Stella Patchouli talks to EIN

Her name may not be immediately familiar, but Stella Patchouli was Elvis' friend.

The 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.

EIN was lucky enough to recently talk to Stella in a revealing, candid interview about her amazing auto-biography, 'Tears of a Shadow'.

Buy Tears of a Shadow

EIN: Stella, your autobiography is amazing story. You have experienced an incredible life. Apart from your friendship with Elvis, what have you appreciated the most?

SP: 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.

EIN: 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?

SP: To write an autobiography one must go back in time and relive it all over again. It was a challenging process.

EIN: 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?

SP: 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, huh!

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.

EIN: 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?

SP: I was a runaway kid and the Crazy Horse saved my ass. It was great.

EIN: 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?

SP: 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.

EIN: In Tears of a Shadow you mention your lost opportunity to become a film star. How painful is that missed opportunity to Stella Patchouli today?

SP: 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.

EIN: How have those struggles influenced who you are today?

SP: 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.

EIN: 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?

SP: 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?

EIN: Stella, what is it you remember most about Elvis?

SP: 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.

EIN: How did you meet Elvis and how would you describe your relationship with him?

SP: 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.

EIN: In Tears of a Shadow you are very honest about your feelings for Elvis. What do you regret, if anything, about your relationship?

SP: 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, would've, should've?

EIN: As someone close to Elvis during his final years, do you think his death could have been avoided?

SP: 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 tragedy.

EIN: 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?

SP: 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 now.

EIN: The Memphis Mafia are a group fans seem either to love or hate. Please share with us your views on the Memphis Mafia.

SP: 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.

EIN: If you had your live to live over, is there anything you would do differently?

SP: 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.

EIN: What is Stella Patchouli doing today?

SP: 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.

EIN: Stella, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

Stella Patchouli was interviewed by EIN's Nigel Patterson on 6 March, 2004

Read EIN's review of Tears of A Shadow

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