The Girl Elvis Presley Tries To Hide
Nancy Sharp seems to be the girl in Elvis Presley’s life at this moment. She and Elvis first met when he was making “Flaming Star” at 20th Century-Fox and she was a wardrobe mistress. Elvis was attentive, but if there were any outward indications of romance, they were restrained. When the picture was finished, Elvis went home to Memphis and five weeks later returned for “Wild in the Country,” the Jerry Wald production. Nancy was assigned to this picture at Elvis’ request. The film went into production on location at Napa, California, where these pictures were shot, and it was here that the two were first seen holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, stealing furtive kisses over picnic lunches. Elvis seemed to look to her for approval on the set. And when he happened to wander off to other corners of the set, Nancy was on the job, right behind him. When Elvis had Christmas week off, he planned to head for Memphis. Nancy wanted to fly home to St. Louis for her three-day holiday. They left on
the same plane, along with three of Elvis’s friends. When they arrived in St. Louis early in the morning, they were met by Nancy’s parents, Dr. and Mrs. George W. Sharp (he is a dentist), and taken to their home for breakfast. Three hours after arriving, Elvis and friends left for Memphis. Nancy says. with candor. their being on the same plane was accidental.
Fellow workers on “Wild in the Country” bet Nancy wouldn’t be back in time. They thought she would be in either St. Louis or Memphis. But they were wrong. She was ready for work Tuesday morning after Christmas. And when Elvis returned the following week, he and Nancy greeted each other so casually the crew thought they had either met the day before or that the whole thing was off. However, after a few days, the hand-holding resumed.
Elvis’ Christmas present to Nancy was a jewel box topped by a little ballet dancer which turned round to the strains of “I Love You Truly”—the wedding classic. The choice of music, professional singer Presley says, was accidental.
Most observers agreed this was a new and different Elvis, that the Army had matured him. The surest indication of his change was Nancy herself, a hazel-eyed blonde, slender and collegiate in appearance. She is a far cry from the conventional concept of a sexpot.
She has a frank and friendly manner and is liked and respected by her coworkers. She was always careful not to let her friendship with Elvis interfere with her duties on the set. (Wardrobe people handle clothes for only their own sex, so Nancy had no direct professional association with Elvis.)
Nancy was raised in St. Louis and is a graduate of Washington University School of Fine Arts. She was a costume designing major and a sorority girl. Originally, she had majored in music and sang a couple of seasons in the chorus of the St. Louis Municipal Opera, but changed her major in her sophomore year. She modeled for a season in New York, and then came to Hollywood where she landed a job as wardrobe girl on the Betty Hutton TV show. The duties of a wardrobe woman are exacting. She has nothing to do with the designing of the clothes, but her job requires that she be responsible for each performer’s garments.
She hopes, of course, to go into the field of costume design. Though she looks younger, she must be 25 or 26.
As for Elvis, he admits he no longer feels marriage will affect his career, and if it does, he says, “I can always go back to driving a truck.” (He drives a Rolls Royce and a Cadillac now.) And about Nancy, he admits: “I admire her very much,” adding that respect is very important in marriage, and that marriage is “the happiest way a man can live. . . I saw this in my own home. I’ll know when the right girl comes along.”
He acts as if that girl might have come along.
—BY CAL YORK
Elvis is in “Wild in the Country,” 20th, and stars next in “Blue Hawaii.” Par.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1961