Elvis Presley’s co-star from Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Suzanna Leigh, couldn’t help but have loose lips about working with The King. She recently opened up about all the juicy details about their on-screen romance.
Before booking the role on the film, 19-year-old Leigh heard that Hollywood agent Hal Wallis was in the process of scouting for talent. After ditching her job, she ran off to the airport to buy a plane ticket to London, where the agent was staying. In London, she found his hotel room and reportedly banged on the door shouting, “I’m the one you’re looking for.”
“There’d be an army of secretaries to stop you doing that today. It just wouldn’t happen,” she said of the experience. Later, she booked the role of Elvis’ leading lady in his next film. “Elvis and I were both under contract to Hal Wallis, who was known as the ‘star maker.”
She added, “I remember the day that Hal said that I would be making my next movie with Elvis. I was an incredible fan of his. Then he said, ‘You’re filming it in Hawaii.’ Wow. She continued gushing over Elvis, saying, “Elvis was a fabulous actor, very underrated by a lot of the conventional theatre people.”
At the time, Leigh landed a role in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, playing Elvis Presley’s love interest in the role of Judy ‘Friday’ Hudson. As for Elvis, he took on the role of Rick Richards, a bachelor and helicopter pilot whose dangerous flying and playboy tendencies capture Judy’s attention. As the film goes, The King manages to introduce himself to Judy, saying, “We met before, on a surfboard, in Waikiki. You were wiped out.”
Elvis Presley’s Former Onscreen Love Opens Up About Movie Romance
Meanwhile, Leigh was starstruck by being in Elvis Presley’s presence. In her 2003 autobiography, Leigh reminisced about their moment of passion in her 2003 autobiography, Paradise, Suzanna Style. As for his kissing, she recalls being swept away by him.
“His kisses held an intensity that melted my very being. I slipped my arms around his neck and our bodies entwined. This was all madness, but we didn’t stop. A person could go to the gallows with such a kiss lingering on their lips, knowing life had been good.”
Before breaking onto the silver screen scene as Elvis Presley’s leading lady, a young Leigh landed her first job with Paramount Pictures when she starred in the Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis film from 1965, Boeing Boeing.
According to Leigh, “My first day in the studio this big Caddy came along with the chauffeur. It happened exactly the way it did in Sunset Boulevard. I thought ‘That’s it, I need no more’. It’s the most amazing feeling when all your dreams come true.”
Little did she know her next film, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, would be her namesake.