Elvis Presley wife: How did Priscilla find out about Elvis’ death? ‘HOWLING with grief’
Elvis Presley divorced his wife Priscilla just four years before his death in 1977. Despite this, the pair were incredibly close, and much of Priscilla’s life subsequently has been focused on maintaining his legacy. The day Elvis died was traumatic for fans all over the world – but how did Priscilla find out?
Speaking to ET Online in 2017, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death, Priscilla opened up on her recollection of that tragic day, which took place on August 16, 1977.
One of the most horrific memories was seeing Elvis’ father, Vernon, who she found “howling” with grief at the death of his son.
She said: “My sister and I were going out for an appointment and she stopped me in my feet as I was picking her up … and dad called and said Joe Esposito [Elvis’ manager at the time] was trying to reach you and try to talk to you.
“The first thing I thought about was my daughter [Lisa Marie Presley], because my daughter was visiting and was supposed to come home that day because school started, so I was trying to rush home.
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“I think I ran every red light. I felt this urgency, so when I pulled into my driveway, my phone was ringing and I ran in and could hardly get the key in the door trying to get to the phone.”
The moments before she heard were stressful enough, showing how, possibly, Priscilla could have been able to tell there was something negative to come.
Elvis had, at that time, been hospitalised a number of times for various health issues.
She continued: “And then it was Joe and he told me the news, and it was so devastating that I just went to my room and tried to contemplate how this happened, and what happened, and just stayed there until they sent a plane for me.
“They sent a jet to come, and going into that house and hearing all the people – especially his father, who I will, to this day, still remember him crying in such grief, howling – that it still resonates the loss and the impact.”
Priscilla rushed to Graceland to see his family, and those memories are still as fresh as they were when it took place 43 years ago.
Five years before this interview, on the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death, Lisa Marie told of her recollections of that day, in an interview with her mother Priscilla.
Lisa Marie told The Today Show in the USA: “I knew something was wrong, because I was in my room which was right next to his bathroom.
“So I knew that something was very wrong. All the commotion and everything. I was a wreck.
“I was a mess. But I was also confused because I was so upset.
“The pandemonium that happened afterwards was a little bit confusing.”
Lisa Marie was left Graceland and all of Elvis’ wealth after his death, which was made available to her when she turned 25 years old.
Until she was able to take on the house, Priscilla maintained it for many years, eventually opening it to the public as a museum in 1982.
Elvis was not left with the huge amounts of money one might expect, despite estimates placing his lifetime earnings between $100million and $1billion (£76.2million and £762million.)
After his death, the figure he was reported to have in his bank account was a mere $5million (£3.8million) and lots of debt, meaning those names executors of his estate, including Priscilla and his father Vernon, had little to work with.
Priscilla took charge and helped grow the estate significantly to around $100million by 1993, when Lisa Marie inherited it.
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