Six Degrees of Elvis Presley

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is one of the most well-connected celebrities.

Of course, Elvis worked with some of the most influential and legendary artists of his day, including Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Perkins, Ann-Margaret, Jerry Lee Lewis, Angela Lansbury, and many, many others.

It’s through those connections that you can connect Elvis to today’s biggest actors and singers. Naturally, there are countless connections to be made – but here are just a few of our favorites.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll loved comic books, and he’d probably be amused that he’s just a few degrees from today’s biggest comic book superhero movie stars.

Actor Kurt Russell appears briefly in Elvis’ 1963 film “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” and Russell has enjoyed a lengthy career. In 2017 he starred in the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” alongside stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper – putting them all just two degrees away from Elvis.

Cooper stars in and directs the new hit musical “A Star is Born” with Lady Gaga, putting Gaga only three degrees from the king.

This was actor Kurt Russell's first movie. He went on to star in movies such as "Silkwood," "Overboard," "Tombstone," "The Hateful Eight" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

“It Happened at the World’s Fair” was actor Kurt Russell’s first movie.

 

Thanks to the Kurt Russell connection, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker and Karen Gillian are just a few degrees from the king.

Thanks to the Kurt Russell connection, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker and Karen Gillian are just a few degrees from the king.

Actor and dancer Russ Tamblyn served as an uncredited choreography advisor for “Jailhouse Rock.” Tamblyn’s daughter, Amber, is an actress and has starred in films like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “The Ring” and “127 Hours,” plus TV shows like “Joan of Acadia,” “General Hospital” and “Two and a Half Men.” That puts Amber at just two degrees from the king.

Actor and dancer Russ Tamblyn worked as a choreographer on "Jailhouse Rock." Tamblyn went on to star as Riff in "West Side Story" and has worked on the TV show "Twin Peaks."

Actor and dancer Russ Tamblyn worked as a choreographer on “Jailhouse Rock.” Tamblyn went on to star as Riff in “West Side Story” and has worked on the TV show “Twin Peaks.”

 

Actress Amber Tamblyn, whose father choreographed "Jailhouse Rock," has starred in films like "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and "The Ring." On the small screen, she's starred in "General Hospital" and "Joan of Arcadia."

Actress Amber Tamblyn, whose father choreographed “Jailhouse Rock,” has starred in films like “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and “The Ring.” On the small screen, she’s starred in “General Hospital” and “Joan of Arcadia.”

The legendary Angela Lansbury starred in “Blue Hawaii” as Elvis’ character’s mom – even though Lansbury was just 10 years older than the king. Lansbury is still working; in fact, she’ll star in the upcoming “Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. That, too, puts those stars at just two degrees away from the king.

At Elvis Week 2018, Dr. Emily "Cissy" Houston shared her memories of singing with Elvis.

At Elvis Week 2018, Dr. Emily “Cissy” Houston shared her memories of singing with Elvis.

Another star with just two degrees from Elvis is Whitney Houston.

The legendary singer’s mother, Cissy Houston, sang back-up for Elvis as a member of The Sweet Inspirations. (She also sings on the new Elvis gospel record, “Where No One Stands Alone.”)

On August 28, 1971, Elvis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from, left to right, NARAS official Gene Merlin, Bing Crosby's nephew Chris Crosby and Bill Cole. This photo was taken in Elvis' dressing room in Las Vegas.

On August 28, 1971, Elvis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from, left to right, NARAS official Gene Merlin, Bing Crosby’s nephew Chris Crosby and Bill Cole. This photo was taken in Elvis’ dressing room in Las Vegas.

Actor George Clooney also has family connections to the king. George Clooney is the nephew of the legendary actress and singer Rosemary Clooney, and she starred in “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby. Elvis has two connections to Crosby’s family: Crosby’s nephew Chris Crosby presented Elvis with the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972, and Bing’s son Gary starred with Elvis in “Girl Happy.” George and Elvis are four degrees apart, whether you use Crosby’s son or nephew as a connection.

Wanna play “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” with Elvis? Elvis has a “Bacon number” of two: Elvis starred in two movies with Ed Asner – “Change of Habit” and “Kid Galahad.” Asner starred in “JFK” with Kevin Bacon.

"Change of Habit" was the second time Elvis worked with the legendary actor Ed Asner. They also worked together in "Kid Galahad."

“Change of Habit” was the second time Elvis worked with the legendary actor Ed Asner. They also worked together in “Kid Galahad.”

As you can imagine, there are even more connections. Stay tuned – we’ll post part 2 of this blog soon.

In the meantime, celebrate Elvis, his incredible career and the influence he continues to have on today’s artists when you visit Graceland! Be sure to check out the ICONS: The Influence of Elvis Presley exhibit, which features artifacts from stars who have been inspired by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. You’ll find artifacts from artists like Elton John, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, KISS, John Lennon, Joan Jett and many more.

What are some of your favorite Elvis connections? Share them in the comments!


8 Comments

  1. Joe Makowski

    It Happened at the World’s Fair was released in 1963 also never saw the correction from Elvis Week 2017 Frankie and Johnny was not his shortest movie.Viva Las Vegas and Harum Scarum were shorter.

  2. Great blog .but a correction, you said It Happened At The Worlds Fair was out in 1964…. the release date for that film was in April 1963 !!! I always enjoy the blogs!!! Keep TCB’ng

  3. My dad was one of many who played football with Elvis in Memphis. Perhaps, us lesser known people have 2 degrees away from Elvis too!

  4. Ann Copley

    I live in a small town about 35 miles north of Memphis, several people here have connections with Elvis. One of our county commissioners was a police officer for the city of Memphis and “knew” Elvis, was on duty when Elvis died, stood guard at his casket. I know him so I am only 2 degrees from Elvis. There are several others that I know that are that close, one was a nurse at Baptist Hospital when Elvis was brought in with a broken arm (she has photos). Many only 1 or 2 degrees which makes me 2 or 3 degrees!!!

  5. Kathy Holter

    I have one degree of Elvis. My paternal aunt kissed (or got kissed by) Elvis in Hawaii at his Aloha concert. Awesome!!!!!

  6. Larry Keeter

    Kurt Russell’s career was jump started when he won an Emmy for playing Elvis in Dick Clark’s production of TV biopic in late ’70s soon after Elvis’ death.

  7. I am a big fan of Elvis, I love to catch up on all the news. We lost a great entertainer, with God’s gift of a great voice. Thanks to Priscilla for helping to keep his memory alive, just as he is in the music World.

  8. My Mother worked for RCA from 1956-1984. She always said, Elvis made me a good living! She would let us kids know when Elvis was coming out with a new record & title..Once RCA inserted a piece of material into his albums! Same material that was used for his scarfs…

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