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Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:12 pm

Earlier tonight, I attended a special event at the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, to commemorate Elvis' birthday. It was a special event with guests Jerry Schilling and Mike Stoller. Here's the little blurb about it:

Image

Nothing really earth-shattering but a great night nevertheless. Mike was very witty in his retelling of how he and Jerry Lieber met at a young age and how they eventually wrote for Elvis. Jerry shared his memories of meeting Elvis while playing football and how he eventually was asked to work for him. They were both on stage for about an hour and really didn't go into anything beyond their early days with Elvis. Some great stories and fond memories from two guys who were there during a crucial part of his life. At the end of their talk, the host introduced another person from the Elvis universe who was also in attendance: Wink Martindale. He got up and spoke a few minutes about meeting Elvis. He was there with his wife, Sandy Ferra who was in the audience. Sandy managed to say a few words when a person from the audience asked a question regarding Elvis' drug problem. She got up and said that Elvis had "raised her" and that he was the most respectful and nicest man she had ever met. This was said at a moment when it seemed that everyone's questions were focused on Elvis' drug problem and final years. Needless to say, the audience clapped after Sandy's comments.

Anyway, while I was waiting in line to have my books signed by the gents, a woman I had met in line had just returned to the line from speaking to Sandy Ferra one on one. She had told her a few things like the only reason why Elvis ended up the way he did was because he never had a great wife to be there and support him....apparently he had "no one to talk to." Priscilla, according to her, was a very messed up person and wasn't a good wife at all. Elvis had no support from her and that led to his eventual drug problem. On the subject of drugs, Elvis apparently took pain killers for his hands which were abused roughly due to karate. He took sleeping/wake-up pills because of how hard they made him work on the road. His death was brought upon by his heart finally giving out and contrary to popular belief: drugs were not the cause of his death. His heart simply "gave up." It wasn't as bad as people made it seem to be. She said that Sandy was a close friend of Elvis' and was with him till "the end."

Sandy, obviously, has the right to believe whatever she wants but I certainly found it to be an interesting point of view--if not slightly naive. I question just how close she stayed with Elvis even during the final years so I'm not sure she has any true perspective on the situation. Again, nothing here that is earth-shattering but just an interesting little tid bit that came out of tonight's panel discussion. Any thoughts on Sandy's perspective on Priscilla and Elvis' troubles?

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:41 pm

A common view, especially among southern women, in my experience.

One question: when and where was this event advertised? I live out here, and have been there. Dang!

rjm

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:21 pm

Elvis had no-one to talk to? His house was filled with people 24/7! Not to mention Scatter!

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:47 pm

Rediculous opinion. If Careless Love by Guralnick holds any truth (and I do not doubt that), any woman would have left Elvis by 1972. He was surrounded with yes-men 24/7 and did not take 'NO' or more constructive advise from anyone. Priscilla was basically saving her own live and giving their daughter somewhat of a regular youth. That's how I see it.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:42 pm

Yeah I really didn't buy into it too much....I just politely listenend and smiled. Everyone likes to think they have the "real" reason why/how Elvis died but it's pretty clear just how and why things went down during those years.

Had a few moments to talk to Jerry Schilling and he was very, very nice as usual. About a thousand questions came swirling in my head but I settled on an easy one...because of his consulting work with a few projects lately such as EOT and "Prince From Another..." I asked him if we'd ever get a full "Elvis On Tour" DVD box set. He kinda furrowed his eyebrows and said..."we just put one out a few years ago." I asked if he meant the single DVD. He said yeah. I said, yes but there are hours and hours of footage of concerts and rehearsals available too. He said "I think we're going to be using that for a much a larger project." Hmm...uh ok. I had a feeling that he wasn't aware of the outtakes or how much EOT was left in the can. From his answer, it gave me no indication that an EOT box was on the table--anywhere. At least, we know that he isn't working on one at the moment.
Last edited by Justin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:44 pm

rjm wrote:A common view, especially among southern women, in my experience.

One question: when and where was this event advertised? I live out here, and have been there. Dang!

rjm


Sorry RJM...would've been great to see you there.

You should get on the Grammy Museum's email list so you're made aware of their events. Also check in on their website because they list all their events there. They don't really advertise much except maybe Facebook. But their website is up to date.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:17 pm

Can someone clarify just how "in the know" Sandy could have been during the 70's? I know that Sandy and Elvis were close in the early 60's...but did she still have intimate knowledge of Elvis during the later years? Were they still in contact then?

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:31 pm

Not any woman had left by 1972. Many more will follow the next 5 years. Linda stayed with Elvis, saved him, loved him very much, even 10 times than Priscilla did.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:42 pm

I don't think Priscilla leaving Elvis had much to do with him dying.

It might be true that Priscilla was not interested in Elvis as a person or that she wasn't as supportive of his problems as she could have been.

But i don't see how that had anything to do with Elvis' dying because his drug problems started before him and Priscilla got together.

He had unhealthy eating habits and contrary to popular belief i don't belief he was as hearbroken over the divorce as some say.

When you do drugs and led an unhealthy lifestyle you have to shape up at some point or you'll die.

Even if Elvis had the greatest wife in the world he still dies when he did.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:46 pm

Justin wrote:Can someone clarify just how "in the know" Sandy could have been during the 70's? I know that Sandy and Elvis were close in the early 60's...but did she still have intimate knowledge of Elvis during the later years? Were they still in contact then?


From what i heard Sandy saw Elvis quite a bit until he got married to Priscilla.

She dated Elvis off and on throughout the 60s and worked on some of his movies as an extra/ background dancer.

I read Sandy say that she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 but i haven't heard her say that she kept in touch with him throughout the 70s.

The way she told the story when she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 she talked as if she hadn't seen him in a while.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:52 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Not any woman had left by 1972. Many more will follow the next 5 years. Linda stayed with Elvis, saved him, loved him very much, even 10 times than Priscilla did.


I am aware of that. I meant that any sain woman would have left the building after a marriage in which she was the main attraction to put it politely.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:02 pm

brian wrote:
Justin wrote:Can someone clarify just how "in the know" Sandy could have been during the 70's? I know that Sandy and Elvis were close in the early 60's...but did she still have intimate knowledge of Elvis during the later years? Were they still in contact then?


From what i heard Sandy saw Elvis quite a bit until he got married to Priscilla.

She dated Elvis off and on throughout the 60s and worked on some of his movies as an extra/ background dancer.

I read Sandy say that she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 but i haven't heard her say that she kept in touch with him throughout the 70s.

The way she told the story when she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 she talked as if she hadn't seen him in a while.


I wouldn't be surprised by that. Her active relationship with Elvis seemed to have ended in the late 60's. I can't really say I'd take her word on any details that had happened in the next 10 or so years. Again, she's entitled to her opinion but I wanted to confirm just how "in the know" she could have been during that period.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:25 pm

Justin wrote:
brian wrote:
Justin wrote:Can someone clarify just how "in the know" Sandy could have been during the 70's? I know that Sandy and Elvis were close in the early 60's...but did she still have intimate knowledge of Elvis during the later years? Were they still in contact then?


From what i heard Sandy saw Elvis quite a bit until he got married to Priscilla.

She dated Elvis off and on throughout the 60s and worked on some of his movies as an extra/ background dancer.

I read Sandy say that she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 but i haven't heard her say that she kept in touch with him throughout the 70s.

The way she told the story when she saw Elvis in Vegas in 1976 she talked as if she hadn't seen him in a while.


I wouldn't be surprised by that. Her active relationship with Elvis seemed to have ended in the late 60's. I can't really say I'd take her word on any details that had happened in the next 10 or so years. Again, she's entitled to her opinion but I wanted to confirm just how "in the know" she could have been during that period.


It's just like when Gordon Stoker, DJ Fontana and Ray Walker have said that Elvis was devastated by his divorce.

None of them were around him in the 1970s but i've heard them all say that in interviews they've done.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:36 pm

Alexander wrote:Rediculous opinion. If Careless Love by Guralnick holds any truth (and I do not doubt that), any woman would have left Elvis by 1972. He was surrounded with yes-men 24/7 and did not take 'NO' or more constructive advise from anyone. Priscilla was basically saving her own live and giving their daughter somewhat of a regular youth. That's how I see it.


Those yes-men you refer to, if any of them would have said -NO- to Elvis they very likely would have been fired.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:37 pm

As the 70s wore on, Elvis kept people away from him. And, the few people that remained around him, kept other people away. Our marvelous Pittsburgh thread gave a prime example. Myrna told Ricky that by that point Sweets only saw Elvis onstage.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:43 pm

A bad diet and poor sleeping habits can kill you as much as anything. Elvis had a really bad diet and really bad sleeping habits.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:48 pm

Bodie wrote:
Alexander wrote:Rediculous opinion. If Careless Love by Guralnick holds any truth (and I do not doubt that), any woman would have left Elvis by 1972. He was surrounded with yes-men 24/7 and did not take 'NO' or more constructive advise from anyone. Priscilla was basically saving her own live and giving their daughter somewhat of a regular youth. That's how I see it.


Those yes-men you refer to, if any of them would have said -NO- to Elvis they very likely would have been fired.


I guess that makes them payroll yes-men.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:04 am

Justin wrote:Earlier tonight, I attended a special event at the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, to commemorate Elvis' birthday. It was a special event with guests Jerry Schilling and Mike Stoller. Here's the little blurb about it:


130108_Grammy Museum_Celebrating Elvis.jpg


Nothing really earth-shattering but a great night nevertheless. Mike was very witty in his retelling of how he and Jerry Lieber met at a young age and how they eventually wrote for Elvis. Jerry shared his memories of meeting Elvis while playing football and how he eventually was asked to work for him. They were both on stage for about an hour and really didn't go into anything beyond their early days with Elvis. Some great stories and fond memories from two guys who were there during a crucial part of his life. At the end of their talk, the host introduced another person from the Elvis universe who was also in attendance: Wink Martindale. He got up and spoke a few minutes about meeting Elvis. He was there with his wife, Sandy Ferra who was in the audience. Sandy managed to say a few words when a person from the audience asked a question regarding Elvis' drug problem. She got up and said that Elvis had "raised her" and that he was the most respectful and nicest man she had ever met. This was said at a moment when it seemed that everyone's questions were focused on Elvis' drug problem and final years. Needless to say, the audience clapped after Sandy's comments.

Anyway, while I was waiting in line to have my books signed by the gents, a woman I had met in line had just returned to the line from speaking to Sandy Ferra one on one. She had told her a few things like the only reason why Elvis ended up the way he did was because he never had a great wife to be there and support him....apparently he had "no one to talk to." Priscilla, according to her, was a very messed up person and wasn't a good wife at all. Elvis had no support from her and that led to his eventual drug problem. On the subject of drugs, Elvis apparently took pain killers for his hands which were abused roughly due to karate. He took sleeping/wake-up pills because of how hard they made him work on the road. His death was brought upon by his heart finally giving out and contrary to popular belief: drugs were not the cause of his death. His heart simply "gave up." It wasn't as bad as people made it seem to be. She said that Sandy was a close friend of Elvis' and was with him till "the end."

Sandy, obviously, has the right to believe whatever she wants but I certainly found it to be an interesting point of view--if not slightly naive. I question just how close she stayed with Elvis even during the final years so I'm not sure she has any true perspective on the situation. Again, nothing here that is earth-shattering but just an interesting little tid bit that came out of tonight's panel discussion. Any thoughts on Sandy's perspective on Priscilla and Elvis' troubles?


Great post. I, too, would have loved to have been there.

As for Sandy Ferra, her view must be colored by a negative experience or three with Priscilla Beaulieu, and a need to protect the memory of her very dear friend. Elvis' complex health and addiction issues in the '70s would not have been solved by a perfect spouse. And her comments on his drug use are simply not accurate.

Interesting question for Jerry. I still suspect there is a nascent "video history" in development, a la The Beatles Anthology, but it seems clear fans will not see it any time soon. I might have asked him if he ever talked about Elvis cutting "Tiger Man" at Sun in 1954. ;-)

Which books did you bring for Schilling and Stoller signatures?
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:32 am

Sad to read that after all these years some still have an axe to grind against Priscilla. What the hell does Sandy feel that Priscilla could've done differently in the years she was married to Elvis ?

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:50 am

Great post, Justin. Glad you enjoyed the event.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:38 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Great post. I, too, would have loved to have been there.

As for Sandy Ferra, her view must be colored by a negative experience or three with Priscilla Beaulieu, and a need to protect the memory of her very dear friend. Elvis' complex health and addiction issues in the '70s would not have been solved by a perfect spouse. And her comments on his drug use are simply not accurate.

Interesting question for Jerry. I still suspect there is a nascent "video history" in development, a la The Beatles Anthology, but it seems clear fans will not see it any time soon. I might have asked him if he ever talked about Elvis cutting "Tiger Man" at Sun in 1954. ;-)

Which books did you bring for Schilling and Stoller signatures?


Thanks Doc. It was a great night and it was a nearly sold out crowd at the Clive Davis Theater, capacity around 200. It was especially great to be around a bunch of Elvis fans and more importantly, it's great to be in the company of people who actually knew Elvis.

I agree with your assessment about Sandy. My immediate reaction was that Sandy was being spiteful towards Priscilla, if not envious. I can't see someone as removed from the inner circle as Sandy was to have that much intimate knowledge about Elvis to know the "real truth." Sandy had long gone by the time Elvis' troubles had become out of control. Her observations very much seem to be that of someone from a far, a person on the outside looking in and not the other way around as she seems to suggest. Her "rated G" version of how things fell apart is appreciated but sugar-coating the facts and putting the blame on Priscilla is really a cheap shot, in my book.

Yeah I decided to go with a relatively easy question to Jerry considering they were moving the line pretty quickly, making sure everyone got their books signed (I got Jerry's "Me and a Guy Named Elvis" signed and Mike signed "Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.") His answer definitely did suggest that any EOT footage would be used for some kind of Anthology--it would only make sense.

It was a great night but way, way too short. During the audience Q&A we only had time for 3 questions. There were probably 50 people whose hands (including mine) would jump up whenever the host turned to us for another question. We could have been there all night discussing Elvis. The whole room was engaged and we all felt like they had just scratched the surface. Mike was so witty throughout the evening that people actually laughed when someone asked why Elvis never performed outside of the US, and Mike replied because The Colonel was an illegal alien. People didn't seem to believe him and when the crowd realized that he was dead serious--you could hear a few gasps in the crowd as people learned of the Colonel's citizenship issue for the very first time, right then and there. Hmm...perhaps an end-all/be-all Anthology DVD set is definitely in need??

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:25 am

Justin wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Great post. I, too, would have loved to have been there.

As for Sandy Ferra, her view must be colored by a negative experience or three with Priscilla Beaulieu, and a need to protect the memory of her very dear friend. Elvis' complex health and addiction issues in the '70s would not have been solved by a perfect spouse. And her comments on his drug use are simply not accurate.

Interesting question for Jerry. I still suspect there is a nascent "video history" in development, a la The Beatles Anthology, but it seems clear fans will not see it any time soon. I might have asked him if he ever talked about Elvis cutting "Tiger Man" at Sun in 1954. ;-)

Which books did you bring for Schilling and Stoller signatures?


Thanks Doc. It was a great night and it was a nearly sold out crowd at the Clive Davis Theater, capacity around 200. It was especially great to be around a bunch of Elvis fans and more importantly, it's great to be in the company of people who actually knew Elvis.

I agree with your assessment about Sandy. My immediate reaction was that Sandy was being spiteful towards Priscilla, if not envious. I can't see someone as removed from the inner circle as Sandy was to have that much intimate knowledge about Elvis to know the "real truth." Sandy had long gone by the time Elvis' troubles had become out of control. Her observations very much seem to be that of someone from a far, a person on the outside looking in and not the other way around as she seems to suggest. Her "rated G" version of how things fell apart is appreciated but sugar-coating the facts and putting the blame on Priscilla is really a cheap shot, in my book.

Yeah I decided to go with a relatively easy question to Jerry considering they were moving the line pretty quickly, making sure everyone got their books signed (I got Jerry's "Me and a Guy Named Elvis" signed and Mike signed "Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.") His answer definitely did suggest that any EOT footage would be used for some kind of Anthology--it would only make sense.

It was a great night but way, way too short. During the audience Q&A we only had time for 3 questions. There were probably 50 people whose hands (including mine) would jump up whenever the host turned to us for another question. We could have been there all night discussing Elvis. The whole room was engaged and we all felt like they had just scratched the surface. Mike was so witty throughout the evening that people actually laughed when someone asked why Elvis never performed outside of the US, and Mike replied because The Colonel was an illegal alien. People didn't seem to believe him and when the crowd realized that he was dead serious--you could hear a few gasps in the crowd as people learned of the Colonel's citizenship issue for the very first time, right then and there. Hmm...perhaps an end-all/be-all Anthology DVD set is definitely in need??


The time is past due. First-generation fans, like my mom, are passing away. Second-generation are next.

What in the hell are the powers that be waiting for? It's very frustrating.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:36 pm

I was very sorry to hear about your mother, Doc. Glad you are back on the board and posting again...hope you are well.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:08 pm

Justin wrote:I was very sorry to hear about your mother, Doc. Glad you are back on the board and posting again...hope you are well.


Thanks.

Re: Sandy Ferra: Blames Priscilla for Elvis' demise

Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:17 pm

priscilla in 2 words : unbelievable & yuk