Elvis Kiss Mystery Solved! Who was the girl in the famous Albert Wertheimer “Elvis Kiss Photo?” March 1956 that year Albert Wertheimer met Elvis Presley. Wertheimer snapped some of the most famous, behind-the-scenes photos of Elvis including the “famous tongue-kiss photo”
Barbara Gray now 75 years old no longer resemble the girl from 1956 famous Elvis Tongue-Kiss Photo. “… hey, what do you want? I was 20 years at the time…”
March 1956 a photographer was assigned to take pictures of a singer. That year Albert Wertheimer met Elvis Presley. Wertheimer snapped now most famous, spontaneous, behind-the-scenes photos of Elvis. Today known as the famous ‘The Kiss’ photo
How did you first meet Elvis? I got this one assignment from RCA. I was thrilled because I was going to work closely with Tommy Dorsey and I was asked to work with Elvis Presley. At that time I had never heard of Elvis. I first met Elvis in his dressing room in CBS TV Studio 50 where he was preparing for his fifth appearance on the Dorsey Stage Show… Elvis looked kinda bored. He was yawning. There was a ring salesman and Elvis had just ordered diamond ring with a horse shoe and horse’s head. Elvis continued to wear that ring for a long time after.
What is the story behind that famous Wertheimer print of Elvis Tongue Kissing the Girl on the Stairwell? It took place in a dark alcove behind the stage of the Mosque Theatre (Richmond, Virginia) about two minutes before Elvis went on stage to perform before 4 thousand people, on June 30, 1956. This female fan said to Elvis. ‘I’ll bet you can’t kiss me, Elvis so there” “I betcha I can”, retorted Elvis
The whole episode took about a tenth of a second. A minute later Elvis was on stage. Just then I was coming down from the men’s room and saw this scene. Of Elvis and the girl flirting, kind of having this private moment. I said to myself, “If I shot this… Elvis may have me fired and I lose my job” But then I said to myself, “What the heck I’ll take the chance…” While I’m having this internal conversation I put the camera to my eye and see These two figures in silhouette with a window background. So I got a little closer and closer and before I knew it and start snapping. Now they block my way so I stand up on the railing to get another angle. I get one picture where Elvis is in close. Then Elvis makes his move… sticks out his tongue… and therest is history.
Famous Elvis Tongue Kiss Photo: Everyone wants to know who is the girl is in the photograph? To this day I’m still am not sure. Ten years ago, I had somebody from the South Carolina claiming it was her and she feels I should be paying her royalties. So I asked, “Look 41 years, how old are you?” She said, “I’m 65″….
However, I suspected that this girl should have been a lot younger. Then I asked her what we were doing the day before and day after this picture was taken. She said, “Well I flew up to Niagara Falls with Elvis on the plane.”
I told her, “Your story doesn’t jibe with the facts, so are certainly not the girl in the picture” Barbara (Bobbi) Owens retorted, “I’m sure I’m that girl….” Today Barbara Gray nee Bobbi Owens has been vindicated and proven to the world she is indeed “The girl in the Elvis kiss photo…”
So I said, “Elvis kissed a lot of girls. You might have been kissed by Elvis but this is not you. Then she set her lawyer on me. As I could prove that she was not the girl in the photo that she claimed to be… but it took me six month to resolve the issue.
You must be proud that this photo has since become an icon of Elvis rock n roll era. Yes, but the biggest thrill was when Diane Keaton was the first to buy that photo from me. “She later wrote that this was the sexiest picture ever taken in the whole world… and I agree with her.