Elvis in Hollywood — It was The King of Rock ’n’ roll’s greatest dream to become a movie star. But Elvis soon learned that acting was much more challenging that singing. As a singer, Presley personally called the shots, both in the recording studio and on stage. As an actor, though, others—producers, directors, writers—were in control, and the young actor felt compelled to travel the road they mapped out for him.
“I’ve talked to veteran actors,” Elvis said in a 1956 interview. “I’ve talked to a lot of producers and directors in Hollywood, and they all give you advice … they told me that I had good possibilities.” Still, he knew he needed guidance in his budding film career. “I have never read a line,” he admitted, “I never studied acting, never been in any plays or anything—I just got out there.” And yet he looked forward to the challenge. “I think I’m gonna enjoy it. I really do,” he predicted.
Over the next 11 years for Elvis in Hollywood, there were ups and downs as he starred in 31 theatrical films. Although his movie career is generally association with producer Hal Wallis at Paramount, where he appeared in 9 films, Presley actually made more pictures for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Starting with Jailhouse Rock in 1957 and ending with The Trouble with Girls in 1969, Elvis appeared in 12 films for MGM. The studio also produced Presley’s 2 documentary films in the early ’70s.
Considering that Presley worked with hundreds of producers, directors, costars, and other film people during those years, it’s not surprising that stories abound about Elvis in Hollywood. Choose from the links below to learn more about Elvis in Hollywood. — Alan Hanson
• Elvis's Hollywood Legacy: Some Hollywood film analysts have been reassessing Elvis Presley’s films.
• Elvis's Best Movies by Year: What if Elvis had made only one film per year?
• Elvis Movie Memories: Recalling the joy of seeing Presley's movies in the sixties.
Behind the Scenes …
• A Loving You Interview: Columnist Dick Williams talked with Elvis over lunch in 1957.
• Jailhouse Rock Chronicles: Controversies created by the release of Elvis's third film.
• Girl Happy Revisited: Taking another look at Elvis's 1965 MGM feature.
• Tickle Me: The Elvis movie that saved a Hollywood studio.
• Debra Paget: What she learned about Elvis in 1956.
• Lizabeth Scott: The careers of Loving You costars Presley and Scott were headed in different directions in 1957.
• Judy Tyler: Elvis’s Ill-fated leading lady in Jailhouse Rock.
• Juliet Prowse: Her role with Elvis was her big break in Hollywood.
• Tuesday Weld: A free spirit passed through Elvis's life.
• Anne Helm: She had Elvis all to herself in Crystal River, Florida.
• Laurel Goodwin: Elvis's love interest in Girls! Girls! Girls!
• Ann-Margret: A Viva Las Vegas Love Story.
• Nancy Sinatra: A Shaky Romance with Elvis in Speedway.
• Mary Tyler Moore: Elvis's last leading lady.
• Millie Perkins: Elvis's girlfriend in Wild in the Country.
Cast and Crew
• Flaming Star: Director Don Siegel recalls the making of Elvis's sixth film.
• Jane Elliot: The young actress connected with Elvis in Change of Habit.
• Colonel Parker's Role in Elvis's Film Career: Let's stop blaming the Colonel for Elvis's disappointing movies.