Elvis Shows Generosity Again


“It’s almost like a fairy tale,” said Mrs. Marian Cocke, a nursing supervisor at Baptist Hospital. “It’s like something you read about.”

Yet all she had to do was reach out and touch the new, sparkling white Pontiac Grand Prix she received from singer Elvis Presley to know that it wasn’t.

She said the singer, who was admitted to the hospital under heavy security Thursday night for tests related to “fatigue,” asked her yesterday if she’d like to have a new car. “I told him I didn’t really need a new car,” said Mrs. Cocke, who drove to work in her 1971 Ford Galaxy.

“He said the car I had was just too old, and said, “You’ve got to have a new car.”

The next thing she knew, said Mrs. Cocke, Presley called her over to the window of his 18th floor suite around noon and told her to look at a new car parked in the lot below. “He gave me the keys and said it was mine,” she said. “And when I got down there, I looked up and he was smiling and waving from his room.

Mrs. Cocke said her famous patient, whom she first met last January when he was hospitalized for what was described as an intestinal blockage, has been in high spirits and resting comfortably so far.

“As a patient, he’s not demanding at all,“ said Mrs. Cocke. “He’s a night person, and sleeps later in the day than most people do, but we have a wonderful hospital dietician who’s good at sending him food when he needs it,” she said.

Never before, she said, had we met a person who derived such pleasure by making others happy. “He told me, ‘It makes me happy to see you happy,’ “ said Mrs. Cocke.

“We assume fatigue is the primary problem,” said Maurice Elliot, hospital vice president. He said Presley’s personal Memphis physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, would inform him if any “underlying reasons” for the fatigue conditions are found.

Elliot said calls have come inquiring into Presley’s health from as far away as London and Amsterdam.

“We even had a fellow from Holland drop by,” said Elliot. “He said he represented a group of 250 people who traveled all the way to Las Vegas just to see his show.”

He said the group was disappointed to find that their idol had cancelled out three days ago, but they pooled their money and sent a messenger, laden with flowers and a pair of wooden shoes, to pay their respects.

“It kind of moves you” said Elliot.

Henry Bailey, Press-Scimitar Staff Writer. Memphis, 23 August 1975