"Love Me Tender" 1956, Elvis poses for wardobe test. 28, 1956, TM & Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film
"Love Me Tender": 1956, Elvis poses for a wardobe test.20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection
"Love Me Tender" 1956, Elvis poses for wardobe test. 28, 1956, TM & Copyright ©20th Century Fox Film
"Loving You"1957, Elvis poses for a portrait to publicize his movie.
"Jailhouse Rock"1957, Elvis in a scene where he is watching a burlesque dancer as Judy Tyler gives him a sly look.egs
Elvis Presley Filming King Creole
"GI Blues"1960, Elvis with six babies (three sets of twins) during the making of the film.
"Flaming Star"1960, Elvis as Pacer Burton on set.
"Wild In The Country"1961, Elvis and Tuesday Weld.
"Blue Hawaii"1961, Elvis on a surfboard.
Elvis Presley in Follow That Dream
"Kid Galahad"1962, Elvis shows what he looks like after he gets slammed around in a remake of an old boxing film.
"Girls! Girls! Girls!"1962, Elvis throws a punch to Jeremy Slate on set.
On the set of It Happened at the World's Fair
"Fun in Acapulco"1963, Elvis with Ursula Andress and Alejandro Rey.
KISSIN' COUSINS, Yvonne Craig, Elvis Presley, Pamela Austin, 1964
"Viva Las Vegas"1964, Elvis and Ann-Margret on the set.
"Roustabout"1964, Elvis holding hands with co-star Barbara Stanwyck between takes.
"Girl Happy" 1965, Elvis Presley comes to the rescue when a fight erupts after Shelley Fabares (seated on piano) tries to do a strip-tease act.
TICKLE ME, Jocelyn Lane, Elvis Presley, 1965
"Harum Scarum" 1965, Elvis on set with Mary Ann Mobley.
"Frankie and Johnny" 1966, Elvis in a scene at the casino.
Salad Girls
"Spinout"1966, Elvis and Jack Mullaney in a poolside scene.
EASY COME, EASY GO, Elvis Presley, Ed Griffin, 1967
"Double Trouble" 1967, Elvis comes face to face with his double.
Elvis Presley in Clambake
STAY AWAY JOE, Caitlin Wyles, Elvis Presley, Maurishka, 1968
On the set of Speedway
"Live a Little, Love a Little"1968, Elvis in bed with Michele Carey.
Elvis Presley in Charro!
"The Trouble with Girls"1969, Elvis with Marlyn Mason.
PTTK402 PW279
"Love Me Tender": 1956, Elvis poses for a wardobe test.
20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection
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Elvis Goes to Hollywood: Pictures of the King in All 31 of His Feature Films

Aug 16, 2017

In 1935, Elvis Aaron Presley was born to humble beginnings in a small home in Tupelo, Miss. But it was clear early on that he would become a star.

After receiving his first guitar at the age of 11, he made his first radio appearance in 1954 on a local program called “Louisiana Hayride.” A year later, his first television appearance was on a televised version of the same show. So perhaps it should be no surprise that his era-defining career was both audio and visual.

While most people know Presley as the “King of Rock and Roll,” he was also a regular in Hollywood, making 31 feature films between 1956 and 1969. (He also made two concert movies.) Although his films were not critically acclaimed, they were beloved by fans and their estimated box office earnings would total nearly $150 million over the years.

Presley made his acting debut in the 1956 Civil War-era western Love Me Tender, in which he played the role of Clint Reno, a man who stayed behind and married his brother's girlfriend after the brother went off to war. The tagline for the film was “You’ll love him tender in the story he was born to play!” (As the the official Elvis Presley site recounts, footage of him singing the title song was added to the end of the film late in the process, after preview audiences were upset over his character's death.)

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Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margret and Elvis promoting the movie "Viva Las Vegas", 1964.Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer Ann-Margret and Elvis promoting the movie 'Viva Las Vegas,' 1964. Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images 

From his first feature film to his last (Change of Habit, 1969), Presley was surrounded by talented costars, from Debra Paget in his first film to Mary Tyler Moore in his last. One in particular, Ann-Margret, left an indelible impression on him and they would remain friends (and rumored lovers) until the day of his death. The Swedish actress and sex symbol starred with him in the 1964 hit Viva Las Vegas.

On the 40th anniversary of his Aug. 16, 1977, death, revisit his 31 films — some memorable and some obscure — in the gallery above. The memory of “The King” is alive and well not only through his music, but also the films he left behind.

Michelle Molloy, who edited this photo essay, is a senior photo editor at TIME

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