Suzanna Leigh, the actress who famously played Elvis Presley‘s love interest in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, has passed away. Her daughter, Natalia Leigh, announced her death through a post she shared to her mother’s Facebook page on Monday (December 11).
According to Natalia, her mother passed away earlier that day at 5:30 PM. “It was time for JESUS to take her home,” she wrote. “The world will forever be a little less light & magical.”
I'd like to tell you a story about a star. She shown as bright as the northern star. Her beauty was breathtaking and her…
Posted by Suzanna Leigh on Monday, December 11, 2017
In September 2016, Suzanna was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Natalia eventually established a GoFundMe page for her mother, with all funds raised going toward the cost of Suzanna’s medical expenses.
Born on July 26, 1945 in Berkshire, England, Suzanna began to show an interest in acting while she was still a child. As a pre-teen, she appeared as an extra in a number of British film productions.
Suzanna scored her first credited film role in the 1961 movie Bomb in the High Street. She took on two more movie roles in 1965, appearing in The Pleasure Girls and Boeing Boeing.
In 1966, Suzanna appeared in the signature role of her career when she played Judy Hudson in Elvis’ movie Paradise, Hawaiian Style. Elvis played a helicopter pilot named Rick Richards, who found time to romance Judy in between making plans to establish a chartered flying service in Hawaii.
“Elvis and I were both under contract to Hal Wallis, who was known as the star maker,” The Hollywood Reporter quotes Suzanna as saying on one occasion. “I remember the day that Hal said that I would be making my next movie with Elvis. I was an incredible fan of his, and then he said you’ll be filming it in Hawaii. Wow. Elvis was a fabulous actor, very underrated by a lot of the conventional theater people.”
Following Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Suzanna appeared in a number of other films and television shows, including Lust for a Vampire, The Deadly Bees, and The Fiend. In 2000, Suzanna added the title of “author” to her name after she released her autobiography Paradise, Suzanna Style.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Suzanna spent the later part of her life in Memphis, Tennessee, where she assisted in organizing Elvis-related events and charity functions.
We are so sorry to hear the news of Suzanna’s death. Our prayers go out to her family, friends, and fans during this sad time.