Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ Co-Star Remembers Him as ‘Sweet and Caring’

by Chris Haney
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During a past interview, actress Angela Lansbury opened up about her experience working with the legendary Elvis Presley when they featured in Blue Hawaii together.

The Murder, She Wrote star turns 96 years old later this week on Oct. 16. Yet 60 years ago, she played the role of Presley’s mother in the 1961 film. Blue Hawaii is one The King‘s most famous post-Army movies, which popularized his hit song “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Even though Lansbury is only nine years older than Presley, she played Sarah Lee Gates, the mom of Presley’s character Chadwick Gates.

Back in 2013, Lansbury spoke with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) about her experience on the set of Blue Hawaii. Of course, the Oscar-nominated actress shared details of what it’s like working with Elvis Presley on the movie.

“Well obviously I was awed by being in the presence, but he was an awfully nice young man in those days. He always was a wonderfully nice young man, a very caring person. He had terrible problems of a very personal nature, but in those days he’d just come out of the Army. He was fit, he was slender, and he was top of his form. And he couldn’t have been nicer to me,” Lansbury said of her time working alongside Elvis Presley.

Lansbury also added how much she enjoyed her role in Blue Hawaii. Presley agreed and enjoyed her character as well.

“We had a lovely time, it was a wonderful location. We were on Kauai in the Hawaiian islands. I’ll never forget it, it was really wonderful,” Lansbury said.

“And she was such a funny character! Her whole reaction to her son who she didn’t understand at all. [Elvis] loved it, he thought it was terribly funny. He was very sweet,” she added.

Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ From ‘Blue Hawaii’ Becomes Huge Hit

During the 1950s, Elvis Presley had already taken the music world by storm. At the time, there was no one else like The King with his mix of showmanship and personality on the stage. The rock-and-roll king quickly took over the charts and became the biggest musician in the world seemingly overnight.

By 1954, Elvis was on his way to becoming a household name. He became the hugest act around, but in 1958 he paused his already iconic career to join the military. Elvis Presley spent two years in the Army, and upon his return he set his focus on the big screen.

Presley starred in a number of movies in the early ’60s with mixed reviews. One of the most popular is Blue Hawaii as previously mentioned. The musical had numerous songs within it, but “Can’t Help Falling In Love” went on to become a massive hit for the singer.

In 1962, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” topped the Billboard charts in the United Kingdom. Additionally, it reached No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. In fact, the popular single even became a staple at Elvis Presley’s future live shows. He closed out most of his concerts in the late ’60s and 1970s with the hit song.

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