SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Elvis Presley may have left the building nearly 33 years ago, but a raft of new events and books released this week to mark what would have been his 75th birthday ensure The King lives on — and so do his earnings.
Presley, who died in August 1977 aged 42, is one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in $55 million in 2009 according to Forbes.com and marketed by Elvis Presley Enterprises which entertainment mogul Robert Sillerman revitalized in 2005.
His birthday, on January 8, will be marked with a cake-cutting ceremony at his Graceland home, a new exhibit of his costumes, movie marathons, a Facebook application, a cruise later in the year, and a new Jailhouse Rock doll in the Barbie collection.
Around the world other events are being held to mark the day, such as a gathering in the Australian town of Parkes where Elvis impersonators will don lame suits and perfect quiffs for an annual Elvis Festival despite temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius.
Three new books about the singer, whose life has been scrutinized in up to 50 other books, will also add fuel to the marketing flame in whose spotlight Presley remains young, hazing over his final years of battling poor health and weight gain.
Author Alanna Nash examined the role of the women in her fourth book on Presley, “Baby, Let’s Play House,” concluding an unhealthy bond with his mother, Gladys, and the loss of a stillborn twin brother set him up for doomed relationships.
“I think what he wanted from a women was to be mothered but he only went out with younger women so that never happened,” Nash told Reuters after interviewing a list of lovers, friends, co-stars ad family members for her book.
“But what really surprised me was that I found he remained emotionally aged about 15 to 17. I think this is why he continued to like 14-year-old girls and found a lot of happiness in mentoring them. He was stuck as a teenager himself.”
George Klein, a DJ and TV host who outlines his friendship with Presley from 8th grade at school in “Elvis: My Best Man,” said the importance of Presley’s mother in his life could not be underestimated.
“She had a tremendous power over him. She was the reason he was so polite and such a gentleman. Elvis loved her to death and never argued with her. They had a tremendous bond,” said Klein.
Presley’s mother died in 1958 at the age of 46.
A third new book, “The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened To Elvis And Me,” is by Dr George Nichopoulos, also known as Dr. Nick, who was Presley’s personal physician for 11 years. The book is written with Rose Clayton Phillips.
Dr. Nick was in the spotlight after Presley’s death from heart problems after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs. He had his license permanently suspended in 1995 after a medical board found he had overprescribed to numerous patients for years.
Both Nash and Klein said his death was premature.
“It was a shame he didn’t pay more attention to his health and his diet. I don’t think he would have ever got off his prescriptions drugs but he could have lived longer if he had improved his diet,” said Nash.
Klein believes that Presley would never had died so young had his mother been around, saying the two people that had most to lose — his manager “Colonel” Tom Parker and his father Vernon who worked for Elvis — failed to help him.
“His father was scared Elvis would fire him or kick him out while Colonel Parker was all about making money. They kept their mouths shut and did not step up to help Elvis, not wanting to get into a confrontation with him and be cut off,” said Klein.
“It would have been different if his mother had been there.”
Editing by Sugita Katyal