The identity of a former Las Vegas showgirl is at the center of an Elvis Presley-related mystery.
The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday published an article about the iconic "Million Dollar Quartet" photograph of the jam session in 1956. Gathered around a piano at the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn., were legendary singers Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, Johnny Cash and a young woman.
Over the years, the woman was cropped out of the photo. Historians believe her name is Marilyn Evans, then a 19-year-old former showgirl at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino. Elvis had made his Las Vegas debut, which was considered a flop, at the hotel in April 1956, a little more than four months before his groundbreaking appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The mystery has flared up again because the play, "Million Dollar Quartet," recently opened in the Apollo Theatre in Chicago.
It is based on the quartet's jam session captured for posterity when Sun Studios founder Sam Phillips flipped on his recorder.
One of the play's co-writers, Colin Escott, told the Tribune the mystery woman is "one of the few Elvis girlfriends to completely vanish into the ozone."
The woman may have dated Elvis only for a few weeks, according to Peter Guralnick, who authored a two-volume Elvis biography. She never appeared in any article, fanzine or made-for-TV movie, added Guralnick.
A female voice can be heard suggesting a song title to the singers. Her photograph can be seen here: www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ chi-102908-elvis-mystery-story,0,2687347.story.
Her name is "Dyanne" in the play, for legal reasons. A fictitious name prevents the producers from being sued if the woman is alive.
"The name just doesn't ring a bell," Betty Bunch, a former dancer at the Sahara, told the Tribune.
If you can cast any light on the mystery, call or e-mail me.
CRAZY FOR LEE LIBERACE
Jay Mohr is no closet Liberace fan. He's an out-and-out unabashed fan of the fur-draped, bejeweled Las Vegas icon whose rhinestone-covered piano went to the Smithsonian museum.
Mohr recently told talk-show host Jay Leno that he went on a shopping spree at the Liberace Museum over a year ago.
His purchases included 14 Liberace mugs, a calendar, a Liberace snow globe, a backpack and the cookbook "Joy of Liberace -- Retro Recipes from America's Kitschiest Kitchen!"
When Mohr returned recently to perform at the Orleans, R. Darin Hollingsworth, president of the Liberace Foundation for the Performing & Creative Arts, was invited backstage to make a presentation to Mohr and his wife, Nikki Cox, formerly of NBC's "Las Vegas."
Hollingsworth's gifts included "Liberace: Your Personal Fashion Consultant" by Michael & Karan Feder, a Liberace "Hot Pants" beach towel and a gift certificate for the museum's Liberace sneakers that features piano keys.
"They squealed when they saw all of it," Hollingsworth said.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Former Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren hosts his 13th annual Nevada Day open house from 1-5 p.m. Sunday. He's highlighting his Howard Hughes and Bugsy Siegel exhibits. Admission is a $5 donation to the Living Grace Home. ...
Venetian headliner Wayne Brady has a CD signing for his debut album from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at ZIA Records, 4503 W. Sahara Ave. He'll sing two songs from the album, titled "A Long Time Coming."
Hugh Hefner's ex, Holly Madison, trying life in the fast lane on Tuesday when she tested her racing skills at Pole Position Raceway. She was with Maxim magazine model/former Playboy Club Bunny Jessica Burciaga and a photographer. Madison is in town to co-host Tuesday's Trick-em and Treat-em Halloween bash at the Palms with Bridget Marquardt, her sidekick on "Girls Next Door." Burciaga is scheduled to be Playboy's Miss February.
THE PUNCH LINE
"I was in Las Vegas over the weekend. I thought it would be empty with the economy the way it is. But it wasn't. There were people everywhere. Turns out roulette is less risky than the stock market." -- Craig Ferguson