Danielle McCarthy


In photos: A rare glimpse into Elvis Presley’s life before he became the king

In photos: A rare glimpse into Elvis Presley’s life before he became the king

The year was 1956 when the soon-to-be king Elvis Presley released his first, self-titled album and made his film debut in Love Me Tender.


Earlier that year, recording company RCA hired Alfred Wertheimer to photograph the 21-year-old star. Wertheimer shot nearly 3,000 photographs that year of the young up-and-comer whose meteoric rise to fame was still come. 

The Kiss: Alfred Wertheimer's work, including this iconic shot of Presley before a show, provided an intimate look at the young star

Unguarded: 'He got there right when he was still a human being,' Wertheimer's niece Pam told the New York Times, since in later years Elvis would be kept sequestered from the press

Crooner: Wertheimer is responsible for some of the most famous - and only - photos of the King, as his zealous manager Colonel Tom Parker hid his talent from the press in later years 

Unrecognized: The face that sparked the screams of millions of fans was still rarely recognized when Presley (right) dined in a restaurant in Jefferson, Virginia, in 1956

On their feet: After Elvis's death in 1977, Wertheimer said the calls for his work came pouring in with renewed interest in the singer's early life

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