Shonka Dukureh, the actress who played Elvis Presley’s wife, was found dead in their Nashville, Tennessee, apartment on Thursday, according to authorities. At the time of her death, she was 44. Dukureh, a blues singer, portrayed Big Mama Thornton in the recent movie of Elvis Presley’s path to success. On Kothe Way, a youngster saw their mother unresponsive and fled to a neighbor’s house for aid, as reported by Metro Nashville Police.
According to reports, a neighbor phoned the police at 9:27 a.m. There is no evidence of foul play in her death, according to the police. The medical examiner’s office has not yet completed the autopsy. Therefore her death cannot be ruled out as suspicious. NBC News is trying to get in touch with her representatives. This tremendous voice and artistry will live on via her music, and we respect her legacy on this sad day,” said Mayor John Cooper of Nashville.
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 22, 2022
On Instagram, “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann paid tribute to Dukureh. He commented, “A particular light went out today, and all in the Elvis movie family are grieved by the loss of Shonka Dukureh.”. “Everyone felt elevated whenever she was on set, stage, or even just in the room. The genius of Shonka was just beginning to be recognized, and I was fortunate enough to witness her elevate enormous crowds at Coachella and elsewhere “Luhrmann said nothing.
“Her time with us was definitely a blessing for all of us involved in the Elvis cast, crew, and musical collaborators. At this difficult moment, our thoughts and prayers go out to Shonka’s children and family. Actor Austin Butler, who played Elvis in the film, shared the post. He was originally from Charlotte, NC, but now called Nashville home. According to her website, she majored in drama at Fisk University and minored in education at Trevecca Nazarene University.
To be a teacher was Shinka’s initial career aim. Still, she soon discovered that her vocal abilities and intuitive sense of the dramatic were more suitable for a career as a performing artist, as stated on her official website. Dukureh’s voice can be heard in the film’s version of “Hound Dog” in “Elvis. When she portrayed Willie Mae’s “Big Mama” Thornton in the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller film “Hound Dog,” she was the first to record the song on vinyl.
“[Big Mama Thornton] was really raw with what she accomplished and very honest and sincere and [created] music as she felt it,” she said in an interview with The Tennessean. Likewise, I could completely identify with that.” To ensure that she was paying respect, “I was very aware and wanted to really be intentional about making sure that I was paying respect,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that I was respecting her, respecting her legacy, respecting her spirit, respecting everything about what she brought to music and understanding that I’m able to do it because she has done it and laid that foundation.”