center of a Hollywood dynasty, from father Bing— who starred in "The Magnificent Seven" and "Bonanza" — to long-time partner Goldie Hawn and doppelganger son, Wyatt. While Kurt Russell may have hit it big playing Elvis, he also played alongside Elvis in one of his first roles. The movie was "It Happened at the World's Fair," and the kid kicking Elvis to try to help him meet a nurse? That's 10-year-old Russell.

They were really on location at the World's Fair, and Russell said (on "The Graham Norton Show") that thousands of women swarmed Elvis's limo. "And I thought, 'This guy must really be famous!'" In spite of all the fame and considerable chaos, though, Russell said that Elvis had been nothing but nice.

In another interview, he recalled the time Elvis saw him talking to his father. When Russell confirmed to him that it was, in fact, his father, Elvis asked for an introduction. "He comes over, and he was so polite, and he says, 'Mr. Russell ... you know, I don't mean to be forward or rude, but I've seen you in a lot of Westerns, and I love the way you wear your hat. And I wanted to ask you, if I ever do a Western, would it be okay if I wore my hat that way?'" Russell said that his father was absolutely floored — and honored.

Barbara Leigh was involved in a high-profile love affair with several men, including Elvis

For a long time, actress Barbara Leigh stayed silent regarding her long-running fling with Elvis Presley. It was only relatively recently that she explained (via Elvis Australia) that she had met him via her then-boyfriend and then-MGM president Jim Aubrey. It was 1970, and she acknowledged that he was very much married at the time. She said, "I didn't think about him being married or about the many, many other women in his life. ... I never asked him any questions, and he did likewise." 

In spite of that, she said that it was incredibly awkward when Elvis decided to visit her while she was filming "Junior Bonner," to find that she was seeing — and living with — Steve McQueen at the time. Was there conflict? Of course there was: "Elvis referred to Steve as 'that motorcycle hick,' while Steve referred to Elvis as 'that guitar hick.'"

Leigh says that they grew apart but kept in touch, and she also provided some insights into what he was really like behind closed doors: He had an obsession with mirrors and checking his reflection in every one he saw. He loved praying pranks on people, and hilariously, he "couldn't keep a secret to save his life." She added that he was also selfless, giving, thoughtful, and was happiest when he saw his friends' excitement when receiving some of the many, many gifts that he loved to give. And Leigh? She got a Mercedes.