fat Elvis syndrome
Definition A condition that affects many celebrities at the end of a previously illustrious career–usually understood to mean in the entertainment industry–who stagger up on the stage as saggy or flabby has-beens, croaking out once-melodious medleys to simulate their former persona ad infinitum to gawking audiences.
The term refers to the alcohol- and drug-addled Elvis Presley who continued to lurch on stage in the 1970s, a bloated sceptre of his former virile self. The fat Elvis syndrome is a fate spared those who, to quote James Dean, “Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.”
Like many other mis-attributed phrases, Dean didn’t say that in any of his movies, nor apparently in life. The actual line was, “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse” and was said by actor John Derek in Knock on Any Door (1949).