On May 20, Graceland announced the special guests for Elvis Week 2015. Very little was said about each guest, and none was needed for Brenda Lee or Mas Davis. But, what about that the third name on the list – Sandy Martindale? All the press release said was “she used to date Elvis.”
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on Elvis’ girlfriends, but I had never heard of Sandy Martindale. So, it was time to do a Google search and see what her story is. I found four good references from 1997, 2004, 2008, and 2014, plus a few photos, mostly of her and long-time husband Wink Martindale.
It turns out Sandy Ferra was fourteen when she first met Elvis, many years before she met and wed his friend Wink Martindale. This makes her one on a long list of teenage girls Elvis is known to have dated. Let’s look at the more notable ones in chronological order, followed by some detail about Sandy Ferra Martindale.
Regis Wilson: 14 when Elvis took her to the Prom in 1953.
Barbara Pittman: Three years younger than Elvis when they met in high school and started dating. She later recorded a few songs at Sun Records.
Dixie Locke: 15 when Elvis started dating her in 1953 after he had graduated from high school. Dated him for a year or two.
Barbara Hearn: Met Elvis through her friend Dixie Locke. Started dating him when he and Dixie broke up.
June Juanico: 17 when she met Elvis on June 26, 1955. In March 1957 she said goodbye because “I couldn’t wait in the wings while Elvis got on with his career.”
Natalie Wood: 18 when she met Elvis in Hollywood in 1956. Elvis was 21.
Priscilla Beaulieu: 14 when Elvis met her in Germany in 1959. Elvis was 24.
Sandy Ferra: 14 when she met Elvis in Los Angeles in 1960. He was 25.
Soon after Elvis got out of the Army in 1960, he went to Los Angeles to film G.I. Blues at Paramount Studios. One night, he went to The Cross Bow nightclub in Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley. While in the club owner’s office, Elvis was bowled over by a photo of Sandy, his fourteen-year-old daughter.
He told Mr. Ferra he’d like to meet his daughter, so the man called her at home. Mom got on the line and told Elvis she would not drive Sandy back to the club because she was only fourteen and it was a school night. So, Elvis said he would be back the next week and he asked if Sandy could meet him then. In the meantime, her dad came home and told her that Elvis was a ‘gorgeous guy,’ because at the time, she didn’t even know who Elvis Presley was.
So, the next week her mother drove her to the club. Sandy wore a frilly dress and had her hair in a ponytail, while Elvis showed up with a beautiful actress. Sandy just sat there and stared at him because he was so good looking. He held her hand and kissed her on the cheek, and as Sandy has revealed, “That was it. I was hooked.”
Later Elvis called and told her mother he wanted to date Sandy, and her mother said, “I don’t care if you’re King Farouk; my daughter’s only fourteen and she can’t go out with you.” So Elvis said to her mother, “Well, you can come on the date.” In fact, she came on their first three dates.
Elvis was staying at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, so Sandy and her mother went there and enjoyed pizza, hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, as well as watching television, talking, and dancing. Then, after the first three dates, Elvis promised her mother that he’d be a ‘gentleman’ and ‘take good care’ of her, if she said it was okay for Sandy to go out with him unchaperoned. According to Sandy, “He stuck to his word and was a perfect gentleman. He loved and respected my parents and was a wonderful part of my life.”
The only thing Sandy has revealed about their romance is, “We kissed a lot. We did a lot of necking. Elvis was the best kisser.” There are some media reports stating that Elvis once asked Sandy’s mother if she and her daughter would consider moving to Graceland, where he would “raise” Sandy as his future wife, but Sandy’s parents refused. In 1962, another young lady Elvis had met when she also was fourteen moved into Graceland. Could Priscilla be considered Plan B?
According to these same reports, Elvis and Sandy were an item, on and off, for the next six years — right up until he married Priscilla.
According to a July 4, 2008 article on www.elvis.com.au, Sandy said, “I danced in six of his movies because I was going with him. In Viva Las Vegas that’s me with Ann-Margaret and Elvis dancing at the roulette table.” (actually a huge roulette wheel painted on the stage)
If you go to Elvis Week this year and attend the Graceland Insiders Conference, you will hear Sandy Ferra Martindale talk about this and a lot more. I’m not going this year, but if I was, I’d be sure to take in that event.
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