Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies at 54


FILE – Lisa Marie Presley performs during her Storm & Grace tour on June 20, 2012 at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP, File

Lisa Marie Presley, singer-songwriter, Elvis’s only daughter and dedicated keeper of her father’s legacy, died Thursday after being hospitalized for a medical emergency. She was 54 years old.

Her death at a Los Angeles hospital was confirmed by her mother, Priscilla, a few hours after her daughter was rushed to the hospital after having a medical emergency at home.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement. “She was the most passionate, strong, loving woman I have ever met.”

The only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, Presley shared her father’s haunting charisma—the hooded eyes, cheeky smile, low, sultry voice—and followed him professionally, releasing her own rock albums in the 2000s and appearing on stage with Pat Benatar and Richard Hawley amongst others.

He even formed direct musical ties with his father, adding his voice to Elvis recordings like “In the Ghetto” and “Don’t Cry Daddy,” a mournful ballad that had reminded him of his mother’s (and Lisa Marie’s) early death. ). grandmother), Gladys Presley.

“It’s been my whole life,” he told The Associated Press in 2012, speaking of his father’s influence. “It’s not something I hear now and it’s different. Although I could listen more closely. I remain consistent in the fact that I have always been a fan. It has always influenced me.”

Her birth, exactly nine months after her parents’ wedding, made international headlines and her background was rarely far from her mind. With the release last year of Baz Luhrmann’s major movie musical, “Elvis,” Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley had been hitting red carpets and award shows alongside the film’s stars.

She was at the Golden Globes on Tuesday, on hand to celebrate Austin Butler’s award for playing her father. Just a few days earlier, she was in Memphis at Graceland, the mansion where Elvis lived and died, on Jan. 8 to celebrate the anniversary of her father’s birth.

Presley lived with his mother, an actress known for the movies “Dallas” and “Naked Gun,” in California after his parents separated in 1973. He recalled early memories of his father visiting Graceland, riding in go-carts golf around the neighborhood. and see his daily entries down the stairs.

“He was always fully prepared. You would never see him in his pajamas coming down the steps, ever,” he told The Associated Press in 2012. “You would never see him in anything other than ‘ready to be seen’ attire.”

Elvis Presley died in August 1977, when he was just 42 and she was 9. Lisa Marie was staying at Graceland at the time, and she would recall him kissing her goodnight hours before she collapsed and never recovered. When she saw him again the next day, she was lying face down in the bathroom.

“I had a feeling,” he told Rolling Stone in 2003. “He wasn’t okay. All I know is that I had it (a feeling), and it happened. He was obsessed with death at a very young age.”

He would later make headlines on his own. Struggles with drugs and some very public marriages. Her four husbands included Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage.

Jackson and Presley were married in the Dominican Republic in 1994, but the marriage ended two years later and was marked by numerous awkward public appearances, including an unexpected kiss from Jackson during the MTV Video Music Awards and a joint interview with Diane Sawyer when she defended her husband. against accusations that he had sexually abused a minor.

His other celebrity marriage was even shorter: Cage filed for divorce after four months of marriage in 2002.

“I had to run into a lot of walls and trees,” he told the AP in 2012. “But now I can also look back and tell you all the things that were happening around me and all the different people around me. and all the awww — and it wasn’t a good situation anyway. That wasn’t helping. Either way, it was a growth process. It just went in a different way. I was in front of everyone all the time. Because everything is documented, of course.”

Lisa Marie became involved in numerous humanitarian causes, from anti-poverty programs administered through the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation to relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. She would receive formal citations from New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee for her work.

Presley had two sons, actor Riley Keough, born in 1989, and Benjamin Keough, born in 1992, with ex-husband Danny Keough. He also had twin daughters, Harper and Finley Lockwood, with ex-husband Michael Lockwood in 2008.

Her marriage to Lockwood would end in a protracted and contentious divorce that began in 2016 and was still unresolved when she died, though they were declared single in 2021. The fight led to the girls, now 15, being temporarily placed in protective custody. in 2017. Presley and Lockwood later had joint custody, but they were still at odds on the issue, with Lockwood seeking more child support from Presley.

Benjamin Keough committed suicide in 2020 at the age of 27. Presley was open about his grief, writing in an essay last August that he “had been living in the horrible reality of his relentless grip since my son’s death two years ago.”

“I have dealt with death, pain and loss since I was 9 years old. I’ve had more than anyone in my life and somehow I’ve made it this far,” she wrote in an essay shared with People magazine.

“But this, the death of my beautiful, beautiful son? The sweetest, most amazing being I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, who made me feel so honored every day to be his mother? Who was so similar to her grandpa on so many levels that it really freaked me out? What made me care about him even more than I naturally would have? the trial continued. “No. Just no… no no no no…”

Lisa Marie became the sole heir to the Elvis Presley Trust after her father’s death. Along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the trust managed Graceland and other assets until it sold its majority interest in 2005. She retained ownership of Graceland Mansion, the 13 acres around it, and the items inside the home. Her son is buried there, along with her father and other members of the Presley family.

Lisa Marie Presley is a former Scientologist: Her son was born in 1992 under guidelines laid out by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, according to an AP story at the time, but later broke with Scientology.

Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley made regular trips to Graceland during big fan celebrations on the anniversaries of Elvis’ death and birthday. One of the two planes at Graceland is named the Lisa Marie.

After her first album “To Whom It May Concern” in 2003, some fans came out to see her perform just out of curiosity given her famous family, she told the AP in 2005.

“First I had to get over a pre-speculated idea of ​​myself,” she said of the barriers to becoming a singer-songwriter.

“I had to get over that and introduce myself, and that was the first hurdle, and then now singing in front of everyone, and then that was the second, and I’m a descendant of, you know, who I am. I am a descendant of… I had some obstacles to overcome, there is no question about it,” she continued. “But the scales never tipped too much in the other direction.”

Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

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