Ally

Allyson Adams could hardly believe her eyes when she stumbled upon her father’s typewritten manuscript “Elvis Presley, Singer, Actor, Man” inside a white cardboard box she liked to call her “Daddy’s Box”, and had remained untouched for some 40 years.

Elvis-HarleyDavidson

“Daddy”, as she knew him is to us the American actor Nick Adams who starred in the TV series “The Rebel” as Johnny Yuma, and was well-known in Hollywood circles for hanging out with the likes of James Dean and even dated Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” co-star Natalie Wood for a time. However, famous of all his buddies was his best buddy, the one and only King himself – Elvis Presley.

Presley found Adams while trying to integrate himself with the cool kids in Hollywood, and soon found an everlasting friendship, or bromance, if you will with Nick, who would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award for his work in ‘Twilight of Honor’ in 1963.

NICK ADAMS AND ALLYSON ADAMS VINTAGE

Nick Adams and daughter, Allyson

Nick Adams would meet his demise much the same way Elvis did (a drug overdose in 1968) leaving his daughter Allyson at the tender age of 7 to live with the mysterious legacy of her famous father.

With her help, Nick Adams’ first-hand account of his friendship with the King survives and is being shared with the world in a fantastic publication entitled “The Rebel and the King” with a special forward by Allyson Adams.

With the help of our trusty correspondent John Wisniewski, we were able to learn a bit more about The Rebel, The King, and this fantastic publication from Allyson Adams, herself.


NickAdams + Elvis - EOF Style

JOHN: First, how did Nick Adams meet Elvis Presley and what was their first meeting like?

ALLYSON: It was Elvis that first reached out to my father at 20th Century Fox when Elvis was filming Love Me Tender. My Dad was leaving the studio after an audition when Elvis called his name and walked toward him. My father said that when Elvis first made eye contact with him there was an instant recognition, an immediate connection.

Elvis knew that my father was in Rebel Without A Cause and friends with James Dean and Natalie Wood. Elvis wanted to be part of the young Hollywood crowd even though Dean had already died. My Dad was a go-getter and at that time was someone to “know” because he knew lots of show business people. Elvis was serious about his acting career and he didn’t know a single soul in Hollywood so he asked my Dad to show him the town. And he did. They were young actors who wanted to be great

Elvis Presley

JOHN: Why did they become such good friends?

ALLYSON: Elvis and Nick were both from poor families and understood life’s struggles. For both of them there was only one way and that was UP. They were determined not to go back to their old lives and shared a hunger for fame and food. They loved to eat and I am not kidding. My father goes into great detail about Gladys’ home cooking.  Their mothers were very similar and my Grandmother visited Graceland several times and became friends with Gladys (Elvis’ mother).

NICK ADAMS AND ELVIS PRESLEY +BROMANCE+

I think it was a bromance but not in sexual terms. They just had a lot of fun together and struggled with some of the same demons and insecurities.

They remained friends until my father’s death in 1968. That was the time Elvis was reinventing himself about to make his comeback and they used to jog at 5 in the morning to avoid gawkers. 

They both got a lot of flack and bad publicity for their friendship and so had to hide it from the public. It makes me sad that my father felt like he had to defend himself for his famous friendships.

 NICK ADAMS AND ELVIS PRESLEY BFF

“I don’t care if my Dad was bi-sexual, I just don’t think he was. If he experimented or had a man crush on the hottest sensation of his time, I say more power to him! “

JOHN: What were your impressions of Elvis Presley when you first met him?

ALLYSON: As the story goes, I had breakfast on Elvis’ lap when I was a baby but I don’t remember and there were no cameras that day. Darn it. Honestly, I was not an Elvis fan before I found this manuscript in my Daddy Box. It was only after reading the manuscript and learning about Elvis’ life and watching his early performances that I became an enamored devotee. I absolutely fell in love with him. He’s so cute and nobody has touched him as far as raw, magnetic performances go. I confess to being frozen in time, because I love the early Elvis. Although later when you see him perform, knowing what he had gone through, his gospel and ballads will break your heart or lift you up.

nick adams and elvis presleynick adams and elvis presleynick adams and elvis presley

“They just had a lot of fun together and struggled with some of the same demons and insecurities.”

JOHN:  Nick Adams was told by many in Hollywood to stay away from Elvis- why was this?

ALLYSON: I don’t know if he was told to stay away. He was criticized for being friends with Elvis and accused of being an opportunist, even though it was Elvis who approached my father. They were genuine friends and some people just couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact my father was friends with both James Dean and Elvis Presley. It was jealousy, or to quote my Dad, “the green eyed monster.”

They (the critics) were already giving Elvis a pretty hard time for his pelvis moves and now this just compounded the insults. The criticism hurt them both and my father wrote several articles defending his friendships with both men.

nick adams snaps elvis presley vintage

Have you seen the latest Globe tabloid about Elvis’ stepmother Dee Presley who claims E.P. had a gay affair with Nick? For the record I don’t think my Dad or Elvis were gay, but they were persecuted during the 50’s as if they were. There is all this speculation but no proof and both of them are dead so they are easy targets. I don’t care if my Dad was bi-sexual, I just don’t think he was. If he experimented or had a man crush on the hottest sensation of his time, I say more power to him!  

All human beings are entitled to free expression and consensual private sexuality. What goes on behind closed doors is nobody’s business unless you want to write a play or poem about it.  It’s 2014, people should get over it.

Nick Adams Elvis Presley Vintage photo- EOF

JOHN:  Yes Allyson, I did see in the tabloids about Elvis and Nick supposedly being gay. I did not really believe the tabloids. I agree with you that even if this rumour were true, it was none of anyone’s business.

ALLYSON: Thank you John, I appreciate hearing you say that. I don’t need to defend my father.  He was who he was. He was a rebel, an ambitious actor, great comedian, ahead of his time and flawed.  Now he’s dead and 45 years later we are still talking about him.

He achieved his Godzilla dream for fame more than he realized.  I want to highlight the cool things he did and unravel what I think happened the night he died, even though I will probably never know the answer. The mystery of his death is loosening its hold on my obsessive curiosity and that’s a good thing.

Elvis-with-Natalie-Wood-and-Nick-Adams-elvis-presley-vintage style- eof

JOHN: Could you tell us what it was like growing up with Nick Adams-did he always wish to be an actor as a child or teenager?

ALLYSON: My memoir “The Daddy Box” goes into my childhood and growing up with and without Nick Adams. I think Nick Adams greatest wish when he was a child was to get the hell out of Jersey City and stop being dirt poor. His first dream was to be a professional baseball player and acting came after that. Jack Palance gave him his first break in a play. They were both Ukrainians from the hood.

Believe it or not, people in show business used to help each other out and my father returned the favor by paying it forward to many young hopefuls. You never read about that part of his character.

That’s where I come in.

 {images via Google Images}

You can visit www.therebelandtheking.com to purchase a signed first edition by Allyson Adams today!

 Check it out! Pay it forward, if you will . . .

So cool to get the inside scoop on a fascinating time in our histories . . .

Rebels, Kings, Idols, and Saints. They’re all here at The Eye of Faith, so make sure you Follow Us so you’re not missing out . . .

Until next time,

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7 thoughts on “Conversations with Author Allyson Adams on Elvis Presley’s Bromance with Actor Nick Adams

    • Thank you, Allyson so much for taking the time to converse about your father and your journey to finding his hidden stories and memories.

      Here is a comment from Pam Seaton:

      I have only recently rediscovered Nick, and discovered Allyson for the first time. I was totally in love with Nick when I was a child, and will forever be grateful to Allyson for opening her “Daddy Box”. Thank you so very much for publishing “The Rebel and The King”. I bought a signed copy and have devoured it. The book truly does transform you back in time… to the simpler days. You can hear Nicks Jersey accent in his written words. You come to know the man that Elvis was through the eyes of his friend. It’s the most honest accounting I’ve ever seen. Like Allyson, I was not an Elvis fan before, but now, seeing him reflected in Nicks words, I am enamored.

      Thank You for sharing your Dad with us, Allyson. You have no idea how much it means to a one, who admired him from afar. There is a part of me that will always love your Dad (at least the fantasy of him). A part that will always wish that I could have met him. By you extending yourself; his words, your openness, you have fulfilled that dream.
      His light burns bright within you.

      Like

  1. I have only recently rediscovered Nick, and discovered Allyson for the first time. I was totally in love with Nick when I was a child, and will forever be grateful to Allyson for opening her “Daddy Box”. Thank you so very much for publishing “The Rebel and The King”. I bought a signed copy and have devoured it. The book truly does transform you back in time… to the simpler days. You can hear Nicks Jersey accent in his written words. You come to know the man that Elvis was through the eyes of his friend. It’s the most honest accounting I’ve ever seen. Like Allyson, I was not an Elvis fan before, but now, seeing him reflected in Nicks words, I am enamored.

    Thank You for sharing your Dad with us, Allyson. You have no idea how much it means to a one, who admired him from afar. There is a part of me that will always love your Dad (at least the fantasy of him). A part that will always wish that I could have met him. By you extending yourself; his words, your openness, you have fulfilled that dream.
    His light burns bright within you.

    Like

    • Thank you Pam for your kind words and I’m so glad you loved the book! I agree it’s so cool to see Elvis through his friends eyes and it really does take you back in time. Historian Roy Turner from Tupelo says the phrases and expressions used like “I’ll do my dead level best” are straight out of that era. It brings me joy to know you “get it.” Thanks again!

      Like

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