Elvis Presley died 40 years ago today, on Aug. 16, 1977, at only 42 years old. While fans of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and others can argue over the merits, in the popular imagination, Elvis in the 1950s was The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll — and inarguably had an unparalleled effect on popular culture. Sixty-plus years after his first hit records, his catalog remains a touchstone to budding rockers, and his movies still show aspiring big-screen heartthrobs what cool looks like.
Not surprisingly, Elvis effortlessly segued from larger-than-life persona during his lifetime to character in popular culture after he was gone. From Andy Kaufman and Kurt Russell in the 1970s to Don Johnson in the ’80s to a young Bruno Mars in the ’90s to Jack White in the ’00s to Michael Shannon and Drake Milligan in just the past two years, portrayals of Elvis at the movies and on TV are a constant, with portrayals presenting him as everything from aspiring musician to musical superstar to White House VIP even to fighter of the undead.
Click through the photos above to remember the King and see who took on the roles that have helped keep his memory alive for all these years. Another aspect of his legacy is as current as the movies opening this weekend: Elvis’s granddaughter, Riley Keough, stars in Steven Soderbergh‘s Logan Lucky, arriving at theaters Friday.