A former director of entertainment at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, he also worked with director Delbert Mann on the 1966 James Garner drama “Mister Buddwing” and produced a classic Judy Garland album.
Douglas Laurence, a onetime director of entertainment at the famed Flamingo Hotel hotspot in Las Vegas who produced Speedway and two other Elvis Presley films, has died. He was 93.
Laurence, who also produced Judy Garland’s first album for Capitol Records in 1955, lived in San Rafael, Calif., and died Oct. 2 from complications following surgery, his daughter Valentina Pfeil said Friday.
In addition to Speedway, which showcased Presley as a stock car driver beset with tax problems, Laurence produced Stay Away, Joe (with Elvis playing a half-breed named Joe Lightcloud) and Live a Little, Love a Little (with the King as a photographer forced to work two jobs to pay back a debt to a lovely lady). All played in theaters in 1968; Presley would do just three more films after these.
On the set of Speedway, Presley announced that his wife Priscilla was pregnant with daughter Lisa Marie. And Live a Little, Love a Little was notable in that it was the last of some 100 features directed by Oscar winner and frequent Elvis collaborator Norman Taurog.
Pfeil tells The Hollywood Reporter that her father often remarked that he found Presley “surprisingly polite and humble, given his phenomenal success and fame." During one hiatus between movies, Elvis visited the Laurence home and played their piano, which the family still owns. “We can't bring ourselves to sell or give it away,” she said.