Fans have romanticized for years about a union between Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe – the two biggest sex symbols of the 20th Century. One can only wonder what would have happened if Elvis and Marilyn had crossed paths in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Surely they would have had a torrid love affair – well, not exactly.
The two iconic figures of 20th century pop culture actually did meet once. In June 1960, Marilyn Monroe was 34 years old and married to her third husband, Arthur Miller*. She happened to be on the same movie lot one day where The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, fresh from his release from the army in March, was filming G.I. Blues.
Joe Esposito, who started working for Elvis as his right-hand man after they both returned from their army stint in Germany, recalled the brief meeting: “At Paramount Studios one time, him and I were walking to the dressing room and she [Marilyn Monroe] was walking towards us at the same time and that’s when he met her. It was just a small, nice little conversation. He gave her a hug and all that stuff… Probably for about 3 minutes, and that was it.”
That’s it? Surely there had to be more! In fact, a former assistant to Colonel Parker, Byron Raphael, claimed that Elvis and Marilyn had a one-night love affair. However, his story was discredited by Presley’s entourage and many other Elvis experts. Also, after biographer Alanna Nash interviewed Raphael, she would only verify in her book, Baby Let’s Play House, that there was a brief meeting between Presley and Monroe similar to what Esposito describes.
When examining the reality of the situation, it is highly unlikely that Presley and Monroe would have appealed to each other. Elvis, who was 25 years old at the time, preferred younger women. He had just left a 14-year-old girl he had been dating named Priscilla Beaulieu in Germany and returned to his 22-year-old girlfriend in Memphis, Anita Wood. In addition, he would soon start casually dating another 14-year-old, Sandy Ferra, during his downtime in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Marilyn was nine years older than Elvis and preferred older men, like her husband Arthur Miller and ex-husband Joe DiMaggio.
Unfortunately, this pop culture fantasy of Elvis and Marilyn becoming romantically involved never had a chance in reality. Ironically, the movie that Marilyn Monroe starred in that year, Let’s Make Love, featured an Elvis Presley impersonator as a character in the film’s plot. Marilyn and a fake Elvis on-screen is the closest the world would ever get to seeing these two superstars together.
*Note: This statement was corrected from the original version which said that Marilyn was “in the midst of getting divorced”.
For more fascinating Elvis Presley stories, check out the author’s book, ELVIS: Behind The Legend: Startling Truths About The King of Rock and Roll’s Life, Loves, Films and Music