Stella Patchouli talks to EIN
name may not be immediately familiar, but Stella Patchouli
was Elvis' friend.
daughter of an aristocrat, Stella escaped Switzerland at age
13, embarking on her own incredible life's adventure which
included working in Paris' famous Crazy Horse Saloon, lovers
such as Omar Shariff and Maximllian Schell, and friendship
with The King.
was lucky enough to recently talk to Stella in a revealing,
candid interview about her amazing auto-biography, 'Tears
of a Shadow'.
Tears of a Shadow
Stella, your autobiography is amazing story. You have experienced
an incredible life. Apart from your friendship with Elvis, what
have you appreciated the most?
I treasure the ten years of unconditional love I spent with my Persian
kitty, my little girl Marilyn. Sadly, she died in my arms on Christmas
Eve 2003 from complications of pneumonia.
Tears of a Shadow is, at times, a bittersweet account where you
have not been afraid to bare your emotions. Did you find it easy
to write or was it an emotionally mixed experience?
To write an autobiography one must go back in time and relive it
all over again. It was a challenging process.
The celebrities mentioned in Tears of a Shadow read like an 'A'
list Who's Who. Of all the famous people you have counted as friends
and lovers, which ones have been most important to you, and why?
Elvis, of course! We are in need of an "Elvis Presley's Day" holiday
in America. There's a definite void in our calendar. Now, as far
as exchanging bodily fluids with that of an A-list celebrity, I
guarantee that it will not make you taller, happier, or richer.
Unless you become Mr. Who's wife, share his A-list-bank account,
then give him a kick in his A-list butt and get the mansion too,
EIN: You have lived life in the 'fast lane' in some of the
most glamorous and exciting locales around the world. After
experiencing the bright lights and excitement of cities such
as Paris, how did adjust to the much different lifestyle and
pace of Memphis?
SP: I didn't adjust. It was a cultural shock. Today, I realize
Memphis is all it's supposed to be, the Nazareth of Rock 'n'
Roll. It's a holy place.
The Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris is very famous in Europe but less
well known elsewhere. Please tell us about it and what it was like
being a headline act at such a colorful establishment?
I was a runaway kid and the Crazy Horse saved my ass. It was great.
Stella, it is evident in Tears of a Shadow that like all people,
you faced personal demons and self doubts during your incredible
life's journey. Can you share some of those with us?
As a recovering alcoholic and addict I am still battling those demons.
I've learned to face them without turning the other cheek. The journey
has not ceased yet.
In Tears of a Shadow you mention your lost opportunity to become
a film star. How painful is that missed opportunity to Stella Patchouli
Well, many promises were made before bedtime such as, "I'll make
you a movie star, babe!" But I knew that they knew I was not a natural
born actor. No tears were shed over that lost opportunity.
How have those struggles influenced who you are today?
If you climb to the mountaintop of your dreams, you must find a
way back down to earth or you'll run out of oxygen, 'out of gas'
as Elvis used to put it. That's where I am now, down-to-earth. It's
a great high for me because I earned it the hard way.
We said in our review of Tears of a Shadow that the Stella Patchouli
story would make a great movie. Are there any plans in this respect?
A major movie studio in Los Angeles optioned the original manuscript
of 720 pages for an eventual feature film or TV series. The VP in
charge is no longer, and we had to let go of that intent. I've had
some offers since, but frankly, I can't think of anyone playing
the role of Elvis. Can you?
Stella, what is it you remember most about Elvis?
I was a kid in Switzerland when I heard Elvis' voice and saw his
photograph. I thought he was a god in disguise. Then, the last 24
months of his life where I met him and learned to know him, I remember
his helplessness, his struggle to stay alive; a king without ammo
fighting his own army--all those boys and the few gals. He lost
the battle, obviously.
How did you meet Elvis and how would you describe your relationship
I arrived at the Vegas Hilton for a one-night, first time visit
in August 1975. It so happened that Elvis had arrived the same day
and was in the same building. Hours later, we were introduced. There
was an instant, mutual attraction. It remained platonic due to a
string of circumstances, which I point out in my memoir.
In Tears of a Shadow you are very honest about your feelings for
Elvis. What do you regret, if anything, about your relationship?
If I'd known more about Elvis in the romance department then, I'd
have handled the situation differently. I realized a day too late
that he was not in a relationship and in fact quite available. Could've,
As someone close to Elvis during his final years, do you think his
death could have been avoided?
No. If we could go back in time and try to change Elvis' doom, not
even Mel Gibson could've saved him. The power of Elvis' myth is
preserved because he had to die young; crucified. It's an American
Linda Thompson and you were close friends. Have you been in contact
with Linda since Tears of a Shadow was published and if yes, what
was her response to your book?
I have not been in contact with Linda. As mentioned in my book,
a friendship has many phases. Ours had many faces, faded away by
The Memphis Mafia are a group fans seem either to love or hate.
Please share with us your views on the Memphis Mafia.
The Memphis Mafia began like a waft around Elvis and gained more
power as time went by. Elvis lived and died in a trap - the eye
of that hurricane. The day he died, he knew that the first book
of treason written by bodyguards he'd fired months earlier, was
being put on shelves in Tennessee from all places about the same
date as his upcoming concert. Only the Devil could have wished him
such a grand finale.
If you had your live to live over, is there anything you would do
I did live my life over again when writing my memoir. I didn't even
try to change anything. I have no clue what is to come.
What is Stella Patchouli doing today?
Aside from working on writing the screenplay version of "Tears of
a Shadow", I'm in the process of creating a foundation in memory
of an angel, my little girl Marilyn. One day, we'll be reunited
through all eternity. I'm only borderline aloof.
Stella, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
Patchouli was interviewed by EIN's Nigel Patterson on 6 March, 2004
EIN's review of Tears of A Shadow
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