In the spring of 1973, I was staying at the Maurice Hotel in Paris, down the street from the Louvre, when I spotted several of Dali’s highly recognizable paintings being brought in. I’ve always been a fan of his work, so I nosed around a little to find out where the exhibit was being held. By luck, I learned that Dali was also a guest at the hotel, one floor directly below my suite.
On a lark I knocked on his door. As the door suddenly opened wide, out strode the man himself, throwing his arms around me like an old friend, greeting me with symbolic kisses on the cheek. I accepted his invitation to step inside. Much to my astonishment, although his suite was identical to my own, all the furnishings had been removed. In their place was a bizarre assortment of objects, including a large, colorful Arabian tent surrounded by a huge stuffed snake, a skull atop a wooden pedestal, and an assortment of circuit boards on the mantel. For the next week, I visited him every afternoon; some days we strolled down the avenue, where he was recognized by everyone. Dali was very excited to learn of my relationship to Elvis, asking me many questions about him. He insisted that I trim his animated and eccentric moustache. “You cut the hair of the greatest singer; now you can say you cut the moustache of the greatest artist.”