Elvis Presley portrayed on screen: Austin Butler, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson …

Elvis is back in the building! Austin Butler is the latest actor to swivel his hips as the legendary Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s (“Moulin Rouge”) energetic new “Elvis,” which shakes up the biopic genre. Tom Hanks plays Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ mysterious Svengali-esque manager who made some startlingly bad choices for his client including turning down offers for him to appear in the original 1961 “West Side Story” and the Barbra Streisand 1976 remake of “A Star is Born.”

This new film has won the praise of his ex-wife Priscilla Presley, daughter Lisa Marie Presley and grandchildren including actress/director Riley Keough. Though Elvis died in 1977 at the age of 42, he’s been kept alive, at least in spirit-in numerous TV movies, miniseries, series and feature films.

One such movie was the long-forgotten 1993 NBC drama “Elvis & the Colonel: The Untold Story” starring Rob Youngblood as the young Elvis and Beau Bridges as Colonel Parker. “Elvis & the Colonel” was executive produced by none other than Dick Clark, who also produced the acclaimed 1979 ABC biopic “Elvis” starring Russell, and directed by William C. Graham, who helmed the infamous 1969 Elvis pic “Change of Habit.”

Parker was seen in less than favorable light in the telefilm, ruling Elvis’ career with an iron fist. Clark told me in a 1993 L.A. Times interview that he had long wanted to do a movie that went beyond the premise of “wasn’t the Colonel the greatest manager that ever came down the pike, which is what was put forth so many years.” According to Clark, when Parker signed the 21-year-old Elvis, he received 25% of his client’s income but by 1967, he was being paid a whopping 50%. Clark believed the two had a love/hate relationship. “I am sure neither character was all black or white,” he noted. Presley, he added, “was not educated I contracts and so forth. Apparently, Elvis never read anything that was put in front of him. But he allowed it to happen, no doubt about it. He had full knowledge.”

Graham, who thought Elvis was one of the nicest guys he ever met, recalled the Parker didn’t spend much time on the set of “Change of Habit.” “Elvis and his friends, the so-called Memphis Mafia, they were naughty boys,” he said. “They liked to play practical jokes and shoot water pistols at each other and me. When the Colonel came on the set, he was sort of a truant officer. He always had kind of a serious grumpy expression on his face. The thing I observed was that Elvis had a lot of respect, almost fear, of the Colonel. But the Colonel stayed very much out of the shooting of the movie. He pretty much stuck to the business end of things.”

Clark found Elvis and Parker’s story to be a sad one. “I have always said if there were more people around Elvis, rather than the parasites, who really loved him, he might have survived. But the Colonel convinced him he had to be a recluse, that he had to hide out. He kept Elvis captive. It is a very bizarre story.”

Here’s a look at some of the other actors who played Elvis.

Kurt Russell (“Elvis”)
He’s the only actor to play Elvis who worked with Presley. Russell was 11 years old when he made his film debut as the kid who kicks Elvis in the shin in 1963’s “It Happened at the World’s Fair. And then 16 years later, he starred in ABC’s acclaimed bio-pic “Elvis,” which was directed by John Carpenter, who would make several films with Russell including 1982’s “The Thing.” “Elvis” changed the career of the former child star. The New York Times wrote: “I have only seen this actor in television’s ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ series and a couple of Westerns, and was totally unprepared for his dynamic capturing of the Elvis image. He is probably better looking and less pudgy that the original, but his swagger and curious vulnerability are brilliantly on target. It is an impression expands to a stunning performance.”

Russell earned an Emmy nomination and the same year “Elvis” aired, married Season Hubley, who played Priscilla. They had one son, Boston, before they divorced in 1983. Unfortunately, Russell and Kevin Costner starred in the 2001 box office turkey “3000 Miles to Graceland” playing thieves who disguise themselves as Elvis impersonators to rob a Vegas casino during an Elvis convention.

Don Johnson (“Elvis and the Beauty Queen”)
Talking about a “hound dog.” This 1981 NBC movie starred a pre-“Miami Vice” Johnson sporting a bad pompadour, bad accent and bad fat suit to play Elvis in the last five years of his life when he was living with Linda Thompson (Stephanie Zimbalist). Thompson would go on to marry Bruce Jenner and David Foster. The film was directed by Gus Trikonis, who was Goldie Hawn’s first husband,  and penned by Julia Cameron, who was married to Martin Scorsese.

David Keith (“Heartbreak Hotel”)
The actor, who appeared in such films as 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman,” played the King in this 1988 comedy written and directed by Chris Columbus. In this outing, Elvis is kidnapped by a teenager (Charlie Schlatter) and his band and brought to his mother’s boarding house. The film bombed with audiences and critics didn’t exactly love it tender with the Washington Post stating: “With such fruity writing, what do overacting and miscasting (Jay Leno would have been perfect) matter? Keith, as we know, had mighty big pants to fill. Face it. The King has left the building, gone to that Caesars Palace I the sky. Columbus, say goodbye.”

Dale Midkiff (“Elvis & Me”)
The actor, best known for 19889s “Pet Sematary,” played Presley in this 1988 ABC miniseries based on Priscilla Presley’s bestseller. It was the highest rated TV movie of the season with some 32 million watching part I and over 31 million catching part II. Reviews were mixed-it only earned an Emmy nomination for hairstyling. A review on the Elvis Information Network site: Midkiff is a good actor (and at times you can imagine Elvis) but the way his role is drawn makes it difficult for him. Midkiff is restricted by ridiculous looking sideburns for the 1970s scenes. The Elvis character is quite unsympathetic, at times being male chauvinist and domineering.

Michael St. Gerard (“Great Balls of Fire”; “Heart of Dixie”; “Elvis”)
Not only did St. Gerard resemble the King, he also captured his chemistry and prowess at hip swiveling He played Presley in the 1988 Jerry Lee Lewis biopic “Great Balls of Fire” and 1989’s “Heart of Dixie.” But he’s best known for his lauded performance in ABC’s acclaimed 1990 10-part series “Elvis,” which languished in the ratings. So much so the last three episodes never aired. The series was re-edited into the 1990 four-hour miniseries “Elvis: The Early Years.” The New York Times observed: Mr. St. Gerard’s performance as Elvis is little short of astonishing. With his pompadour, brooking eyes and pouty lips, he certainly looks the part. But this is a no two-big impersonation. Mr. St. Gerard has also uncannily captured the singer’s movement and personality, the shyness and gentle manners. St. Gerard would play Elvis one more time in a 1993 episode of NBC’s “Quantum Leap.” He has been a pastor for nearly 30 years.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (“Elvis”)
The Irish actor was nominated for an Emmy and won the Golden Globe for his lip curling turn as Presley in the four-hour 2005 limited CBS series which chronicles his rise from his poor beginnings to international stardom. Meyers told me in 2005 L.A. Times interview that he didn’t want to do an impersonation of Elvis but rather an “interpretation of  what someone would be like from Tupelo, Miss, who suddenly becomes a phenomenon. He was always childlike, and even in the home movies I watched on Elvis, he was a big kid, so I wanted to give that type of personae offstage. “ L.A Times TV critic Robert Lloyd wrote of Meyers: “He’s got the eyes and he’s done his homework, studied the footage and conned the speech. He has trained his leg to twitch and his lip to curl,  and there are moments, especially early on, where he successfully suggests that excitement of the original. But charisma — not, in any case, a charisma the epochal as Presley’s — is not transferable.”

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