The Bizarre Accident That Landed Elvis Presley in the Hospital During Filming for 'Jailhouse Rock'

Elvis Presley was an icon even when he was famous, but he may have reached even greater heights after his untimely demise. Presley was a hit singer and actor that became popular in the ‘50s. His larger-than-life persona made him one of the biggest sex symbols of the 20th century. However, his life ended in tragedy when he died at just 42 years of age.

Who was Elvis Presley?

Presley was born in 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. At the age of 11 in 1946, the future hit singer was given a guitar by his mother whom he adored, Gladys. Things really took off when Presley worked on his first record under Sun Studio with Sam Phillips, according to Biography.com. From there he started performing, and by the mid-‘50s, he was a huge success. In 1955, Presley had a contract with RCA Victor (Records), and he became even more famous. He would work as a musician and an actor throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. 

However, Presley did spend some time in the military when he was drafted. In 1958 he enlisted in the army and was stationed in West Germany, where he would encounter his future wife, Priscilla Presley, who was just 14 at the time of their first meeting in 1959. Presley left the army in 1960, but he would continue his relationship with Priscilla. They would marry in 1967 and subsequently divorce in 1973 after having a daughter together, Lisa Marie.

Presley’s life was brought to a halt in the ‘70s. It was initially reported that Presley died from a heart attack on August 16, 1977 at just 42 years of age. However, it’s widely known that his death was impacted by his prescription drug abuse. Toxicology reports showed numerous drugs in his system. He was known to abuse drugs, including opiates, according to PBS.

The bizarre accident that landed Elvis Presley in the hospital during filming for ‘Jailhouse Rock’

Presley starred in the iconic movie Jailhouse Rock in 1957. The film was directed by Richard Thorpe and was extremely popular upon its release. Presley played the main character, Vince Everett. Everett was previously in prison for manslaughter after getting into a fight in a bar. He gets out and becomes a hugely successful singer, according to IMDb.

But Presley would injure himself in a bizarre accident while filming. According to the official blog for Graceland, the sprawling Memphis, Tennessee home where Presley resided, Graceland.com reports that Presley was performing the dance routine for an iconic moment in the movie at the time.

Fans who have seen the film know exactly which moment that we’re talking about. Presley sings his famous “Jailhouse Rock” and moves his hips to the music in a choreographed dance number. But when it came time to perform for the camera, the cap of his tooth became dislodged and he inhaled it into his lung. It must have been a very scary moment for everyone around him, and Presley had to have surgery to have the cap removed. The operation involved separating the vocal cords, but luckily there was no lasting damage. According to the website, it’s the reason why Presley’s character, Vince Everett, has an injury to his throat and vocal cords at the end of the movie when he’s punched in the throat.

Luckily for Presley, he recovered from the injury and went on to make more music and films before his death in 1977.

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