Many of Hollywood’s biggest names have taken their turn at playing Elvis Presley over the years. Some performances are particularly memorable; others are... forgettable at best. This is a list of famous actors who played Elvis Presley in films and TV movies. Can anyone, even the greatest of thespians, ever truly capture the essence of an icon like Elvis? Many have tried. Few have succeeded. Still, these actors who have played Elvis Presley no doubt gave it their all, and their efforts are worth celebrating.
Among the most notable Elvis actors are Kurt Russell, who portrayed The King in the 1979 TV movie Elvis, directed by none other than John Carpenter. The film received a Golden Globe nomination, and Russell was nominated for an Emmy for the performance.
Other stars who played Elvis Presley include Don Johnson (opposite Stephanie Zimbalist in 1981’s Elvis and the Beauty Queen), David Keith (in 1988’s Heartbreak Hotel), and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (2005’s TV mini-series Elvis). Several actors have played characters who may or may not actually be Elvis Presley. Bruce Campbell’s bizarre turn as Elvis - or an aging Elvis impersonator - enlivens Bubba Ho-Tep. Robert Patrick played a mysterious celeb known as Mr. Aaron (as in Elvis Aaron Presley) in Lonely Street, and Harvey Keitel was a memorable Elvis (or an impersonator) in 1998’s Finding Graceland.
Whether they upped the camp factor or went for the heartstrings, these actors all put their own unique stamp on Elvis.
- Photo: ABC
Kurt Russell portrayed Elvis Presley in the 1979 made-for-TV movie Elvis.
- Photo: Amazon Studios/Bleeker Street
Michael Shannon took his turn as Elvis in the 2016 comedy-drama movie Elvis & Nixon.
- Photo: Largo Entertainment
Harvey Keitel played Elvis - or someone claiming to be the King - in 1998's Finding Graceland.
- Photo: Vitagraph Films
Bruce Campbell played Elvis (or an Elvis impersonator) living in a Texas retirement home in the 2002 film Bubba Ho-Tep.