|Elvis Express Radio News
|SUZANNA LEIGH LOSSES CANCER FIGHT
December 12, 2017 - AP / Elvis Express Radio
|Suzanna Leigh, who co-starred with Elvis Presley in the 1966 musical comedy 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style', has died. She was 72.
Born Sandra Anne Eleen Smith on July 26, 1945, she grew up in Belgrave, England. She began working in films and TV while still a child, appearing as an extra in several British
productions starting at the age of 11, when she appeared uncredited in the 1956 David Niven Comedy / crime flick 'The Silken Affair'.
She changed her name to Suzanna Leigh when she was 11, she took the surname of Leigh after her father told her that actress Vivien Leigh was her godmother. "She said she had
known my father, though she had been to hundreds of christenings and didn't remember mine. "It was about 15 years after she'd done Gone with the Wind, and she was stunning,
beautiful and slender with dark hair. She said she didn't mind a bit if I used her name," she told The Independent in 1999.
She would also appear as an extra in the 1958 classic movie, 'Tom Thumb' (during the "Dancing Shoes" sequence). Suzanna Leigh would go on to appear in 1960's 'Oscar Wilde'
(1960) with Robert Morley and other English productions, including 'It Happened Like This' (1963), 'The Sentimental Agent' (1963) and 'The Saint' (1964).
Then in 1966, she got a break as the Star of the 13-episode French TV series, 'Trois étoiles en Touraine' (Translated as the 'Three Stars'), which every week featured Leigh, her
racing car and a different male lead each week
Leigh, planned to attend London's Opera Ball, costumed as "Madame Du Barry", Leigh had a sedan chair made, along with costumes for five footmen who carried it (and her)
through the streets of the city. Movie producer Hal B. Wallis saw newspaper photos of Leigh's elaborate stunt and imported the 20-year-old blonde to Hollywood for a role in the
1965 movie 'Boeing, Boeing' starring Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
1966 saw her land the co-star role in the Paramount Pictures musical, 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style', starring Elvis Presley. She would play Judy Hudson, who would be one of Elvis'
love interests and along the way sings nine new songs, including "Scratch My Back (Then I'll Scratch Yours)," "A Dog's Life" and "Queenie Wahine's Papaya."
"Elvis and I were both under contract to Hal Wallis, who was known as the star maker," Leigh once recalled. "I remember the day that Hal said that I would be making my next movie
with Elvis. I was an incredible fan of his, and then he said you'll be filming it in Hawaii. Wow. Elvis was a fabulous actor, very underrated by a lot of the conventional theater people."
She also had this to say about her most famous co-star, "Elvis Presley's kisses held an intensity that melted my very being. I slipped my arms around his neck and our bodies
entwined. This was all madness, but we didn't stop. A person could go to the gallows with such a kiss lingering on their lips, knowing life had been good".
Leigh is also on record as saying she was due to star again with Elvis Presley in another of his movies, 1967s 'Easy Come, Easy Go', but according to her Tom Parker (Elvis'
manager) was the reason why she never made the movie? She would later move to live in Memphis, Tennessee in order to be close to Graceland where she would set up Fan Meet
& Greets during January's Elvis Birthday Celebrations and Augusts Elvis Week where fans would buy tickets to hear her talking about her time with Elvis.
Following her brush with major studio stardom, she resumed her English acting career, showing up on movie screens, most regularly in chillers. Her 1998 autobiography is entitled
"Paradise, Suzanna Style".
While her most famous movie role was with Elvis as Judy Hudson in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, what has now turned out to be her last ever movie roll was in the 2015 movie, 'Grace
of The Father" in which she played the part of... Judith Hudson.
Her daughter, actress Natalia Leigh, announced her death in a Facebook post on Monday...."My warrior and my heart died at 5:30PM, on her terms," she wrote. "It was time for
JESUS to take her home. The world will forever be a little less light and magical. And my life has now and will be forever changed. I personally died a little today as she was my
everything and I will never be the same."
Leigh had been fighting Stage 4 liver cancer since September 2016, and a GoFundMe page had been set up in her name to assist with medical expenses.
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|The 21 year old Suzanna Leigh with Elvis in 1966 and pictured in 2016 aged 71