The Collapse of Elvis Presley

Steven C. Owens
5 min readJun 1, 2022


Elvis Presley's spirit-depleted body lead to the King’s death.

A broken Elvis

His shoe lace on his left foot remained untied as Elvis sat in a white leather over-stuffed chair he brought with him to every concert since the 1960's. Too tired to tie it he left it that way until someone would notice to secure it for him. His signature Aztec jump suit could no longer hold his once trim body pushing his belly over the gem-stoned belt. If he wasn’t wiping sweat from his brow someone in the band was. Elvis had become a bloated image of what he once was and it was weighing him down spiritually. Death was near.

Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s longtime manager and family friend, walked into the dimly lit dressing room guided by one bulb on the mirror in front of the king. Expecting his client to be practicing his karate moves as part of his routine choreography during concerts, he was stunned by what he found. At first, Parker wasn’t sure Elvis was breathing. The restlessness of the sold-out crowd in Las Vegas could be heard in waves through the poorly ventilated air duct that hung just in front of Elvis. Evidence of a coca cola cup still sweating with condensation just out of reach of Presley’s right hand verified he had not been there that long. Parker had last spoken with Elvis 3 hours prior to the concert that was minutes away from starting.

“Elvis”? Parker hesitantly called with an audible whisper.

Suddenly a slight head-bob could be seen by Presley's jet black quaffed hair. A twinkle of his gem stoned sun glasses caught a glimpse in the mirror in front of the superstar. Still not sure if the head move was a slumping king or a voluntary acknowledgement of Parker’s voice, the Colonel moved close enough to touch Elvis’s shoulder with his finger tips. The crusted gems prevented a solid touch and moving Parker’s hand back and forth moved the fabric and not the shoulder. Two steps closer Parker bent over to look at Presley's face by removing the sunglasses. A slight hint of air came through his nostrils and gave Parker a little more encouragement to shake him. Palming the side of Presley's neck with a slight push finally woke the King. In that Memphis drawl Presley responded annoyed;

“What ya doin? I nodded off”. Elvis responded.

Sternly Parker stated the obvious;

“Where’s the make-up people? Where is everybody? You shoulda been out there on stage? That crowd is paying our way Elvis!”

The Colonel moved onto a wall phone and dialed a single number with a rotary wheel.

“Get in here right now and a bowl of ice water. He’s gonna need make-up again too. Get (Larry) Geller in here for his hair. Looks like shit!”

Parker slams the phone down and begins to steam.

Geller (Elvis’s long time hair dresser) was the first to arrive with a blow dryer and a brush and comb.

Why wasn’t anyone in here watching Elvis! Parker barked to Geller

“He (Elvis) sent everyone out of the room. He said he didn’t want to do this anymore. I assume you knew? We didn’t know what to do” Geller responded nervously.

The ice water arrived by way of a busboy who placed the bowl on a small table in front of Elvis. The busboy used a dish towel grabbed from his shoulder to wipe the excess water that had spilled out when placing the bowl near the king. He scurried out just as quickly as he came in. Parker took his meaty hand and planted on the back of the drowsy singer’s head and plunged him forward into the icy water. Holding him in there momentarily Geller noticed the angry face that Parker revealed and wondered if he was going to pull Elvis out sooner rather than later? A slight shake from Presley indicated he couldn’t breath. With the same force he used to push the king’s head in the water he pulled it out with the same anger. Geller pulled one of his hair towels from his belt and immediately began to wipe Elvis’s face.

“There, There. You ok Elvis? Geller whispered.”

“He’s fine. Better be! Parker barked

The back-up singers filed in and Parker leered at them with discuss. The make-up team soon followed and began re-working Elvis’s face much to his irritation. Geller worked behind them on the King’s hair.

“Go out there and start playing the lead-in”. Parker grumbled to Elvis’s guitarists.

Elvis began to wake up as the two teams continued on his hair and make-up. He began to hym a gospel song while lifting his signature lip to one side almost getting into character.

“That’s enough, that’s enough!” Parker to the hair and make-up team

The Colonel walked in front of Elvis as he continued to hum in a drug simmering haze that seemed to be fading. Fiddling with his rings and looking down to the floor, Parker tried to get Elvis to look at him.

“Look at me”! Parker barked

Elvis looked up with only his eyes keeping his head tilted down, still humming and playing with his one ring.

“I have a stack of bills that says you are not even close to retirement. I don’t care what you have to do to get ready each night but you have an obligation to alot more people than just me.You understand me?” Parker reminded Elvis

Elvis leered at Parker as his face reflected anger with a mix of sadness.

“You know someday. I might just disappear. Then what would you do? What would you all do?” Elvis asked.

Presley leaped up and saw his reflection in the mirror and did his Karate moves as if he was on stage. He drank a sip of his ice melted soda and bowed to Parker in a sarcastic manner. Parker smirked as if not to know how to react. As the crowd noise got louder and Elvis stood by the side stage door he appeared to pray. In a moments notice he pushed open the door and stumbled on stage as the crowd unleashed their fury of excitement.

“Your shoelace is untied”. Parker pointed out to Elvis

Elvis walked two steps back toward the dressing room and leaned in.

“Oh I know.” Elvis replied. “It’s been that way for a long time.”

Elvis’s Last Concert June, 1977.

Elvis died less then two months later.





Steven C. Owens

Writer of life lessons sprinkled with meaningful sports and history editorials.