Donna Butterworth, Kid Co-Star of Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis, Dies at 62


Donna Butterworth, a charming child actress and singer in the 1960s who co-starred with Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style and with Jerry Lewis in The Family Jewels, has died. She was 62.54ac774defcb7_image

Butterworth died March 6 at the Hilo Medical Center in Hilo, Hawaii, after a long, unspecified illness, Guadalupe Erece Jr., funeral director at Dodo Mortuary and Crematory confirmed.


In Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), Butterworth, then just 10, performed three songs: “Datin’,” “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” and “Queen Wahine’s Papaya.” The last is a lovely duet with a ukulele-strumming Elvis that gets faster and faster and ends with a huge embrace from The King.


In the 1965 comedy The Family Jewels — which Lewis wrote, directed, produced and starred in — Butterworth’s Donna Peyton inherits $30 million from her father and must decide which of her six uncles (all played by Lewis) will become her guardian. Lewis also portrayed a seventh character — her devoted chauffeur.


Butterworth was born in Philadelphia on Feb. 23, 1956, and she and her family moved to Hawaii when she was 3. Butterworth began learning the ukulele and performed with a local legend, entertainer Don Ho, before appearing on variety programs like The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Hollywood Palace and The Danny Kaye Show.


Butterworth was in the crowd when Presley performed his “Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite” concert in January 1973. She said she always regretted not approaching Elvis manager Colonel Tom Parker, who was standing nearby, to request a meeting with her Hawaiian Style co-star.


When Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, Butterworth said she heard the news on her apartment radio. “My first instinct was to run to my closet and grab my scrapbook and open it to the page where he and I were together,” she said. “Then I just cried.”


Survivors include her mother Isabella and brother William.


Her death was first reported by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.


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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP

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