LAS VEGAS ADVISORAll rights reserved. 702-252-0655

Not a member yet? Sign Up!

Anthony Curtis' Las Vegas Advisor is a monthly consumer newsletter brought to you by one of the world's most trusted and respected authorities on Las Vegas and gambling.

We invite you to read a free sample issue and see why over 20,000 Vegas visitors never leave home without us.

Member Benefits

  • LVA "Member Rewards Book"
  • Member Rewards Online
  • Exclusive Member-Only Offers
  • Exclusive Member-Only Offers
  • Member Forums

Member Login

Lost your password?

Out of interest, and given the prevalence of... [Continued]

Question of the Day July 31, 2015

Submit a Question :: Archives :: Contributors/Experts

Sign up to receive the Question of the Day e-mail. (View our privacy policy here.)
Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe from our various email lists


What is the status of Big Elvis? You said he was sick. Is he getting better or did he pass away? Also it would be neat if you profiled him over the years in Vegas.


Big Elvis – the stage name of Pete Vallee – is quite alive, temporarily out of the public eye but still corresponding with his fans. Last Sunday, his new Facebook fan page promised that an updated version of his website (currently defunct) would debut shortly. In early June, a message had gone out from his Facebook page that "Big E hasn't been feeling well for the past few weeks, and he may be taking some extended time off from his show." Indeed, a return to the stage hasn’t been announced since, although we certainly hope he is on the mend.

For those who have not experienced tall, Big Elvis in the (considerable) flesh, last year the Las Vegas Review-Journal described him as tipping "the scales at about 500 pounds, and he wears a scaled-up version of the kind of costume Elvis Presley wore during his comeback performances in Las Vegas in the last years of his life — all glitter, spandex and polyester bell bottoms."

That’s actually the newer, slimmer incarnation of Big E, whose weight formerly ballooned to 960 Elvis-loving pounds. He stays in trim by swimming in his back yard pool. His weight problems had become so severe over the years that he'd taken to performing at audience level, then sitting down on a specially made rostrum, gasping from an oxygen tent between numbers.

Seeing his half-ton self on TV was a wakeup call for Vallee, who embarked on a self-imposed exercise regimen and reformed his diet. Food has been a feel-good drug since childhood, when Vallee’s mother, a failed singer turned nurse, presided over a feast-or-famine household. Sometimes she was too drunk to feed her children, other times she showered them with goodies.

Vallee’s girth hasn’t impeded him from maintaining a three-shows-a-day schedule, four days a week, first at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, starting in 1992, then at Harrah’s Piano Bar, having paid his dues at the grind joint Roadhouse casino. Among his many outrageous aspects, Vallee claims to be an illegitimate son of The King and flashes a ring supposedly given to his mother by Presley himself.

He was a relatively slender 400 pounds when he adopted the Big Elvis moniker for a performance in Tacoma, Washington, and history has never been the same since. Since then, he’s become as noted for his philanthropy as for the uncanny resemblance between his natural voice and that of his idol.

"I'm amazed how real he sounds. Pete's effortless. Others seem to force it," former Presley bodyguard Sonny West told Details. The decisive moment in the Big Elvis-to-be’s future was a prize-winning Presley impersonation in a high school talent show. Chronicles Details, "Delores pulled up stakes and moved with him to Las Vegas, where they lived in a grim apartment building surrounded by sketchy bars and run-down motels." They tried to make it as a mother-son performing duo but it didn’t pan out. The younger Vallee persevered and eventually was reborn as Big Elvis.

His mother’s death in 2003 sent Vallee spiraling into a funk, during which he gained 300 pounds. A regimen of walking, swimming, and constant bowls of a chicken-and-vegetable dish called giambatta steadily helped Big Elvis take the pounds off. He subsequently married (in Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall) and with marriage – short-lived though it was -- came a new weight goal: 285 pounds. (He’s currently hovering around 400 again.) Judging by the caring messages that flood his fan boards, he’s got a lot of people pulling for him as he convalesces.

The most recent bulletin on Big E’s health came by way of reliable blog VitalVegas, which reported on June 20 that the singer was "exhausted" and trying to lose more weight, having shed 15 pounds already. In the meantime, you can witness the Big E phenomenon for yourself in the movie La Conner, P.D. As Big Elvis would surely say, Thank you, thank you very much.

Promo code Aria - $50 Daily Credit!
Book exclusive rates at the luxurious Aria - right in the heart of the Strip. Plus, receive a daily $50 dining credit (up to 4 days).
click to view
The results of the last poll.
No part of this answer may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the publisher.
Daily email alerts
If you are not receiving the daily QoD email alert, it's almost certainly a problem with your Internet provider "spamming" our email. One way to attempt to solve this is to add our email address to your email contact list (Click here for instructions), so that your provider will recognize us as a legitimate sender. Please add "" to your address book and/or approved recipient list. If you do this and still encounter problems, please let us know and we will attempt to help by other means. Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.