Elvis Presley, one of the most culturally significant figures of the 20th century, would have turned 81 today, had he not keeled over on a Graceland toilet in 1977.
The "Fat Elvis" found slumped on his bathroom's shag carpeting at age 42 is often derided as a bloated, pill-popping tragedy — which of course he was.
But just because the late period King wasn't as svelte as his fifties teen idol incarnation or as feral as his leather-clad 1968 comeback doesn't make Fat Elvis any less legendary, especially in terms of his mind-boggling appetite.
This being his birthday, let us remember Presley's porky prime, courtesy of Junkee's "Heartburn Hotel: Eating Like Elvis in His Final Days":
1. When he wasn't bedding groupies, gobbling 'ludes, or striking karate poses, Big "E" consumed between 10,000 and 12,000 calories per day. That invariably included at least two pan-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches, his favorite snack. He washed down each meal with "several Pepsis."
2. According to the book Elvis For Dummies, "he once ate 30 cups of yogurt, 8 honeydew melons, and a hundred dollars worth of ice cream bars in one night."
3. Elvis reportedly flew 1,300 miles on his private jet ("The Lisa Marie") to treat his Memphis Mafia pals to the greatest sandwich he ever ate, called the Fool’s Gold Loaf. This beautiful monstrosity was comprised of “an entire loaf of Italian bread, hollowed out, and filled with peanut butter, grape jam, and an entire pound of bacon.”
4. In his final years, Elvis required his Graceland chef to stock the following items at all times:
- fresh, lean, unfrozen ground meat
- one case regular Pepsi
- one case orange drinks
- hot rolls
- cans of biscuits (at least six)
- hamburger buns
- cans of sauerkraut
- at least three bottles of milk, including half & half
- thin, lean bacon
- peanut butter
- banana pudding (to be made each night)
- ingredients for meat loaf and sauce
- ice cream (vanilla and chocolate)
- shredded coconut
- fudge cookies
- gum (Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit — three of each)
5. His final meal was pretty sweet, too, if a little dainty: four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies.
Happy Birthday, Elvis. When it came to living large, you definitely lived up to your motto of "Taking Care of Business."