Elvis co-star Suzanna Leigh ‘I melted when we kissed, it was madness, but we couldn’t stop’

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Another film, another beautiful lead actress to tempt The King – or vice versa. Suzanna hit Hollywood as a teenager and soon found herself living out her wildest dreams when she shared the screen with her idol and frolicked with him on a tropical beach. It was a meteoric rise for convent schoolgirl Sandra Eileen Anne Smith of Berkshire, who made her way to a meeting with Elvis’ agent and never looked back.

Young Sandra lost her father when she was just six. He was a notorious gambler and had told his daughter that her godmother was the famous movie star Vivienne Leigh.

Showing the ghost that would characterize her entire life, Sandra went to Leigh’s house at age eleven and introduced herself. The actress remembered her father, but couldn’t remember being her godmother. Still, she agreed to give the young aspiring actress some guidance and a few lessons.

Susanna later said: “‘It was really exciting. She was so wonderful to me. She said so many of my dreams were like hers.”

A few years later, Leigh also agreed to let the teenager take her name professionally and soon the reborn Suzanna Leigh was already having small roles in TV series The Saint and then her own show in France. And just over a year later, she would star with Elvis.

READ MORE: Elvis Girlfriend Linda On What The King Thought Of Elvis Impersonators

Elvis and Susanna Leigh (Image: GETTY)

Elvis costar Suzanna Leigh

Elvis costar Suzanna Leigh (Image: GETTY)

While in France, Suzanna learned that Hollywood agent Hal Wallis was looking for talent in London. She immediately called in sick and rushed to the airport. In London. She found out which room he was staying in at the Dorchester and apparently knocked on the door screaming, “I’m the one you’re looking for.”

Suzanna later told the website Elvis Australia: “There would be an army of secretaries to stop you today. It just wouldn’t happen.”

At age 19, she was flown to Hollywood and soon landed her first job at Paramount Pictures to star in the Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis bedroom farce Boeing Boeing.

She said: “My first day in the studio, this big Caddy came along with the driver. It happened exactly like in Sunset Boulevard. I thought ‘that’s it, that’s all I need’. It’s the most amazing feeling when all your dreams come true.”

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Elvis and costar Suzanna Leigh in Paradise: Hawaiian Style poster

Elvis and costar Suzanna Leigh in Paradise: Hawaiian Style poster (Image: GETTY)


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Her next film would be even more exciting.

Suzanna told the Hollywood Reporter: “Elvis and I were both under contract with Hal Wallis, who was known as the ‘star maker’.

“I remember the day Hal said I was going to make my next movie with Elvis. I was an incredible fan of his, and then he said, ‘You’re going to shoot it in Hawaii.’ Wow.

“Elvis was a fantastic actor, very underrated by many conventional theater people.”

Suzanna was cast in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, to play Judy “Friday” Hudson, the lead actress and lover of The King.

Elvis played Rick Richards, a playboy helicopter pilot whose reckless flying and womanizing jeopardize both his career and his romance with Judy.

The film gives The King the chance to use the cheap pickup line on Judy: “We met before, on a surfboard, in Waikiki. You were wiped out.”

It brought him the girl on screen and off screen Suzanna remembered by being swept away by Elvis’ kissing. She raved about their passionate clinches in her 2003 autobiography, Paradise, Suzanna Style.

She wrote: “His kisses had an intensity that melted my whole being. I slid my arms around his neck and our bodies entwined. This was all madness, but we didn’t stop. A person can go to the gallows with such a kiss that lingered on their lips, knowing that life had been good.”

Elvis and costar Suzanna Leigh in Paradise: Hawaiian Style poster

Elvis and costar Suzanna Leigh in Paradise: Hawaiian Style poster (Image: GETTY)

The couple also bonded over their shared religious interests and spirituality, and their belief in guardian angels.

Suzanna said: “We only kissed twice, but there was the promise of many more intimacies to come. We remained friends during my passionate affair with Richard Harris and wanted to make another movie together – but it was never to be. “

The actress also later took credit for an infamous addition to Gracelands’ menagerie.

She said: “Elvis had never met anyone like me and he loved hearing me tell stories. He was very protective of security and I told him he kept a pair of peacocks to make noises when intruders approached. Years later I went to Graceland and found out that he had his own peacocks. Of course, being Elvis, he didn’t have a pair of peacocks, he had a swarm of them. Apparently the sound was amazing.”

Elvis costar Suzanna Leigh promotes her autobiography

Elvis costar Suzanna Leigh promotes her autobiography (Image: GETTY)

Suzanna didn’t just visit Graceland, she said she eventually got a job there.

After Paradise Hawaiian Style, her Hollywood career ended abruptly. She later said she was in line for a new movie starring Elvis, but a war between British actors’ union Equity and its American counterpart, the Screen Actors Guild, had put a temporary halt on Hollywood roles going to Britons.

In her early twenties, she got home movie offers and in 1966 she left LA, not realizing she would never go back. A series of horror and cheap spy movies followed. Her career ended in 1973 with the outrageous horror musical Son of Dracula, produced by Ringo Starr and starring the former Beatle alongside pop star Harry Nilsson.

A fateful marriage and a thieving manager caused Suzanna to go bankrupt in the late 1980s. She took several jobs, including selling the Encyclopedia Britannica before “iIn 2003, I tapped into my connection to Elvis by joining Graceland as a VIP tour guide.”

It was there that she became deeply involved in conspiracy theories surrounding The King’s death that she shared and researched until her death in December 2017 from liver cancer.

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