When Elliott Gould told Elvis Presley to "shut up" after his divorce from Barbra Streisand
25 October 2023, 12:23
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"A little less conversation..."
That's likely the same lyrics Elliott Gould would've repeated back to Elvis Presley after an encounter that riled that veteran actor way back when.
Gould, who can list the likes of The Long Goodbye, M*A*S*H, Friends, and Ocean's 11 amongst his acting credits, was a self-confessed Presley fanatic.
After admiring him from afar throughout his youth, the actor eventually got the opportunity to meet the King Of Rock 'n' Roll during the 1970s.
Though, it didn't necessarily pan out as he'd initially envisaged, as he recently recalled in an interview with FOX News.
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"I had always wanted to meet Elvis," Gould gushed. "I was deeply involved in musical comedy. I was a chorus boy on Broadway — I was brought up and trained that way."
"So I asked if we could arrange for me to come and meet Elvis… and I got it."
Gould was at the height of his fame at the same time Elvis Presley was performing at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.
But after only a few minutes in each other's company, the actor turned round to Presley and told him to "shut up".
After watching Elvis perform in Las Vegas, Gould was taken backstage to meet The King, who was surrounded by his entourage of usual suspects: Colonel Tom Parker and his father.
"Elvis opened the door," recalled Gould. "He had a gold-gilded .45 pistol in his belt. His father, Vernon, and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, were in the room."
But rather than exchange tales of their success stories or admire each other's respective crafts, Presley only had one thing on his mind.
"He said to me, 'Why did you and Barbra break up?' You're two of my favourite people.'"
Taken aback by the star's lack of decorum asking someone he'd never met about his marital strife, Gould snapped: "Shut up, Elvis."
Elvis may've had a genuine interest in Barbra, who was one of the biggest stars of the era also.
He was reported to have been Streisand's first choice to feature alongside her in the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, a role The King seriously considered taking.
Any chance of starring in it was derailed by Colonel Tom Parker however, as his demands for top-billing and a preposterously eye-watering salary meant they looked elsewhere, eventually offering the role to country troubadour Kris Kristofferson.
In light of Presley getting straight to the nitty gritty of Gould's personal life, the actor did the same to Elvis, emphasising the control Parker and Presley's father had over his entire life.
"Your daddy and the Colonel aren't going to let us be alone for too long," he remembered telling Presley. "You're a cash cow to these people."
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"Why don't you come out and just be free, just be a free spirit? Leave Elvis here and come out and be free."
As history tells us, Presley didn't heed the advice given to him by Gould, and remained under the watchful control of Parker and his father until his tragic death in 1977 at the age of just 42.
Sharing some insight into his relationship with Barbra after they split in 1971, Gould reiterated: "She's family."
"She's the mother of my son [Jason]. My children are no errors. I'm devoted to my children and their mother(s)."