August 16 marks the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley's death--and time hasn't lessened any interest in the American icon's legacy. Every year, hundreds of thousands of devotees descend on Elvis's Memphis estate Graceland to pay their respects to his life and work. Despite being gone for more than three decades, he still managed to generate around $60 million last year in revenue from royalties and licensing. Heck--he's even got a Facebook account, and it has more than 1 million fans!
It's a plain fact: America simply will never forget Elvis.
Given all this, by now even the most casual fan probably is familiar with a number of factoids and curiosities about The King. So, in memoriam, let's go beyond peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches and explore a few things you may not know about Elvis. I compiled this list with the help of my father-in-law, Larry Geller, who as Elvis's former hairstylist is full of anecdotes and little-known facts about the man and the legend.
--According to Robert Sillerman, former CEO of the company that owns 85% of Elvis Presley Enterprises, there are more than 84,000 performers whose principal occupation is impersonating Elvis.
--"Elvis" was the middle name of Vernon Presley, Elvis's father.
--The teenage Elvis signed his high-school friends' yearbooks with the name "Elvis Cat."
--Despite being the "King of Rock And Roll," Elvis never received Grammy recognition for any of his signature rock hits. He did win three Grammy awards over his career, but they were all for gospel recordings. He did, however, receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.
--Elvis played bass on his 1957 hit, "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care."
--Elvis never performed live outside of the United States, save five Canadian shows in 1957.
--After leaving the Army, Elvis made his first post-military appearance in 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a benefit concert in which all proceeds went to the USS Arizona Memorial building fund, honoring American sailors killed in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
--Elvis's friends noted that he loved pepper on his eggs--in fact, he often poured so much pepper on his omelet that it appeared black.
--Everyone knows about Elvis's iconic 1956 pink Cadillac. But did you know he also owned a nearly identical model in purple? Both cars are on display at the Graceland Museum.
--Andy Kaufman was one of the first Elvis impersonators.
--Comedian Johnny Carson once quipped, "If life was fair, Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators dead."
--Larry Geller was responsible for styling Elvis's hair for the sad occasion of his funeral. When setting about his task, he was startled to find that Elvis had half an inch of white-colored regrowth under his dyed black hair. Geller quickly improvised a touch-up job using a black mascara wand.
Still hankering for some more uncovered sides of the Elvis legacy? Check out this trailer for At The Gates: Elvis Presley Boulevard--a film exploring Elvis's spiritual evolution, heritage, and influence on devoted fans; containing interviews with close friends Geller (the author of three books about Elvis), George Klein (author of Elvis, My Best Man), Jerry Schilling (author of Me And A Guy Named Elvis), and more.