$1 Million Reward Offer Fails to Turn up Sign of Living Elvis With AM-Elvis Anniversary
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ A radio station offered a $1 million reward for proof Elvis Presley is still alive, on the 11th anniversary of his death Tuesday, but only impersonators and fans of the King showed.
″How many believe Elvis is still alive?″ asked KRLA radio disc jockey Charlie Tuna as the crowd gathered outside a local diner, Ed Debevics, which serves up burgers and malts in ’50s tradition.
He was greeted by applause and cheers from about 150 of the late rock ‘n’ roll great’s fans, but the only Elvis present was impersonator Paul Boland, 27, of San Pedro, who arrived wearing a white pantsuit with red and gold spangles.
A waiter with a pompadour hairdo and shaking maracacas also appeared.
Tuna said the event was inspired by Gail Brewer Giorgio’s recent book ″Is Elvis Alive?,″ which disputes that the entertainer died of heart disease Aug. 16, 1977.
″So we decided $1 million might put an end to all the speculation,″ he said. The reward would be exchanged for seven days’ worth of exclusive interviews for the station, he said.
Sue Wiegger, president of the Los Angeles chapter of a national Elvis fan club, said she doesn’t believe Presley is still alive.
″I just believe that woman is making money at the expense of other people’s feelings,″ she said of Ms. Giorgio, adding Elvis fans ″have had a hard time dealing with the death.″
″His spirit’s here and will always be here,″ said fan Gail Herrington of suburban Valencia.
In Presley’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn. on Tuesday, fans lined up to pay their respects at the singer’s grave. More than 70 stands of flowers, many shaped like guitars or hearts, lined the walk to Presley’s grave.
″This is the next best thing we’re going to get to seeing Elvis,″ said Graham Knowles, an Elvis fan who traveled from Leeds, England, to Memphis.