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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. June 30, 1956.

For 55 years , the identity of the girl the young Elvis was kissing in one of his most famous photographs had been a mystery.

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Until 2011, when the mysterious woman made a call to Charleston radio station WTMA to reveal her identity. The U.S. magazine Vanity Fair made the news public.

Iconic are the photos of Elvis and the mysterious woman he kissed backstage, on the stairs, backstage at the Mosque Theater in Richmond Virginia, on June 30, 1956.

Actress Diane Keaton said that “The Kiss” “was the sexiest photograph she had ever seen in her life”.

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Alfred Wertheimer photographed Elvis with the girl, but did not ask her name….

Wertheimer said in an interview that he never thought to find out the mystery woman’s name. “I never realized that these photos would become iconic” he explained.  

Barbara has always said she was not seeking money or fame by revealing her identity. She even signed an agreement in which she waived commercial rights to what is considered one of the best photographs in rock history.

I just wanted the damned photograph to finally have my name on it” she declared.

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Barbara said she had grown tired of being referred to only as “the unknown woman backstage” with a young Elvis in a stairwell at the Mosque Theater in Richmond.

When Barbara Gray first saw Elvis, she didn’t even know him. As Barbara tells it, the day she was photographed with Elvis was the first day she met him. She had boldly called the singer at his hotel when he visited Charleston. The two made plans over the phone to meet a couple of days later in Richmond.

Barbara and Elvis flirted during the lunch hours before his two concerts at The Mosque Theater.

They then took a cab ride to the Auditorium. Barbara in an interview stated, “Elvis was toying with me the whole way and it was only three blocks!“.

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When they arrived at The Mosque Theater, Elvis took her to the aisle, just a few feet from the stage where thousands of fans were waiting for him…and there he started kissing her.

We’re probably all wondering if something romantic happened between them, from what seemed to be a photo session full of chemistry and magnetism…

After spending the day together Elvis managed to seduce her to accompany him to his private compartment on the train that would later take him to New York…. Until someone knocked on the door to tell them the train was leaving… to which she replied “Me too“.

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Whereupon, it was all over that night… They never saw each other again…

Photographs: Alfred Wertheimer.

Information provided by ELVIS. El Chico De Tupelo

Rosa Garcia Mora



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