After fifty-five years and more than a few imposters, the woman in Elvis Presley’s most famous photograph has finally been identified. She’s seventy-five year old Barbara Gray, now a retired real estate manager but at the time a young, gorgeous free spirit who once fought Zsa Zsa Gabor and caroused with Pat Boone. She’s lived a wild life filled with four marriages and scores of celebrity encounters, but on that fateful day when she touched tongues with the King, she was just another charmed girl won over by Presley as he was rising to fame.
The year was 1956, and Elvis Presley was far from a household name. Gray, already a divorced mother, was drinking in a bar with a few of her friends when the ladies started talking about this handsome musician who was in town. Gray had no idea who he was, but after a few drinks, she accepted a dare to call his hotel room. The two ended up chatting for half an hour, and Presley promised to send a car for her in the morning. She thought he was bluffing, but two members of Elvis’ entourage showed up as promised. They escorted her to a coffee shop where the musician asked her if she wanted a beer. She declined, much to Presley’s pleasure. He hated women who drank, smoked or had sex with anyone that wasn’t him.
Later, they made their way to the Mosque Theater in Richmond Virginia where just before his concert began, Elvis and Gray playfully touched tongues as photographer Alfred Wertheimer took the picture of his life. Take a look at the image below…
Shortly after the concert, Elvis took his new lady friend into a train compartment and briefly felt her up. There was a knock on the door, and he was told he needed to leave. The two parted ways, never to speak again, leaving one brilliant photograph as the only evidence of their momentary tryst.
After coming forward, Barbara Gray renounced all monetary rights to the picture she co-created. She’s only seeking credit and for her name to be added to the image so many have marveled at.
To read Barbara Gray’s extremely detailed account, I encourage you to head over to Vanity Fair.