Inside the life of Debra Paget and why Elvis was ‘obsessed’ with her

Debra Paget captivated millions with her beauty and talent, notably starring in Elvis Presley’s debut film, Love Me Tender. Born Dabralee Griffin on August 19, 1933, in Denver, Colorado, she moved to Los Angeles with her showbiz family. Debra, who aspired to be a dancer, began her film career at 14 and gained fame in Broken Arrow (1950). Her most iconic role was in The Ten Commandments as Lilia, a career highlight.

Debra met Elvis on the Milton Berle Show in 1956 and later co-starred with him in Love Me Tender. Elvis was enamored with Debra, considering her the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and even proposed. However, Debra, who was very shy and obedient to her parents, turned him down due to their objections and her feelings for film producer Howard Hughes.

Despite their close bond, Debra saw their relationship as more familial than romantic. She later married actor and singer David Street but always spoke fondly of Elvis. Debra retired from acting in 1964 and now leads a private life at 90.

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