During his illustrious career, Elvis Presley was known for his popular live performances while on tour, as well as his appearances in campy, comedic music shows such as Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Blue Hawaii (1961).
However, according to many of those closest to him, Presley had a desire to sink his teeth into more challenging dramatic careers. His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was not always willing to change the King’s repertoire.
In her 2016 memoir, A little life called life, Linda Thompson – dated Presley from 1972 to 1976, following his separation from Priscilla Presley – revealed that Barbra Streisand was interested in playing with Presley in A star is born (1976).
Thomson said Presley’s manager sometimes ‘held him back’
Thomson described Presley as “Presley’s close companion” in their nearly five-year relationship. She both toured and lived with the King of Rock and Roll, growing up close to several Presley family members and members of the entourage (the Memphis Mafia) while living at Graceland.
During this time, Thomson developed a deeper understanding of the fascinating ideas about Presley’s prestigious course in music and film. And while Presley had a strong relationship with Colonel Parker, his longtime manager, she said his way of governing may have hindered the King at times.
“I got the specific impression that the Colonel may have held back Elvis in later years,” Thompson wrote in his memoir. “And I think Elvis was aware of this, whether he wanted to admit it or not. ”
For example, Thompson pointed out, Presley was always keen to expand his reach by touring Asia and Europe. But Parker always denied his requests. There have long been rumors that Parker (born in Holland) refused to travel internationally with Presley due to a lack of accusation of U.S. citizenship – and therefore was unable to obtain a passport.
His manager reportedly turned down his potential job in the face of Streisand
Of course, Presley was not a co-star in the end A star is born by Streisand – who won wildly at the box office, was nominated for four Academy Awards (and took home one, for best original song), and later became famous in 2018 with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga . Instead, Kris Kristofferson landed.
It was Colonel Parker, Thompson said, who “negatively evaluated” the film’s potential. ”He was concerned about Presley, heart and image, playing a suicidal musician, believing he would take away fame among fans.
“From what Elvis told me,” Thompson wrote, “the Colonel thought it was a bad idea for Elvis to play a character that some would see as a loss, claiming that Elvis had an image to keep up. ”
According to Thompson, losing that opportunity was a real blow to Presley. She wrote that it was “a real disappointment for Elvis” not to be able to find a show for his true acting ability – and to set his teeth in a more challenging position than ever – “opposite the incomparable Barbra Streisand. ”