Grease, and in particular Travolta’s Danny, is packed with homages to the style and music of The King, but it also extends to some of the all-girl scenes. The iconic Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee moment in Grease would not be complete without Rizzo’s sarcastic wit peppered throughout. One of the best-loved lines in the song is when the Pink Lady leader, played by Stockard Channing, calls out Elvis Presley himself. She playfully refers to the King of Rock and Roll as she sings: “Elvis, Elvis, let me be. Keep that pelvis far from me.” Chillingly the cast later revealed their horror as they filmed the scene and devastating news broke across the world. Even more disturbingly, Elvis’ name had been swapped into the song to replace another famous star who had died.
Sal Mineo was an American actor who was best known for starring alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. However, in 1976, he was murdered. The Grease writers decided to take the tragic star’s name out of the song.
After that, they put Elvis in instead, little knowing that when they shot the scene for the movie, they would heard the dreadful news of Elvis’ death over the radio.
Randall Kleiser – Grease’s director – later described the “creepy” atmosphere on set that day and everyone’s disturbed reactions.
Grease: Elvis almost played Teen Angel (Image: GETTY)
Grease star John Travolta channeled Elvis (Image: GETTY)
Kleiser said: “It was very eerie. It was all over the news, so everyone knew. We did this number, and everybody kind of looked at each other like: ‘Yeah, this is creepy.'”
Elvis died on August 16, 1977, in his home at Graceland. He was discovered by his new fiancée, Ginger Alden. His daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, was also in the house. His official cause of death was a heart attack.
The King’s’ connection with the Grease movie goes even deeper considering he originally could have had a starring role in it.