Elvis proposed to Debra, his first co-star, because Priscilla resembled her.
ELVIS PRESLEY was smitten with Debra Paget, his first co-star, and proposed to her. She was “the most beautiful girl he had ever seen,” and the King never forgot her. He was so “infatuated” with her appearance that future co-stars Joan Blackman and Priscilla Presley resembled her.
Elvis Presley sang Love Me Tender in the tragic Western Love Me Tender 65 years ago this month. It was his first film, and the only one in which his on-screen brother Richard Egan did not receive main credit. It was his final appearance with his natural mid-brown hair, as well as the last time his character was killed off in a film. After it made his mother cry, Elvis swore it would never happen again, and film producers quickly realized that was not what the shouting fans in the theatre wanted to watch. The film also marked the beginning of a trend in which The King fell in love with his co-stars, but in this case, Debra Paget set the bar that all others would have to meet.
On the Milton Berle Show, Elvis met teenage actress and dancer Debra Paget. It was The King’s second appearance on the popular national television show, and critics and conservative viewers were outraged. In a now-iconic version of Hound Dog, the 21-year-old rising star had set down his guitar and displayed the world his distinctive dance routines for the first time.
He was dubbed “obscene” by outraged periodicals, who sought a boycott. Naturally, this catapulted the singer’s career to new heights. Debra, on the other hand, was too preoccupied with her own dance routine on the show to notice Elvis, not realizing that she would be performing alongside him in his debut film role just months later. She, on the other hand, willingly participated in a skit, pretending to yell with delight when they were introduced on stage.
Debra was already a well-known Hollywood actress at the age of 22, having appeared in 19 films. In the same year, she starred in Cecil B DeMille’s Biblical epic The Ten Commandments alongside Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner.
In Love Me Tender, there was no on-screen kiss, but instead a passionate look. Elvis made sure that the promotional photos included a passionate, lip-locked embrace. “Brinkwire Summary News,” he “reported.”