The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

‘Elvis isn’t Dead’: Greg Suckow and his mother’s shared fascination of Elvis

The unique relationship between Hawkeye Elvis and his mother is shown in a new short film.
David Harmantas
A fan dressed as Elvis cheers from the stands during a game against Northwestern University on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 14-10.

Billed as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley’s lasting impact on the music industry will never be forgotten, despite dying almost 50 years ago.

But some still refuse to believe the rockstar is physically dead. One of those people is Greg Suckow’s mother, Margaret Suckow.

Greg Suckow is the man behind the fan-favorite Hawkeye Elvis costume and is frequently seen wearing the sparkly black and gold jumpsuit at various Iowa sporting events. This tradition started many years ago, and his mother, an Elvis superfan, has been by his side along the way, hand-crafting all her son’s jumpsuits.

Their special bond over Elvis is highlighted in a new documentary “Elvis isn’t Dead” directed by Skyler Knutzen. The short film premieres Dec. 13 on, a digital video channel.

Knutzen, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 2018, didn’t know Greg Suckow personally before filming. He connected with Greg Suckow through his dorm resident assistant, who went into accounting after graduation and worked at the same company as Hawkeye Elvis.

Knutzen’s initial idea for the film was centered around Greg Suckow’s love for Iowa football and the unique persona he takes with him into Kinnick Stadium. Out of 70,000 people dressed in Hawkeye gear, Greg Suckow is often the only one dressed as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century.

But the underlying message of the documentary turned out to be much deeper, as Knutzen’s relationship with both the Suckows grew during multiple years of filming.

Margaret Suckow is going through the early stages of dementia, which has forced her son to realize she may forget who he is one day. But he doesn’t believe his mom will ever forget her favorite musician.

“I think [Elvis] is still in hiding,” Margaret Suckow professes in the film. “I’ve been doing Elvis a long time, honey, so what else can I believe?”

Knutzen, who now lives in New York, flew back during the 2021 Iowa football season and attended a couple of games with Greg Suckow and his mother, filming their every interaction during the day. He also filmed the pair at Margaret Suckow’s house in Boone, Iowa, which features a room dedicated to Elvis lined with memorabilia like bobbleheads, candy dispensers, barbies, and framed vinyl records.

When Knutzen went back home and started editing, he realized he needed more content. He flew back for a couple more games in Kinnick Stadium and traveled to Florida with Greg Suckow for Iowa’s Citrus Bowl matchup against Kentucky. The Elvis impersonator is frequently asked for pictures and approached by Hawkeye fans and said he didn’t even notice the camera most of the time.

When in Iowa City, Knutzen would sleep on a futon in his younger brother’s dorm, which he said put “his back in shambles” and made some filming days difficult.

“I feel lucky that they let me come into their lives and point a camera at them for so many weeks. That’s a real gift that I don’t want to take lightly,” Knutzen said. “They’ve been very open and sharing intimate things with me, which is not easy, but they see the worth in making films, and I appreciate that. I don’t know how else to thank them for that.”

Neither Knutzen nor Greg Suckow thought the film would end up where it did but are both happy with the finished product.

For Knutzen, directing the film gave him a new outlook on mortality and retaining memories.

“It went down this real rabbit hole of memories,” Knutzen said of the documentary. “Memories don’t last forever, but I think that this project taught me that memories find a way into physical things like the bobbleheads she has or his costume.”

Knutzen’s grandmother, who has since died, was also struggling with dementia during the filming process. Knutzen said he wasn’t that close with his own grandmother, but seeing Greg Suckow’s patience and love for his mother during her health decline made him wish he reached out and cherished her more.

“It taught me not to wait around,” Knutzen said. “You can’t wait to go see people even if they’re not unhealthy. You have to make the time.”

Greg Suckow is thankful he will always have this film to look back on, as it is harder for him to visit his mother with his new job in California. He said he plans on impersonating Elvis “as long as everybody is still having fun with it” and hopes people who watch the documentary see the deeper meaning behind his costume.

“I think it’s a nice thing to be able to share that relationship that I have with my mom with people and sort of let them behind the curtain a little bit,” Greg Suckow said. “Most people who see me just know me as the guy who dresses up as Elvis and shows up at games and stuff. They don’t get to see this personal side of me and what my life outside of that is like.”

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About the Contributors
Kenna Roering
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
David Harmantas
David Harmantas, Photojournalist
David Harmantas is a staff photographer at the The Daily Iowan. He is a third-year law student at the University of Iowa College of Law and is in his second year as a photographer for the DI. While he shoots general assignments for the DI, he has a particular emphasis on sports and the performing arts.