Elvis Presley starred in more than 30 films during his movie career. In the middle of it all, he filmed three movies in Hawaii – Blue Hawaii, Girls! Girls! Girls! and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. He shot the final movie in 1966 where he starred alongside the Chinese actress Irene Tsu.
Elvis seemed to take a liking to Irene on the set of the movie. So much so that he tried to look after her when she was asleep.
Irene looked back on working with Elvis in her 2020 book A Water Color Dream: The Many Lives of Irene Tsu. She recalled wanting to have a nap on set during one tough shoot.
The star was escorted to a private room where she was going to receive a massage before taking a nap.
But when she woke up, she was left stunned as she found herself staring into the eyes of Elvis.
She wrote in her book: “When I came to, I smelled a strong scent of baby powder and milk. I opened my eyes … and there was Elvis just 12 inches from my face applying a cold compress on my forehead!”
Irene was so starstruck by Elvis’ presence in this scenario that she didn’t think it was really happening. She continued: “For an instant, I thought I was hallucinating. No words came to my lips, but I think I did manage somewhat of a smile. When in doubt, smile. That’s my motto.”
Elvis seemingly mistook her napping in the middle of the day as a sign of her being unwell. She quickly explained what she was doing and he made his exit. But not before she did one last thing.
Irene wrote: “I shut my eyes and burnt every detail of his face and his smell into my mind. Wow! I never met anyone that looked like Elvis. He was just so beautiful.”
Later in the shoot, Irene worked even closer with Elvis in Hawaii. They started a strong friendship, and they particularly connected over their shared Christian views.
Eventually, once the film wrapped up, they parted ways – but not before Elvis gave her some advice that she kept to for years to come.
Irene said that the final time she met with Elvis he was keen to leave her with some sage wisdom.
Elvis told her: “Don’t let the light inside of you die out.”
While this is good advice for anyone, Irene added that she didn’t think it was something he himself followed.