It is with much sadness that I learned of the death of Julie Parrish. I never met Julie Parrish, never spoke to her and yet somehow through our email and personal correspondence it was like I had known her for years and that she was a friend. Sadly, in the Elvis World I have met many people who are takers but Julie was a giver and she gave from her heart.
She had written to me in April asking for help to track down some information about her ancestry in Sussex and gave simple instructions of what was needed. I put her request on our website and in our Cyber Newsletter but no one came forward to help Julie so I went to the Public Records Office to find the documents she needed. It was an interesting and enlightening experience going through all these ancient original documents. I managed to photocopy some pages but others had to be mailed to me. Eventually, after a couple of weeks, I sent off all the copied documents to Julie. She sent a brief thank you message by email and then some weeks later she posted FORTY signed photographs of herself, including one signed personally to me which is on display in the Elvisly Yours Shop at 233 Baker Street, London. I will cherish this photograph and its personal message. Many of the photographs have already been used to raise money for charity and the rest I will specially auction through our website and possibly on eBay to raise money for the Lynda Jackson MacMillan Centre for Cancer Support. Julie had fought ovarian cancer twice and won and although the cause of her death is not known at the time of writing it may well have been as a result of her battles with cancer. She came over ill on Wednesday October 1st and was taken to hospital where she died.
She had offered to pay my small expenses for getting her documents but I had written I did not want any money because I joked that she should treat me and Maureen to a slap up meal when she came to London. Sadly, she wrote that she did not think she could ever afford to come to England. Being ill in America is a huge financial burden. I have never understood how the American people have put up without a health service for all these years and if you get cancer you can be ruined, even with insurance which does not cover all bills. Just two weeks ago I received a card from Julie with a UK cheque for £25.00 from a friend of Julie's and I was surprised because I did not want or expect any money. It had been such a pleasure to visit the Public Record Office and forty signed photographs was way over the top as a 'thank you'.
We are planning on visiting Los Angeles and we had hoped to meet Julie after our friendship had developed through email and letters. I wanted to give her a copy of my book and my 2004 calendar and some day hoped to invite her to England for an Elvis promotion. I had heard so much about her from fans and people in the Elvis World. Everyone had a nice word for Julie, she was truly an angel and now she has joined all the other angels in "Blue Suede Heaven".
I kept a permanent advert for her photographs on our web pages and in our Newsletters hoping that fans would buy Julie's photographs to help her realize her dream and visit England again to research her family ancestry. I would like to hear from any fans that did write to Julie and I know they all got a response as she was a lady who cared. After her acting career waned she gave her life to helping battered wives and helping other cancer sufferers. My great regret was never meeting Elvis or seeing his concerts and now there is another regret that I did not meet such a sweet, warm and caring person like Julie who has died at the age of 62 years old. Our sympathies go to her family, friends and the so many fans that she touched with her love, warmth and kindness.
Visit the Julie Parrish website to read more about her life.