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There aren’t many actors that would’ve turned down a chance to kiss Elvis Presley in the ’50s and ’60s, especially in the prime of his career. While women were jumping through hoops for the opportunity to smooch the king of rock’n’roll, Carolyn Jones actually turned him down. The incident reportedly happened on the set of King Creole, where the two played leading roles, and The Addams Family star refused to kiss the superstar singer, and he insisted anyway!

Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams and holding a pumpkin
Carolyn Jones | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

What 1964 ‘The Addams Family’ was about

The evolution of popular series and movies of The Addams Family made in recent decades isn’t much different from what the original TV series did in the ’60s. It’s a great story about a ghoulish family that is completely different from traditional families who hold things like honesty, laughter, happiness, and kindness to a high standard. Instead, the Addams like dangerous ventures, mean and witty pranks on each other, creepy and crawly creatures, and anything you can think of under the category of spooky or unconventional.

The family consists of the mother Morticia, father Gomez, and their two younger children Wednesday and Pugsley. Occasionally viewers get a glimpse of additional friends and family like Lurch (the giant butler), Uncle Fester, Grandmama, and more equally unusual people. The funny sitcom is primarily idolized for the passionate, committed, and explicitly sexual attraction in the Morticia and Gomez relationship dynamic that resonated with many fans at the time and today. Gomez is always charming and romantic with his wife, while his wife is always sensual and reassuring of her husband’s lust and value to her. 

Carolyn Jones was the original Morticia Addams

Jones’ acting career was active and thriving for nearly three decades, between 1952 and ’83. It was full of dozens of parts, and several iconic takes on filmography following WWII and the Korean War. Her most popular films include The Man Who Knew Too Much with Doris Day, Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Kevin McCarthy, The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe, and Halloween With the New Addams Family

According to The New York Times, “In addition to her [extensive] movie work, Miss Jones appeared in about 30 different television programs, including six episodes in the Dragnet series. She also had roles in Playhouse 90 productions and the Colgate Comedy Hour. But it was her performances in the early 1960’s television series, The Addams Family, that brought her greater popularity than any of her movie portrayals.”

Carolyn Jones refused to kiss Elvis Presley

In the late ’50s, Presley and Jones starred in the last film the “Burning Love” singer would be cast in before joining the army, King Creole. In the musical drama, the two play on-again, off-again lovers, with Danny (Presley) eventually saving Ronnie (Jones) from an abusive relationship. The two share various scenes of passion and kisses. From The Cliff Edge, Ray Bennett recalls an interview with him and Jones that touches on when she refused to kiss Presley on the set of the 1958 film. According to the Southwest Times Record, Jones said she was running a 103-degree fever at the time and didn’t want to get Presley sick.

“It was good that I was supposed to be dying in the film because I felt like I was, and I think I looked like it, too,” she told Bennett. “[I asked Elvis] ‘Isn’t there some way you can get around kissing me because I’m so germy that I’m gonna kill you.’ He said, ‘that’s all right; maybe it’ll get me out of the army,’ and necked away like crazy. He went off to the army, and I took to my bed for two weeks.”

It’s safe to say, Carolyn Jones was more than happy to swap kisses with the king of rock’n’roll otherwise, but due to her sickness wanted to protect him. It’s probably one of the few times ‘The King’ has been turned down, and yet he wasn’t about to let a few germs get in the way of smooching the iconically sensual Morticia from The Addams Family