WELL-KNOWN Tralee entertainer Mark Leen the Emerald Elvis has announced he is to hang up his jumpsuit and retire his stagename as a mark of respect to the King.
Elvis Presley died in 1977 aged 42 and Mark, who turns 43 next year, said he feels it wouldn't be respectful for him to continue to perform as Elvis at an older age than the King himself ever reached.
Mark told The Kerryman that he plans to retire his Emerald Elvis personna with a series of large concerts at the INEC in Killarney next year which he has organised to mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis' legendary Aloha Hawaii concerts.
"I've always tried to be historically accurate with my shows. Elvis never reached 43 and I always said I'd never perform as Elvis at that age," said Mark.
Mark said that he want's to make sure his Emerald Elvis personna retires in style.
"I've been perfoming as the Emerald Elvis since 1997 and I want to go out with a bang. I don't want my last Emerald Elvis show to be in a pub in front of ten people. I wan't to retire the Emerald Elvis in front of a packed house at the INEC. I'll be joined on stage by the Stamp Quartet who played with Elvis in 1973 and at the end of the show I'll fling my cape out into the crowd," he said.
Mark has been performing as the Emerald Elvis since 1997 when he was asked to put on a full costumed show to mark the 25th anniversary of the King's death. Since then his career as the Emerald Elvis has seen Mark Leen travel the world and perform for the likes of Bill Clinton as well as making regular appearances on TV and radio. He has appeared on BBC'S World's Greatest Elvis competition and the Weakest Link Elvis Special and he is also a regular contributor to RTE radio's Liveline.
"I'm amazed where the Emerald Elvis has taken me. I feel very humbled and it's ben an amazing experience," he said.