The photo became iconic; but even the photographer, Alfred Wertheimer, didn't know who the girl was. Her name, if not her image, remained unknown for years. Until now. Barbara Gray a 75-year-old real estate manager from Charleston has stepped forward to claim the identity of Elvis's anonymous 'date for the day'.
Barbara Gray, who has endured seeing herself in the photo repeatedly--as well as in other shots from the famous series Wertheimer captured on a summer day in 1956--told Vanity Fair she has decided to reveal herself simply to get her story out fy contacting Alfred Wertheimer. Wertheimer, who had fielded many such messages from women over the years, said he ultimately identified Gray by her petite stature.
According to Gray, the day she was photographed with the King was the first day she met him. She'd called the singer at his hotel on a dare when he visited Charleston. The two made plans to meet up a couple days later in Richmond, Virginia. Wertheimer, at the time, happened to be following Presley on the road, chronicling with his camera the young singer's rise to fame. The rest? History.
Although Gray said she thought the budding young singer was 'beautiful', she felt no sparks for him. 'Maybe he had sparks', she noted in an interview with Today on Monday. 'But I didn't know who he was'.
At any rate, the photo session was apparently as fun as it appeared. 'He was very silly', Gray remembered. 'We were running around chasing each other and just being young'.
Wertheimer told Today he never thought to get Gray's name. 'I never realized these [photos] would become iconic', he explained. Inquiring minds probably are wondering: Did anything romantic come out of what appeared to be a magnetic photo session? Presley did ask Gray if she'd like to go out that night, but Gray responded that she was leaving to go to Philadelphia to see her boyfriend. She never saw the singer again.
June 30, 1956 : Richmond, VA. Mosque Theater