Elvis: Lisa Marie struggled with her father’s ‘huge, electrifying presence’ at Graceland

Elvis Presley: Priscilla and Lisa Marie discuss singer in 2012

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Lisa Marie lost her father when she was only nine years old. She inherited the house where Elvis had doted on her day and night, which has since been preserved exactly as it was when The king tragically passed on August 16, 1977. Over forty years later, fans still suffer intense grief over their idol’s death but Lisa Marie has spoken powerfully of trying to deal with losing someone who was at once simply her father but also so much more than that and so much larger than life – as much in private with her as he was on stage.

Elvis remains present in popular culture as much today as ever but Lisa Marie has her own intensely personal and overpowering connection with her father.

She said: “I’m talking about somebody in my eyes that was, to me, so overwhelmingly grand and powerful – and sometimes dark, depending on mood. And there was that for the first nine years of my life.

“Maybe I have been in search of something like that. It’s very hard to compete with that in my mind.” 

Lisa Marie added: “That’s what he was to me as a child – this huge, electrifyingly powerful, grand, beautiful presence.

“It’s like a lost duckling who walks around looking for that; I’m not really doing that, but I guess in some weird kind of psychological bulls**t, that could be what’s going on.”

Despite the terrible way it all ended, she insists that she retains only positive memories of her father: “It was always a lot of fun. There is not one bad memory. There was always a lot of energy and life in the house. He was very mischievous.”

She added: “Anything my father did for me or gave me was done out of love, and I took it as that

Not only did Lisa Marie have an extraordinary childhood at Graceland, but she also had the chance to see her father perform on stage, which left an indelible impression on her.

Even at such a young age, she knew she was witnessing something very special.

Lisa Marie said: “I was always excited if I was on tour with him. When he’d come on, I would just lose it, you know.”

Incredibly, so many years later when she was raising her own children, her son Benjamin’s love of Star Wars in the late 1990s helped Lisa Marie process some of her grief and loss. Benjamin, of course, died last July in a tragic accident.


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When Benjamin was a little boy of six or seven, Lisa Marie bought him Star Wars toys but also collected her own memorabilia, including a Darth Vader watch and an action figure which she kept in her office.

It may sound like a strange connection, but just think about what the entire cinema saga is based around. 

The original Star Wars films dealt with the orphan Luke, searching for his father, a shadowy presence who was later revealed to be a dark and overpowering figure.

Lisa Marie added at the time: “I’m sure it’s connected in some weird way to the grandness and the bigness of an earlier loss in my life. Some sort of representation of this grand, powerful – not dark and evil – but this thing in my life that went away. And maybe it’s some twisted f***ing way to try and replace that.” 

Lisa Marie’s favourite Elvis songs might also come as a surprise, they don’t include any of his most iconic and classic hits, but again it makes sense.

She said: “I like the Seventies material because I was around for those recordings.

“There was some great stuff that never made it to the radio: a song called Mary in the Morning, which I loved. In the Ghetto. I like the darker songs, the sad ones.

“There’s a song called Separate Ways that was treacherously painful. And How Great Thou Art, when he’d sing that live, there was nothing like it.”

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