Jimmy Ellis aka Orion was the most successful Elvis impersonator (who claimed not to be an Elvis impersonator) of all time.
For years Ellis tried to make a career as a country singer, but his voice and manor were so similar to Elvis’ that he was dismissed as an imitator. His voice and appearance apparently caused enough confusion that fans thought he might actually be The King himself performing. One of his early singles was titled, “I’m Not Trying To Be Elvis”.
After Elvis’ death, he finally stopped resisting the comparisons and developed the “Orion” persona, named after the title character of a book about a rock star who fakes his own death. Orion’s ultimate coup was getting signed to Sun Records, Elvis’ original label, for his first album. As one might expect, many fans apparently believed that Orion actually was Elvis Presley.
Orion released several albums in the early 80′s and even had a few charting singles. He then quit the Orion/Elvis charade until the early 1990′s, when he released several more records. He died in 1998, when he was gunned down in a robbery of his convenience store in Selma, Alabama.
TV interview with Orion: http://youtu.be/niLmJGgtVVI
Official Web Page: http://www.orionjimmyellis.com/