By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
It's a story as old as rock 'n' roll itself: Rock star has sex with groupie and blows town the next day, leaving her pregnant. It's very likely the world is bursting with the offspring of Chuck Berry and Leif Garrett and especially — given his status as the King of Rock 'n' Roll and his reputation for having been nothin' but a horn-dog — Elvis Presley.
"Elvis was the most famous entertainer in the world, he loved women, and he wasn't faithful in his marriage or to his girlfriends," says Cooper, who points out that people have been claiming to be Elvis' kid since before the King died. "But I don't think Elvis has three dozen offspring scattered around the world."
Yet the parade of would-be Presley bastards just keeps on coming. There's 53-year-old Desirée Presley, a former Los Angeles model whose mom wrote the infamous Elvis tome Are You Lonesome Tonight? about her supposed 24-year-long secret romance with Presley. And Lisa Johansen, the 43-year-old Swedish woman who filed a $130 million lawsuit against the Presley estate for defamation and emotional distress, claiming she is "the real Lisa Marie Presley" who was forcibly exiled to Sweden after her father's death and replaced by an imposter — a fake Lisa Marie who went on to marry Michael Jackson, among other things. Johansen's own memoir, I, Lisa Marie, was scrapped after her publisher sued her for refusing to take an agreed-upon DNA test.
More famously, there is Philip Stanic, a former circus performer from Gary, Indiana, who changed his name to Elvis Presley Jr., in 1990, opened an Elvis museum, and began a career as an Elvis impersonator. His birth mother, he claims, is actress Dolores Hart, now a cloistered nun in Connecticut, who admits to an affair with Presley on the set of the Elvis flick Loving You in 1957.
And then there's Deborah Presley Brando, a onetime Hollywood movie extra and unemployed law clerk who once was married to Marlon Brando's late son, Christian. Brando was told by an appeals court in 1988 that there was insufficient evidence to rule that she couldn't possibly be Elvis' daughter, which she took to mean that she is "legally illegitimate" and, therefore, entitled to half of the Presley estate.
"My father's company made $33 billion last year, and I'm two minutes from having to live in my car because the house I'm renting is going into foreclosure," Brando tells New Times by phone last month. She talks nonstop, her non sequiturs tumbling together, posing questions but never pausing to hear any answers. "I know he's my daddy, but Colonel Tom Parker was never going to let my parents be together; he wanted Elvis to marry Priscilla, and she is like the pit bull of the estate, you know what I mean? Did you know that the company that bought Elvis Presley Enterprises also owns American Idol? So what does that tell you? They own the rights to Muhammad Ali and my father, and I'm looking for a job and a place to live, but I have a lot of faith and a lot of support, so I'm doing fine, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm going to be fine. I'm going to just walk into the Supreme Court and demand half of Elvis' estate, because I can, you know."
Actually, she can't — and neither can any of the other would-be Elvis offspring. Because Presley's will provides only for "my daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, and any other lawful issue I might have." In other words, any children born to a woman to whom Elvis was legally married — and he was only ever married once, to Lisa Marie's mom, Priscilla Presley.
Alice Tiffin found out that the road to riches doesn't necessarily start as one of Elvis' bastard babies. Tiffin, who changed her name to Eliza Presley in 1999, started out claiming to be Elvis' daughter. When that got her nowhere, she announced she was actually his sister. "Her birth mother had lived in Memphis and played pool with Elvis a few times," Cooper explains with a sigh. "The birth mother is in her 70s and is so disgusted by her biological daughter's Elvis claims, she told me she wishes she'd just had an abortion, instead of giving the kid up for adoption."
"Why is everyone in such a rush to be Elvis' kid?" laughs music writer Serene Dominic, who has written for everything from Creem to New Times. "It's not like millions of Elvis impersonators don't have that area well-covered. And it's not like it's helped Lisa Marie's career any — and she's a legitimate heir!"
So, too, is John Smith — he swears it. He also promises that John Smith is his real name. "It's not the name on my original birth certificate," he writes in his gonzo memoir, "but my new birth certificate has John Smith on it." In the interim, he's gone by numerous other names, both on and off stage, including John D. Smith, John D. Smith Presley, John Smith Presley, John Dennis Smith, Jon Dennis Smith, Dennis Smith, and John Starr. In recent years, he's become better known — at least to people who will believe anything you tell them — as "the son of Elvis."
In the case of this writer he should get all the facts before he writes another word. In the case of John Smith let him go to court like Alice Tiffin (who submitted DNA) and like Deborah Presley-Brando (who WON in the Tennessee Supreme Court). I believe that anyone who writes a book, or article is entitled to Freedom of Speech as long as they are not libel in their writings. Court documentation especially from Family Court are private. Maybe Alice and Deborah and John don't want to spend their lives proving what is sealed in the courts because of irresponsible writers like this one.
I am very disappointed in Mr. Pela for this worthless piece. For an expose' to be worth the reader's time it needs to make a successful emotional connection between the reader and the subject. I need to either gain sympathy for the subject so his wrong doings will trigger an emotional reaction from myself...or I need to gain sympathy for the subject's victims. There are no victims. And by giving us a history of those before Mr. Smith that had claimed to be the blood of Elvis, there appears to be nothing special about him. There is no reason for me to care. The only thing that could had saved this article was some unbiased hope from the writer that maybe Mr. Smith was indeed the son of Elvis. Every bit of evidence detailed was revoked by Mr. Pela before the reader could absorb it and make a decision for themselves. So basically Robert Pela took a subject that 99.9% doubted in the first place before even reading the first paragraph and by the end of the article 99.9% still doubt Mr. Smith. Congrats! Mr. Pela's expose' impacted no one.
This stupid fake story is still in here?
Don't you have people that can write stories? I say NOT , there is no good stories in the New Times for a long time maybe you should call this paper LONG TIME!
I do hope "In the Shadow of ELVIS, Perils of a Ghostwriter" is as great a read as "My Bad Tequila" by author & writer - Rico Austin!
Seems like a lot of Elvis connections are here in Scottsdale! I dated one just recently. Believe me, Elvis has left the planet 'in pieces' and these guys are probably 'meteorite pieces' of Elvis for sure. Sad, that none of these guys could ever get a real life, and live their entire lives sadly believing People believe them, in hope to hide who they really are....which I find to be, totally uneducated no-bodies seeking public (mainly women's) attention thru their multiple personality disorder and, or, sick fascination to become their idol and most likely the man they wish they could (ahem) .... yuck! YOu should do an article on my story! 'Dating the ghosts of Elvis' . Pretty funny story, which would make a lot of these guys go back into the closet!
With he penchant for lying about his past, it seems Mr Smith is more likely to be Joe Arpaio's love child.
@Rico Austin I want to read your book. Dennis is a pathological liar and has completely lost touch with reality. I know this because I was married to him when he says he met his birth mother. I would have known that if it happened. In the new book, he claims his second marriage was annulled. That is a lie. It took years to find him to get a divorce. He attempted suicide on more than one occasion and was hospitalized in a psych ward. I really feel sorry for him. He needs professional help.
On the facebook page ELVIS ' "In The Shadow Of" they provided a link to this article as if it would give legitimacy to his claim... and it will if no one actually reads it. Well, okay. He has 114 "likes" on the page and there probably is a good chance that no one will actually read the article.
Really? reLLY? REALLY? He doesn't look a thing like Elvis!
Lets see the proof not talk the lie.
Hi, folks: I'M Elvis Presley, and I've been hiding in my trailer home here in Salome for years, and I can tell you all right now, that guy is NOT my kid! Thank you, thank you.
lol the King of Rock 'n' Roll married one time and had one child.
If what this fool is saying IS true thenhe should be required to prove it or shut the fuck up.