As an Elvis Presley impersonator, Peter Vallee has no problem recreating the King's big voice.
The problem is, he's also a little too good at mastering the large waistline Presley sported when he was squeezing himself into those overstuffed white jumpsuits in his final years.
Vallee, who performs in Las Vegas as "Big Elvis," currently weighs around 500 pounds, which is a few hound dogs larger than the 250 pounds Presley reportedly carried at the time of his death in 1977.
Lucille Star, Vallee's manager, claims the singer actually weighed 960 pounds in 2005 before going on a drastic diet.
"We had him weighed at the main post office on the mail scale until he purchased a special scale," Star said. "We never called Guinness because there are people a lot bigger than that."
Vallee got down to a relatively svelte 480 pounds by October 2010, all while performing 12 shows a week at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon.
"I'm on a regimented program, and I've increased it," Vallee told HuffPost. "If I was swimming 100 laps, I doubled it. If I have a pizza on a splurge day, I'll only have two or three pieces where, before, I would have the whole pie."
Ideally, Vallee, 47, would like to tip the scales at a mere 280 pounds.
"I'd like to be able to sit in a vehicle comfortably and walk a long distance without getting winded," said Vallee, who was ranked as one of the top 10 Elvis impersonators ever by Time magazine.
"As you get older, you don't have much of a choice," he said. "You can't sit down and say, 'Well, I give up,' drink a bottle of Coke and eat a box of Twinkies, because your health pays for it."
Vallee was always a big Elvis fan, but he didn't become Big Elvis until about 17 years ago at a show in a nearly empty community-college auditorium outside Tacoma, Wash., as he told Details magazine in 2010. A husky teenager, he started really packing on the pounds as he reached 30 and was 400 pounds when a friend suggested the name.
He has since embraced the Big Elvis title and even made it part of his act -- such as the time a heckler sent him a cheeseburger, and he held it up to his face and cued the band to play "Suspicious Minds." Then he started singing the opening lines, "We're caught in a trap/ I can't walk out/ Because I love you too much, baby," to the burger.
He knows more than 900 tunes, Vallee said, so Big Elvis has little trouble belting out the classics and satisfying requests. He performs from a large throne on the floor with his audience, standing at high points to shake his hips and twist his knees.
"Years ago, when I was heavier, I couldn't really get up stairs, so my manager said, 'We're going to leave you off the stage,'" Vallee recalled. "That was kind of a blessing. ... It's right with the people. They like that."
While he is having problems losing that last pesky 200 pounds, his efforts aren't going unnoticed by the fans.
"I get heavy people watching the show, and they're watching me lose weight and they ask, 'What have you done to lose the weight?'" Vallee said proudly. "I've had fans who say I inspired them to go on a diet themselves.
"One of the reasons why I'm popular is that people can see that I've struggled and I'm still working. Most people my weight are bedridden."
But even if Vallee is able to lose all the weight he wants, something will still eat at him: the identity of his father.
Vallee believes it was the King himself. His mother, who worked in the music industry, admitted having a relationship with Presley in 1964, just months before Vallee was born in late February 1965.
Vallee said he obtained some Presley DNA, which he compared with his own, and it was a match. However, the only way he can be absolutely sure is if the King's daughter, Lisa Marie, agrees to donate a swab to the cause, and he's been told by Presley estate officials that it isn't going to happen.
"I'm convinced I'm his son," Vallee told HuffPost. "I'd like to know for my behalf -- even if I had to sign documents agreeing never to reveal it."
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