Elvis the underage sex predator: Laid bare in a string of interviews

Elvis the underage sex predator: Laid bare in a string of interviews, the King’s disturbing obsession with very young girls — which his stepbrother even claims led him to take his own life, writes CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

When Elvis Presley cracked a joke, funny or not, his gang of bodyguards and hangers-on would howl with laughter.

A favourite one-liner — a gag he repeated throughout his life — was ‘Fourteen will get you 20!’

He meant that, if he was found having sex with a 14-year-old girl, he faced 20 years in prison. But that threat didn’t stop him having a constant stream of sexual relationships with teenagers, from the early days of his fame in the 1950s right up to his death, aged 42.

The impossibility of lasting love, as well as the guilt of having sex with under-age girls, drove him to despair — and, according to the man who knew him best, became so unbearable that he killed himself.

Now a three-part Amazon documentary, Elvis’s Women, exposes his predatory behaviour. This could be the #MeToo moment that destroys the Elvis legacy.

A favourite one-liner — a gag he repeated throughout his life — was ‘Fourteen will get you 20!’

But that threat didn’t stop him having a constant stream of sexual relationships with teenagers, from the early days of his fame in the 1950s right up to his death, aged 42

For many of the women interviewed, the King of rock ‘n’ roll was their first love. Some lost their virginity to him, often after only a handful of dates. All believed him when he told them his love for them was special, different to anything he had ever felt before. Some still cling to that belief today.

Letitia Kirk, who was his nurse throughout the 1970s, said she saw so many teenage girls brought to his Tennessee mansion by his entourage that she lost count.

One man, the DJ George Klein, was his ‘pimp,’ she says, ‘bringing these little young teenagers up for Elvis to check out. It was a revolving door. I didn’t even try to learn their names. Too much for me.’

Often the gang around Elvis, known as the Memphis Mafia, had to go no further than the gates of Graceland, where gaggles of young fans would hang around. They’d pick out one who was young and pretty, and invite her inside to meet her idol.

Kathy Tatum was 16 when the ‘mafia’ singled her out in 1969. Elvis was 34 and had just become a father for the first time. At first, he simply cuddled, nuzzled and kissed her, showering her with compliments. But soon he was taking her to a pair of motel rooms he rented permanently.

She began playing truant from school so she could be with him every day. Elvis didn’t want full sex, she said, but he would fondle her constantly as he talked with friends in the room.

For many of the women interviewed, the King of rock ‘n’ roll was their first love

He promised to marry her, if she would wait a few years until he could get a divorce — but she realised he would lose interest in her when she was no longer a teen.

Other schoolgirls had a much more starry-eyed vision of the King, and were traumatised when he shattered their illusions.

Kay Wheeler was 16 when she saw Elvis on TV for the first time in 1956. Smitten, she started a fan club in her native Texas, despite the disapproval of adults who considered his gyrating dance moves indecent.

‘We were ready for him — we were ladies-in-waiting,’ she said.

As the club swelled to become a nationwide organisation, Kay was invited to meet Elvis at a press conference in San Antonio.

When she was shown into his dressing room, Elvis, then 22, put his arms about her immediately. ‘He started being all friendly, and kissing and holdy,’ she said. ‘You wanna run for your life because you know you’re in danger.’

A photo from the press conference shows his arms around her from behind. When a reporter asked if he had any plans to marry, Elvis replied: ‘Why buy a cow when you can milk it through the fence?’

Later, Kay was shown to a hotel room and told to wait. She began to panic and tried to leave — only to hear the singer shouting after her: ‘Where are you going?’ He grabbed hold of her and started to bump and grind against her legs and back, doing the same moves he performed on stage.

‘He came on like Godzilla,’ she said. ‘Elvis Presley was the most dangerous thing to any woman that could be conceived of.’

Jackie Rowland had a similar, unnerving experience — with her own mother present. She was just 13 when she saw Elvis on TV and developed a crush.

Seriously overweight at nearly 14 st, she made a pact with her mother: if she lost weight, her parents would take her to see her idol in concert. ‘I went on the Elvis Love Diet and lost 80lb in a year,’ she said.

Her mother wrote to Elvis, to tell him the effect he’d had on Jackie, and the family were thrilled to receive an invitation to meet the star with his own parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley. They could not have imagined Mrs Presley knew about her son’s predilection for teenagers and liked to keep a close eye on potential girlfriends.

When the two families met, Elvis pulled Jackie close at once, nibbling her ear and licking her neck.

‘I told him to stop,’ she recounted, ‘and he said: ‘Oh Mrs Rowland, what is the matter with your daughter? She is not normal.’

Gladys clearly approved of Jackie, because she invited her to live with them. That idea was dropped when Jackie’s grandfather, a police officer, intervened, reminding the Presleys that molesting a minor carried a jail term.

Jackie was secretly relieved: Elvis was using amphetamines to help him cope with a frantic schedule of performances, and the pills aggravated a temper that was already on a hair trigger. Within months, he had met Frances Forbes, also 14, who became one of his regular girlfriends for the next five years.

Dark-haired like his mother, Elvis called her ‘Little’, a favourite nickname for numerous girls, and his ‘brown-eyed baby’.

‘I was very small,’ she said. ‘He was attracted to younger girls and 14 was the magic age: 13 was too young, he said. He wasn’t really grown-up, he was a childlike man, very temperamental and spoiled.’

His official girlfriend in the 1950s was singer and actress Anita Wood, who had a radio show called Antics Of Anita. She was paraded before the Press, but Elvis did not have sex with her, at least in the early part of the relationship: he said he wanted her to remain a virgin until they were married.

Her talent, combined with the fame of being Elvis’s rumoured fiancee, landed her a Hollywood contract, something that roused Elvis’s jealousy.

Unable to bear the thought of her kissing other men on screen, he begged her to abandon her career and return to Tennessee. When her plane touched down, he was waiting on the Tarmac for her. His disturbing nickname for Anita was ‘Little Mother’, reflecting his suffocating relationship with his own mother, an alcoholic.

Graceland had been bought as the home he could share with his mother, and when she died, aged 46 in 1958, probably from cirrhosis of the liver, she was buried in the grounds of the house.

Several years later, Hollywood High schoolgirl Nancy Czar was flattered to be wooed by Elvis and invited to visit Graceland.

Though just 17 and a virgin, she allowed herself to be led upstairs to his bedroom — only to recoil when she saw the photo of his mother’s grave over his bed.

‘Now if that’s not enough to turn a young girl off, I don’t know what is,’ she said. ‘It’s one thing to have a photo of your dead mother, but her tombstone? I walked out, and that was the end of the romance.’ By then, Elvis had completed two years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, where he’d met two teenagers who became his lovers.

Elisabeth Mansfield was 19 and knew that her position was far from exclusive. ‘Elvis had a lot of girlfriends. I was one. He was my first love but if I complained, I might as well have packed my suitcase. It was painful for me. I had feelings, but I knew that’s how it was.’

Elvis would often have sex with two or three women a night. Elisabeth would go to bed with him, then return to her room next door and hear him with another girl through the wall.

When she first saw 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu — the daughter of a U.S. air force officer — Elisabeth assumed the girl was too young to be attractive to Elvis. She was wrong: Priscilla bore an uncanny resemblance to a young Gladys, and Elvis was instantly besotted. After he returned to America, Priscilla joined him, moving in to Graceland with him.

They were married in Las Vegas in 1967 when she was 21. Nine months later to the day, their only daughter, Lisa Marie (who died earlier this year) was born. To biographer Alanna Nash, ‘the age of 14 was everything to Elvis’.

When he was 16 and in love for the first time, he was dumped by his 14-year-old girlfriend. This was compounded with his unhealthy relationship with his controlling, physically demonstrative mother.

‘He got stuck from that childhood incident and couldn’t get beyond it,’ believes Nash. ‘In this day and age, he’d be sharing a cell with R. Kelly’ [the R&B singer jailed for more than 20 years for sexual misconduct with minors].

Elvis’s army buddy Currie Grant had a simpler explanation: ‘He liked young girls because he could control them, and he controlled the parents because of his fame.’

Elvis continued to abuse young teenagers, including Reeca Smith Gossan, who was 14 when she was approached by one of the Presley posse and invited to take a ride in his white Cadillac in 1974, when Elvis was 39.

He took her shopping, buying clothes worth $3,000 (£14,500 today) including a coat studded with rhinestones. Then they went back to Graceland, where he took her to a basement room, and kissed and fondled her for hours.

‘What I like about you is it kind of takes me back to my childhood, where I can be innocent and feel young again,’ he told her. ‘You’re not putting me up to be this entertainer superstar, you’re just treating me as a normal person.’

To thank her, and to impress her parents, he bought her a Pontiac Trans Am. She was two years under the legal age for driving, which was 16 in Tennessee. Yet Elvis’s relationship with older girlfriends was also troubling in a different way.

Linda Thompson, a former Miss Tennessee, was 22 — 15 years his junior —when they met.

‘I represented his mother to him,’ she said, adding that for four years she watched over him during his drug binges, even sleeping with a hand by his mouth so she could feel him breathing.

When he met his final girlfriend, Ginger Alden, in 1977, he started talking about marriage within a week. She was just 20.

He treated her as a servant: once, when she refused to get out of bed to fetch him some yoghurt, he picked up a .45 Magnum and put a bullet through the headboard.

Elvis’s stepbrother, David Stanley, one of the entourage throughout the 1970s, said: ‘His taste for young girls, aged 15 or 16, made me sick. I told him that it’s a miracle he didn’t get busted. He got away with things most people didn’t, because of his money, fortune, fame and power, charisma and magnetism. Elvis could talk the socks off you.’

Stanley was at Graceland on the day in August 1977 that Elvis died, aged 42, from a heart attack brought on by a drug overdose.

He believes his stepbrother took his own life, afraid that his obsession with under-age girls was about to be exposed in a book, and tormented by his guilt at betraying so many lovers.

‘I believe he just couldn’t go on,’ said Stanley. ‘He premeditated taking the medications that killed him. Love, hurt, pain, exposure — he just couldn’t take it any more.’

Elvis’s Women is streaming on Amazon Prime 

Source: Read Full Article