March 17 - Photographer Bob Williams died

Photographer Bob Williams died. He was 96. 

The longtime Commercial Appeal photographer enthusiastically chronicled the career of Elvis Presley, capturing the emerging King of Rock and Roll in what would become some of the singer's most iconic poses and most revealing unguarded moments, has died.

But Williams is best known for his Elvis portraits, some of which he took for the newspaper and some of which he took on his own time or for other other publications. He was among the first photographers to take an interest in the future superstar, shooting young Elvis and gaining the trust and friendship of the boy's parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley, when the family still lived at 1414 Getwell.

He later shot the singer at his next house at 1034 Audubon Drive and then, of course, at Graceland, which Elvis bought in 1957, after he had become a recording artist for RCA.

"He got to be very good friends with them," said Mr. Williams' daughter, Paula Hartley, of Tulsa. "He would go and basically hang out. He took pictures of Elvis that are now iconic. Elvis in front of the gates of Graceland the day they were installed, before they were even painted. Elvis with his Rolls-Royce." 

Mr. Williams also shot some of the first pictures of the infant Lisa Marie Presley, and took the beloved photograph of Elvis kissing his mother on the cheek the night before he left Memphis for his stint in the Army.

Some of Williams' memorable Presley pictures captured the singer in humorous, off-the-cuff situations. In an often-reproduced 1956 image, the King stares into Williams' lens as he becomes a smooch sandwich, a local beauty queen kissing each cheek.

Hartley said her father's archive of Elvis-related photographs includes close to 3,000 images. She said many of these will appear in a book she and her father had been preparing before his death, which should be published before the end of the year.

Elvis Lottery

International Game Technology PLC announced that it has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Authentic Brands Group, granting them the exclusive property licensing rights to develop and distribute Elvis Presley-themed lottery games throughout the United States and Canada. 

In addition to compelling instant tickets, innovative draw-based games, and engaging mobile and interactive games, IGT will develop turnkey second-chance promotions and exciting comprehensive experiences for lottery customers and their players. 

"Elvis Presley is one of the most influential pop culture icons of the 20th century, and IGT is excited offer Elvis games to our customers and their players," said Jay Gendron, IGT Chief Operating Officer, Lottery. "We are committed to bringing a robust, multi-channel and multi-jurisdictional program to the lottery community by extending this brand across all available platforms and territories."

"We're very pleased to be partnering with IGT to create fun games for Elvis fans and lottery players alike," said Marc Rosen, Group President, Entertainment, Authentic Brands Group. "Elvis has a special way of continuing to delight fans and we're excited to see how people react to this engaging and interactive format."

(Source: The Commercial Appeal / PR newswire)