A staged kiss led to a real romance when 16-year-old German girl, Margit Buergin, came to Bad Homburg to meet Elvis.
[The following article includes excerpts from the new book, ELVIS: The Army Years Uncovered: Behind The Scenes of the Two Years that Changed the King of Rock and Roll’s Life by Trina Young]
But she didn’t meet him by chance. Margit was brought to meet Elvis by Robert Lebeck, a German photographer for Stern magazine, who was on assignment to get some exclusive photos of Presley. On October 5, 1958, Elvis met Margit as he was coming out of the Ritters Park Hotel on his way to take a walk in a park. She asked him for his autograph and Elvis was immediately taken with her.
With the photographers shouting for Elvis to pose for pictures with Margit, Elvis grabbed her hand and led her to the park as they were followed by a large group of fans and reporters. It didn’t hurt that Margit had a striking resemblance to Brigitte Bardot. Presley had made his interest known for the famous actress and sex symbol just before leaving the States for his trip to Germany.
At the Brooklyn press conference on September 28, 1958, Elvis was asked, “What would you like to do the most on your first leave in Europe?”
“I’d like to go to Paris,” Elvis replied, “… and look up Brigitte Bardot.” This response elicited laughter among the newsmen.
However, Brigitte Bardot quickly responded to Presley’s remark via the press that she was not interested in meeting Elvis and criticized him saying he was not “refined.” This prompted Elvis to reply: “Everybody quoted me as saying I wanted to date her. That isn’t what I said. I only made the statement that I admire her and would like to meet her. There’s a lot of people I admire and would like to meet.”
Meanwhile, a group of photographers including Lebeck encouraged several photos of Elvis with Margit as they walked through the park. They asked Elvis to kiss her, so Elvis looked to Margit for permission. To satisfy the photographers, Elvis ended up kissing her on the cheek 16 times. These photos were soon published in Germany giving Margit instant fame.
But it turned out that this wasn’t just for show. Elvis expressed interest in Margit and three weeks later, they started dating. Despite a language barrier, Elvis would see Margit several times a week. He told an American Armed Forces Network reporter: “I’ve seen her about four or five times already, which is more than any other girl around here.”
“He is shy and rarely speaks about himself,” Margit told a reporter in German. “We spend evenings listening to pop records or he would play the piano and we would sing folk songs. I was surprised he could play the piano so well. He plays the guitar and says as little as possible about his success as a singer.”
One month later, the news of the romance along with photos of Elvis and Margit made it to the U.S. newspapers. Headlines included “Spreading Good Will in Germany, Elvis Dates Girl with Dictionary” and “Elvis Swaps ‘Hound Dog’ for ‘Puppy’.” One American magazine published the photos in a story entitled “Kissed by Elvis” in November 1958. In December, she was featured in a Look magazine article: “He’s so different from what I thought he’d be,” Margit was quoted as saying.
“The other night I said something about a puppy,” Elvis told a reporter. “Well, she didn’t know what the word meant, so she went tearing through that little book [her dictionary]. Man, it was funny.”
According to the press, Elvis, who always gave nicknames to his friends and lovers, started calling Margit “Little Puppy.” But Margit’s mother said Presley’s nickname for her daughter was “Honey.”
During maneuvers in Grafenwoehr, Elvis wrote to his friend Alan Fortas in November 1958 mentioning Margit: “I have been dating this little German ‘Chuckaloid’ by the name of Margit. She looks a lot like B.B. [Brigitte Bardot]. It’s Grind City.”
However, Elvis told his Memphis girlfriend, Anita Wood, a totally different story about Margit in a letter he wrote to her dated November 14, 1958: “The girl they speak of was a photographer’s model and she was brought over by some newsman the first week I was here. I have seen her one time since then. She doesn’t speak a word of English and I have not been dating her and I did not say all that stuff about seeing her four or five times and I have not tried to keep anything from you.”
Turns out, Margit was getting almost as much publicity with the German press as Elvis. She became known as Presley’s “fraulein,” (the German word for young woman) and was the envy of female fans in Germany.
Find out what happened in the following six months between Margit and Elvis in the new book, ELVIS: The Army Years Uncovered: Behind the Scenes of the Two Years that Changed The King of Rock and Roll’s Life.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER
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