Elvis Presley was well known for his amazing generosity throughout his short life. The King would regularly give large sums of money to charity and would bless his Memphis Mafia with Christmas bonuses, cars and other gifts. But now an Elvis historian has discovered the source of this virtue is the example of a little-known relative of The King’s.
Earlier this month, Express.co.uk spoke with Sally A Hoedel, the author of Elvis: Destined To Die Young.
The new book’s ground-breaking research concludes The King’s various health problems from birth were what killed the star at just 42-years-old and not his prescription drug abuse or rock and roll lifestyle.
Sally spoke with many people who knew the music icon personally for the book, including some not so typical go-to people in the Elvis world.
One of them was a cousin of The King’s called Larry Presley, who was the son of Elvis’ great-uncle Noah Presley.
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Noah Presley lived in Tupelo, Mississippi with much of the family and even became mayor of East Tupelo in 1936, a year after Elvis was born.
Sally said: “Noah owned a little grocery store and he gave free food to Gladys and Elvis while Vernon was in prison and continued to treat Elvis with that kind of kindness.”
Elvis’ father had gone to prison in 1938 after being arrested a year earlier for forging a cheque, spending almost a year behind bars.
The historian said: “[Noah] had a school bus and would drive all the kids in Tupelo to the Memphis zoo once a year. He did things like that all the time.”
The Elvis historian added: “I believe he learned that from Noah Presley.
“I think that hasn’t totally been captured before and that I was lucky enough to talk to Noah’s son. So that was really incredible [to discover].”
Most recently, Elvis’ ex-girlfriend Linda Thompson has shared just how generous The King was at Christmas time, saying how his inner circle would call him Santa as a result.
The 70-year-old posted photos on her Instagram this month, writing: “Throwback Thursday to a few photos of Christmas at Graceland with Elvis. The first photo is of our first Christmas together, and he had given me this coat – along with a beautiful platinum and diamond ring that I found in the coat pocket at his urging…”
Linda added: “He had taken the diamond from one of his rings and had it mounted in the beautiful ballerina ring he had designed and made for me.
“Christmas was his very favourite time of year… Because he was so inordinately generous, and he derived so much joy in giving to others.
“Elvis was so incredibly generous that we called him the real Santa Claus.”
Elvis: Destined To Die Young is out now and available to purchase here.