Why ‘M*A*S*H’ Star Elliott Gould Told Elvis Presley to ‘Shut Up’

Elvis Presley Elliott Gould
Everett Collection
Everett Collection

Turns out, Elvis Presley was not immune to the thrill of gossiping, just like the rest of us. Actor Elliott Gould is opening up about meeting the “Suspicious Minds” singer and how Presley wanted to know all the details of his love life, but he was not exactly keen to divulge them.

Gould revealed that he met Presley backstage after one of his performances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. He explained, “I had always wanted to meet Elvis. I was deeply involved in musical comedy. I was a chorus boy on Broadway — I was brought up and trained that way. So I asked if we could arrange for me to come and meet Elvis… and I got it. I brought Joey [Walsh], the guy who wrote ‘California Split’ with me, to see Elvis. Joey and I went into the dressing room and Elvis opened the door. He had a gold-gilded .45 pistol in his belt. His father, Vernon, and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, were in the room.”

WHIFFS, Elliott Gould, 1975

Everett Collection

Gould was surprised when Presley quickly asked, “Why did you and Barbra break up? You’re two of my favorite people.” Gould and Barbra Streisand were married from 1963 to 1971 and had one son together named Jason Gould. Gould admitted that he told Presley to “shut up,” and never revealed why they split up. Now, he’s said that they simply grew apart, despite being one of Hollywood’s “It” couples at the time.

American actress and singer Barbra Streisand receives a kiss from her husband, actor Elliott Gould, on her opening night in 'Funny Girl' at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London, 13th April 1966

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Gould also revealed that he gave Presley some sage advice after seeing how everyone was treating him. When Presley’s father Vernon Presley and his manager Col. Tom Parker left the room, Gould encouraged Presley to be true to who he was.

STAY AWAY JOE, Elvis Presley, 1968

Everett Collection

He shared, “I said, ‘I ain’t crazy, Elvis. I’m scared just like you. Your daddy and the Colonel aren’t going to let us be alone for too long. You’re a cash cow to these people. Why don’t you come out and just be free, just be a free spirit? Leave Elvis here and come out and be free.'” Unfortunately, Presley was never truly free because he passed away just a few years later, in 1977.

Collecting Elvis
Want More?

Collecting Elvis

July 2020

What are the biggest Elvis collectables?

Buy This Issue