In the real world, Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. In common fiction, and in the minds of some in reality, Elvis is not dead. Whether through conspiracy, alien abduction (and later return), or retirement, he's still on Earth (or a variation thereof).
See Also: Elvis Has Left the Planet, where he is outside Earth.
This trope also has applied to some other musicians: for example, Tupac Shakur and hide both have rabid fans that insist both are still alive but just hiding. On the other hand, check out the story below of the folk rocker, Rodriguez, with whom this actually happened! And for an inversion, contrast the "Paul is dead" Conspiracy Theories regarding Paul McCartney.
Slowly became a Discredited Trope as the years passed into what would have been Elvis's old age.
- A radio add had The King talking of how he couldn't resist going to the supermarket to buy the advertised product, "...but people saw me and called the newspapers. So it's back to Pluto!"
- An ad for Kit Kat chocolate bars had several people claim he was alive. Elvis is shown from behind, listening to the interviews stating "I'm not dead, baby. I'm just havin' a break."
- Elvis Shrugged, an Affectionate Parody of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, reveals that the Elvis who everyone thought had died in 1977 was a clone created by Col. Tom Parker and that the real Elvis is living in "Blue Hawaii," having convinced many musicians to disappear from the scene.
- In Hack/Slash, a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Elvis was empowered by Eldritch Abominations for his talent before being whisked away to their dimension. He's dead by the end of Shout at the Devil via Ass Shove.
- In Preacher, Jesse gives a ride to someone who never gives his name, but wears blue suede shoes and looks like an older and fatter version of The King. What we hear of his life story sounds suspiciously familiar as well.
- Defied in MAD. One song parody, "Don't Be Fooled," has Elvis singing that he is, in fact, dead, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.
- In a Superman story about Lex Luthor's legacy when he was thought dead, one of the people claiming to have seen Lex is a familiar looking guy who calls himself Aaron Preston.
- Codex Equus:
- Blue Suede Heartstrings, known as "the King of Music", is a prominent example. Being based on Elvis Presley, Blue's life has been more or less an exact parallel to Elvis' up until he recorded the song "(You're the) Devil in Disguise", at which point he considered quitting performing music altogether due to both the deaths of his parents (especially his beloved mother) and his general disillusionment with the music/movie industry. Luminiferous found him while he was despairing, and the encounter led to Blue quitting his job and performing on his own terms, leading to not only his survival, but his Ascension to godhood.
- Double-subverted with Bossa Nova Heartstrings. He's based on Jesse Garon Presley, the stillborn older identical twin brother of Elvis Presley, so like his real-life counterpart, Bossa Nova came out stillborn while Blue survived. However, he managed to get a life of his own via being adopted and raised by Gavisus Manes, the Alicorn god of Death and Joy, allowing him to "grow" up, and became a psychopomp assisting his father. His attempts to connect with Blue, his long-lost younger twin brother who is living, set off a chain of events that led to Blue discovering that his dead twin is actually "alive" and ultimately Ascending to godhood. Meanwhile, Bossa Nova realizes the mistakes he made with both his brother and adoptive family when his actions get him barred from the afterlife, and with Blue's encouragement, he goes back home and makes amends with his family, eventually leading to him Ascending to godhood as well.
- After Many Dates: Danny and Phantasma: In order to hide it from her father she's dating Danny, Phantasma tells him of a rumor about Elvis' new album.
The Phantom: And they say the king is dead. He's never been more alive. Let me know when it's out.
- In The Power of the Press Luna tries to decide what (imaginary) details to add in order to make a Harry Potter sighting more plausible when it's mentioned in the upcoming Quibbler issue.
She was tempted to add Elvis to the sighting, but only Americans would believe it then. After all, everyone knew that Elvis had been turned into a vampire and was living in Ecuador.
- A weird double-subversion in this Bleach fic titled Remember the King. Elvis is not only dead, but he's also the King of Soul Society. When Aizen and his Espada try to overthrow him, Elvis gives them a Curb-Stomp Battle and seduces Harribel to his side (and the heroes'!) for good measure.
- There was once a (now-removed) X Japan Real Person Slash fic that combined the later-mentioned hide version of this with The Reveal, Tomato Surprise, Drama Bomb, and Alternate Universe. The setting of the fic was around a drunken recluse living out the end of his life in seclusion in Los Angeles, with the story heavily implying that it was about either Yoshiki or Pata who had lost his career. Only at the end, after he has outlived Yoshiki in the alternate universe, and is found dead of a drug overdose, is it revealed that the recluse is none other than hide, who had, in the story, faked his death and gone into seclusion.
- In Bubba Ho Tep, Presley retired to an East Texas retirement home. The person who died was an Elvis impersonator whom Presley switched with when he grew tired of the lifestyle, and the paperwork that proves it was destroyed in a fire. Or so the character insisted, anyway.
- In Death Becomes Her, Elvis is shown to be one of the many who took the immortality potions but had to fake his death to play The Masquerade. He did come back occasionally to grab a headline or two.
- As discussed in Man on the Moon, Andy Kaufman's death was thought by many to be another one of his elaborate hoaxes, and played with when his alter ego Tony Clifton put on an appearance a year after he died. In Real Life, it was his friend Bob Zmuda, who took over the role from Andy long before he died; the movie twists this by having Zmuda watch the performance, thus inviting the question of who's playing Clifton. On top of all this, Kaufman was reportedly Elvis's favorite impersonator!
- Inverted in a roundabout way in Paul: The titular alien claims his government-supplied pot is so strong that it killed Bob Dylan. The others point out that Dylan isn't dead, but Paul implies otherwise.
- Men in Black: Elvis isn't dead, he "just went home". Your guess is as good as ours on this one; it's a movie where Beethoven was almost definitely an alien immigrant and aliens gave us the microwave oven, but Kay also loves messing with Jay's head (when they're alone).
- Ghostbusters (1984): Once the Ghostbusters become a media sensation, Ray Stanz is seen on a talk show where the host asks him "How is Elvis, and have you seen him lately?". Ray is amused, but sadly, we never hear his answer.
- Eddie and the Cruisers. Eddie living is the Plot Twist, but the sequel, Eddie Lives! is a Spoiler Title.
- The whole concept of Elvis Found Alive is that Elvis's death was faked so he could become an agent for the government.
- Good Omens has a Brick Joke to this effect.
- First, a tabloid is described by saying that a typical issue would "tell the world how Jesus' face was seen on a Big Mac bun bought by someone from Des Moines, with an artist's impression of the bun; how Elvis Presley was recently sighted working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines; how listening to Elvis records cured a Des Moines housewife's cancer; how the spate of werewolves infesting the Midwest are the offspring of noble pioneer women raped by Bigfoot; and that Elvis was taken by Space Aliens in 1976 because he was too good for this world." There's a footnote saying, "Remarkably, one of these stories is indeed true."
- Shortly after, there's a scene set in a Burger Lord in Des Moines. The Burger Lord exec who's inspecting it (who happens to be Famine) makes a mental note to fire the cook because he's singing "Love Me Tender" to himself and it's clashing with the franchise-mandated canned music.
- Finally, there's a scene in which a mysterious stranger is playing a video trivia game in a pub. The stranger reveals himself to be Death when the trivia game asks him "What year did Elvis Presley die in?" and he refuses to answer, insisting I DON'T CARE WHAT IT SAYS, I NEVER LAID A FINGER ON HIM.
- Soul Music has a variation on the Good Omens joke — there's a Running Gag that Buddy looks Elvish. By the end of the story, Buddy has died in a crash, yet a new boy at the chip shop looks a bit Elvish.note
- The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries holds that he did die, and was brought back by a vampire who worked at the morgue where they took the body. Only they botched it, so he isn't quite right in the head anymore...
- In Comeback Tour, a novel set in Games Workshop's Dark Future setting, Elvis is a Sanctioned Operative - a private law-enforcement officer - working in the backwater areas of the Deep South. At the climax of the novel, he ends up using his music to defeat the machinations of a Religion of Evil.
- Time Scout has the Church of the Living Elvis, which insists he's a living Messiah.
- One of the Highlander novels, 'Scotland The Brave', said he was an immortal who 'died' because he was getting too famous, also explaining the continuing Elvis sightings through the years.
- Elvis was discovered in Mostly Harmless working as a bar singer in an alien planet. Ford Prefect recognizes him while Arthur Dent doesn't, which is either ironic (because Arthur is from Earth while Ford is an alien) or makes perfect sense (because Arthur is British while Ford traveled the world).
- Robert Rankin's Armageddon Trilogy has Elvis alive and bonded to Barry The Time Sprout, granting him greatly extended lifespan and the ability to travel through time. He maintains several Paper-Thin Disguise identities such as Mr. T. H. E. King and Noah Never.
- An act of the omnibus novel The Tumbleweed Dossier pays tribute to this trope. It is strongly implied that Felix Faraday is Elvis Presley living under an assumed identity are being infected with the Curse of the Vampire in 1977.
- A popular recurring news item in the Weekly World News and other such tabloids. A typical headline is "WAX DUMMY FOUND IN ELVIS'S TOMB!" Other Conspiracy Theories included Elvis faking his own death, working at a supermarket in the midwest, planning a comeback tour for next summer, and having a secret long-lost twin brother.
- In Stephen King's The Stand, a conversation Stu has with Frannie has him describing an encounter he once had with a slightly maniacal, slightly familiar traveler. After the encounter, Stu was convinced he met Jim Morrison, some years after his alleged death.
- There is an Alternate History novel, later adapted into the film Six String Samurai, where a nuclear exchange between the US and the Soviet Union in the 60's has the side effect of Elvis not dying where he did in conventional history, but instead becomes the King Of Las Vegas, and rules the city as an independent city-state for 30 years until his death at the beginning of the story, which concerns finding a successor.
- Go, Mutants! is set in an Alternate History, where among other things Elvis and his stillborn twin brother, Jesse grew up to become a famous duet.
- The 1996 book The Redneck Instruction Book by S. C. Rawls, a handbook on eating, dressing and behaving like a redneck, references this in one entry: "A redneck... isn't sure Elvis is really dead."
- In one episode of Cheers, Carla, an Elvis super-fan who is utterly convinced that Elvis lives, stands vigil for Elvis in the bar on his birthday.
- In the Sci-Fi series The Chronicle, the vampire hunter the crew thought was Elvis was strongly hinted to be his presumed-stillborn twin, Jessie Garon.
- Elvis lives on the paper route of the main character of Eerie, Indiana. This is not a plot in the series itself, it's mentioned by the main character in the opening and the pilot episode to showcase how weird the town is.
- In an episode of the short-lived Canadian TV series Taking The Falls, it turns out that Elvis is still alive, and hiding out at an Elvis impersonator convention.
- The Twilight Zone (1985) episode "The Once and Future King" has the most awesomely absurd theory on Elvis - he was a wannabe lame easy-listening singer who was replaced by the high-quality time traveling impersonator who accidentally killed him. Elvis is not dead simply because he never actually existed, just the music: the result of a Stable Time Loop.
- Subverted in the episode of Renegade called "The King and I". Remo meets a man who doesn't introduce himself as Elvis but prefers to be called the King. Remo himself starts wondering when he gets the man to sing one of Elvis's songs. In the end, however, it turns out that it was Elvis's agent who couldn't cope with his friend's death.
- In the series Johnny Bago, the titular character meets Elvis.
- Lois & Clark:
Look-alike agent: Of course before he died!
- Elvis is elected President on the United States in an alternate timeline.
- Another episode ended with a Spinning Paper headlining Lex Luthor and Elvis living in hiding together in Hawaii.
- In "That Old Gang of Mine":
- Similarly, one of the telltale signs that Quinn Mallory's sliding experiment has worked. (Sliders) He drives past a billboard announcing that Elvis is playing nearby.
- Happens to Remy himself in a world where he is that world's version of Elvis and everyone thinks he's dead but his double of that world is just faking.
- Played with on an episode of ALF. A man named Aaron King moves to the neighborhood and ALF is convinced the man is Elvis (he does look a little like him). ALF confronts him later in the episode, and the man manages to prove he isn't Elvis by picking up a guitar and singing very badly.
- Married... with Children:
- It dedicated an episode around when Peggy believed she met Elvis and telling her story to a club who believe He's Just Hiding!.
- Subverted in another episode. The Grim Reaper (a rather cruel Deadpan Snarker here who takes the form of Peg) tells Al that Elvis didn't go quietly. When he asks if that means he's alive, she implies that he's pretty dumb for assuming that. (In other words, no.)
- One episode of Boy Meets World had a one-off gag where Elvis is one of Alan Matthews' poker buddies.
- Uncle Jesse meets Elvis on an episode of Full House.
- Mulder on The X-Files either really believes this, or has a lot of fun making jokes about it.
Mulder: Do you have any idea how hard it is to fake your death? Only one person in history has ever pulled it off: Elvis.
- In Good Omens Elvis is seen working as a frychef at Famine's fast-"food" restaurant, but the other references to him living are dropped for time.
- The Swedish punk band De Lyckliga Kompisarna has a song where the singer reads a newspaper explaining that "Elvis lever! The king is still alive!" and mentioning he now lives in Härnösand, a small town in northeast Sweden. Link
- Living Colour wrote a fantastically scathing Take That! about this.
- In Bush's song "Everything's Zen" contains the lyric, repeated several times, "I don't believe that Elvis is dead".
- The Swirling Eddies have the song "Outdoor Elvis", detailing the faithful few's search for the King. The lyrics make it sound a lot like the hunt for Bigfoot, or like Christians waiting and hoping for Jesus' return.
- In the non-Elvis variant mentioned in the intro, there are some fans of hide that believe he didn't actually die. These fans have approached hide's survivors and accused them of lying, and once proclaimed he would return, alive and well, to announce a new musical act on the 13th anniversary of his death. When this didn't happen, they became somewhat quieter, but there still is a small faction of hide fandom that sincerely believes this. (There was also a famous Fan Fic, though it was removed from the internet, based on the concept, though the writer was not one of the believers in it, but simply using the idea for an Alternate Universe, mentioned above.)
- Defied in Kirsty MacColl's "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis":
But he's a liar and I'm not sure about you
- "Elvis Has Just Left The Building" by Frank Zappa from Broadway the Hard Way is a song about the fact that Elvis passed away to Heaven, but they want Jesus to bring him back.
- Kate Bush's "King of the Mountain" thematized the rumors around Elvis being alive, the music video has headlines like "Sightings of Elvis in Yeti Colony" on Spinning Papers.
- In the music video to Coldplay's "Chrismas lights", the band is performing the song live at the riverbank of the Thames, with a neon sign saying "Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere", which is Latin for "I believe Elvis yet lives", at the top of the stage.
- "Elvis Ain't Dead" by Scouting For Girls uses the trope in more of a symbolic way: "Elvis isn't dead 'cause I heard him on the radio!"
- "Spelling on the Stone", released by an unknown Elvis impersonator in 1989, deals with this, using the fact that Elvis's middle name is misspelled on his tombstone, as "evidence".
- Bloom County did a couple of strips about Elvis still being alive; in one, he's found working on a county road-crew, in another, he's a sort of beneficent genie, zapping around the world and bringing youth and beauty to selected loyal followers. ("Elvis fans! This is really happening! We swear!")
- The World of Lily Wong had played with it by saying that Elvis was alive because he was actually then paramount leader of mainland China, Deng Xiaoping. This turns into a case of Follow the Leader with other dictators claiming to be dead pop stars, like Muammar Gaddafi being Ricky Nelson and Saddam Hussein being Marvin Gaye.
- In Safe Havens Elvis is said to have chosen to become a merman.
Thomas: That was him!Remora: That was a manatee. Elvis has gotten even larger.
- A Johnboy & Billy Big Show "Johnboy & Billy Playhouse" sketch involved friend of the series Dub Starnes telling his grandson about the time he met Elvis (according to the sketch, Dub was a friend of his father) and being the only guy who wasn't a Yes-Man to the King, criticizing the excessive lifestyle Presley had taken up. The date of the encounter was August 16, 1977; and the end of the sketch reveals Dub's assistant mechanic with a very familiar voice...
- In Mitch Benn Has Left the Building, the last of the Mitch Benn Specials, Mitch says at the beginning that Elvis lives. In the end, he explains that he means Elvis Presley the person died, but ELVIS the cultural phenomenon will live forever.
- Over the Edge has someone who obviously is (but is never referred to as) Elvis operating a bar in the non-Euclidian Al-Amarja Airport.
- A throwaway gag in the Mage: The Ascension convention book Progenitors explains that a common rite of passage among Progenitor students is to replicate a famous figure from history. Of course, the most popular choice is invariably Elvis - meaning that Elvis doesn't just live: he lives and dies over and over and over again every year.
- Subverted in Unknown Armies. The 2nd Edition core book has a chapter on "The Unexplained," which offers up scientific but undiscovered explanations for weird phenomena that show up in pop culture, such as cattle mutilations (caused by a parasite that's unidentified by humanity due to several chance factors), spontaneous human combustion (caused by a rare bacterial infection that gets consumed by the very combustion it caused, leaving no evidence of its presence), and vampires (an Eastern European family with a gene that causes the classic vampire symptoms). Then at the end of the chapter, it gets to Elvis, and the explanation is two words: "He's dead."
- In the game Pandemonium!, all of the bizarre stuff the tabloid press publishes is true. Including Elvis still being alive, and the sample adventure is finding out why the sightings of the King have suddenly stopped.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja - In the issue, "Punch Dracula," The king of vampires brings Dr. McNinja to his moon base, where the doctor discovers that Dracula has been collecting historical figures over the years, among them is Hitler. One room has Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson and Tupac rehearsing at a piano, where they make terrific music together. Elvis doesn't do shit.
- Bruce Lee is there as well. Dracula didn't abduct him, he just jumped to the moon one day because he's that awesome.
- Mary Death- Death says he's never heard of Elvis when answering questions about celebrities he's met during his duites.
- The titular character of King of the Unknown is a No Celebrities Were Harmed incarnation of Elvis. Ever since a supernatural mishap transformed him (into a fat slob) and forced him to fake his death, he dedicated his new secret life to a Men in Black-like Government Agency of Fiction known as the IRSU. In all those years since his "death," he's been protecting a masqueraded world by kicking the collective ass of every supernatural evil imaginable (because All Myths Are True). Agent H, his Mission Control at IRSU, is a similarly still-living Jimi Hendrix.
- In Sam & Fuzzy, the universe's thinly veiled analogue of Elvis is called "Elton Priestly". He was kidnapped by his recording company and dumped on a deserted tropical island to "save him before he ruined his own image" in 1977 when he wanted to pursue his true musical passion — traditional reggae. The record company claimed he "died", because Dead Artists Are Better, and are trying to make him release "previously unreleased tracks recorded before his death" to make more money. He shares the island with (amongst others) similarly thinly veiled analogues of Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur and what appears to be Christina Aguilera or Britney Spears, who're all there for the same reason as him. He becomes a mentor for new arrival Sid, a metal singer who wanted to go into folk music and is eventually freed along with everyone else when Sam brings down Mr. Sin's record label.
- Elvis is never shown directly in El Goonish Shive, but the wanted poster on Mr. Verres' bulletin board lists him as "at large."
- "The King, Multidimensional"
- Not Always Right has this line, from a customer insisting his guitar was played by Elvis:
"What? Elvis isnt dead! I bought it from him in Las Vegas!
- In the NoPixel universe, Tupac Shakur not only faked his death, but casually hangs around Los Santos as a thrill-seeking criminal.
- The Fairly Oddparents plays with this trope a bit, with one notable instance being that Presley is currently residing in an underground night club underneath Dimmsdale's beach.
- Eek! The Cat: In the episode "Honey I Shrunk The Cat", Elvis is alive, if overweight... but this is offset by him being of microscopic size and battling germs mano-a-mano.
- On Captain Planet, Wheeler reads a newspaper and goes, "Elvis is back!? From the army?"
- In Funky Cops, Aaron King (a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Elvis) faked his death so the press would stop harassing him. His family's in on it and he still lives at their mansion, though.
- One of Animaniacs's many Spoof Aesops: "Elvis lives on in our hearts, in his music, and in a trailer park outside Milwaukee."
Yakko: A lot of people are looking for you guys!
- In addition, one of their end credits Couch Gags involved them spoofing the "goodnights" from The Waltons, except instead of saying goodnight to Johnboynote :
Yakko: Good night, Elvis.
Elvis: Uh, thankyouverymuch, uh don't tell anyone I'm here.
- Another episode has the Warner siblings abducted by aliens, at one point Yakko enters a room and finds Elvis together with Amelia Earhart, Bigfoot, and Jimmy Hoffa.
- In addition, one of their end credits Couch Gags involved them spoofing the "goodnights" from The Waltons, except instead of saying goodnight to Johnboynote :
- The Simpsons:
- On The Spectacular Spider-Man, a lot of Mysterio's "spells" are actually just ridiculous Latin phrases. One, "Credo Elvem ipsum etiam vivere," translates to "I believe that Elvis is alive."
- Garfield and Friends has an episode where a newspaper asks for a picture Bigfoot, which Garfield and Jon take... only to discover they missed the part where Elvis had to be on the picture as well. And as they lament the missed opportunity Elvis asks them the time, leading the two plus Odie to do a Double Take.
- Duckman has Cornfed dealing with a massive surge of business coincidentally occurring during a period of time when Duckman is absent from the detective agency busy in the "The Germ Turns" episode. He has apparently taken a few spare moments to track down Elvis, whom he tells to go on home, as he can't stay hidden forever. Amusingly, Elvis reappears in a few crowd scenes in episodes set after this one.
Cornfed: Go on Home. You got to do it sometime.
- In one episode of Bobby's World, Bobby broke his mother's prized bust of Elvis and blamed it on his brother. In the end, a man who mysteriously looked like the bust told Bobby it was best to tell the truth.
- Averted in one episode of The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, where Elvis' ghost appears in a therapy session with Dr. Harvey.
- There is an Elvis-themed slot machine, simply named "ELVIS." The lights behind the name first light up in proper sequence: E-L-V-I-S. Then, they light up in the order: L-I-V-E-S.
- There used to be an Elvis Is Alive Museum in St. Louis until it closed in 2007.
- Elvis turned 80 in January 2015, which should be noted is more than the life expectancy of an American male born in 1935.
- This situation actually happened for the American folk rocker, Sixto Rodriguez, better known as Rodriguez. He recorded two albums in the early 1970s that got some praise but practically didn't sell domestically, although they did enough briefly in Australia and New Zealand to tour a bit there. However, in South Africa, those albums sold spectacularly and he was hailed as an equal of Bob Dylan. Unfortunately, given the country's international isolation because of its tyrannical Apartheid policies, knowledge of this interest was not known outside of it. Eventually, rumors arose in South Africa that Rodriguez had died on stage in a suicide and his mystique grew even more there. Eventually, some fans tried to find out the circumstances of his death, and after considerable digging, eventually contacted Rodriguez's former manager and were stunned to learn that he was alive and well and living in Detroit. (And making a modest but comfortable living between live performances on the local nightclub circuit and some studio work as a session guitarist, contrary to rumours that he was found eking out a living as a busker.) Eventually, they made contact with Rodriguez and invited him to perform in their country. With some reluctance, Rodriguez made the trip and was flabbergasted to be welcomed as a big star with concerts holding 5000+ fans at a time. As he cheerfully quipped to his first audience making his supposedly lost artistic dreams come true after decades, "Thanks for keeping me alive!" These events are covered in the Academy Award-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man.