Rutherglen man who met Elvis and lived the Hollywood lifestyle publishes autobiography
Some of Michael McLeavy’s life story could easily pass for fiction – but the Lanarkshire man’s new book is entirely factual.
Michael moved from Rutherglen to Hollywood in the 1960s, deciding to embark on an American adventure in order to meet his hero, Elvis.
Incredibly, that’s exactly what happened, as he met the King and ended up working in Tinseltown, meeting celebrities like Burt Lancaster, Orson Welles and Mia Farrow in the process.
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Michael, who hoped to make it as a singer, eventually moved to the United States and carved out a successful career in the insurance industry.
Now he has written a book about his life story, titled And now? After that ? Where to go?, with the autobiography available via Amazon.
“When I first joined Facebook, I wrote in my comments that I had a varied background and hoped to write a book one day,” says Michael.
“As writing was not my forte, I joined a class full of writers four years ago and this gave me motivation as I had to have a chapter completed for each class on various topics, including mine. It inspired me to tell my story.”
The book focuses on Michael’s determination to succeed, an attitude that dates back to his initial decision to move to America.
Singer of local band The Fireflies, Michael’s pals teased me good-naturedly about his dreams of meeting the King.
Living near Bel Air, Michael once told us how he befriended Elvis’ friends Sonny West and Jerry Schilling, who eventually invited him to meet the music legend.
“Elvis said, ‘Hi Mike, so glad you could come.’ He made me feel completely at ease.
“He talked about Scotland and how he landed at Prestwick Airport on his way home from the army.
“He said he wanted me to stay all day!” It was amazing – I felt so lucky. At the end of the day, Elvis himself came with me and said, “I hope you enjoyed the day Mike. Good luck’.”
While writing his book, Michael says it was this determination, whether it was when he met Elvis or in his business career, that stood out to him the most.
“When I looked back for the back, nothing surprised me and I remembered everything. I think maybe my stubbornness and determination to succeed stands out.
“Everyone has hard times and a lot of the things I mentioned in the book cover various situations I’ve encountered. I got up after one of them and went for a skydive !”
The 79-year-old also enjoyed a spell alongside 1960s thriller star Laurence Harvey, The Manchurian Candidate and numerous other films.
This meant he attended a series of countless parties at Harvey’s beach house, staying within yards of Burt Lancaster and Doris Day, and meeting Orson Welles, Mia Farrow and Sharon Tate.
However, even if it wasn’t quite as glamorous, Michael remembers his youth in Rutherglen with just as much fondness.
“Growing up at Rutherglen in those days was the greatest learning experience for any child. Great parents and teachers who would give you the discipline that would pay off later.
“Having good buddies playing from morning till night, and being able to come and knock on your door without security and ask, are you going out to play?”
After retiring from the insurance industry, Michael resumed his first love of singing and has since released several albums, before his concerts were interrupted by the Covid pandemic.
He remains a huge Elvis fan and will be intrigued to see the next film biography released this summer, starring Austin Butler as and Tom Hanks as his manager, Col Tom Parker.
Michael added, “Anything about Elvis. Especially another movie about him, I reserve judgment until I see it. Hopefully it does the King justice.”
And now? After that ? Where to go ? is available now here.
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