In Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley’s home remains a popular tourist destination decades after his death. If it had been up to any of Presley’s partners, within a year of the singer’s death in 1977, they would have sold Graceland. It was Priscilla, his ex-wife, who rescued Graceland.
Prisicilla Presley recalled how she struggled to save Graceland in a 2017 interview with Entertainment Tonight on the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death. Graceland is now open to a record 600,000 annual visitors.
At Graceland, part of Elvis Presley remains, Priscilla says.
Graceland was more than a luxurious home for rock stars. It became a museum of Elvis Presley’s career and persona.
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“When you come here and see all that he accomplished, I think that even though he could afford to do so much, he never lost who he was,” Priscilla told ET. He was still God-fearing, he was still loving to entertain, he was very, very generous, he was very sincere. What you see is what you get with Elvis. He wasn’t pretending to be someone else.
And he was a very, very special guy, and all of us had the talent to have him.
Graceland almost lost Priscilla Presley
By 1977, Elvis and Priscilla had been divorced for four years. Still, she was devoted to the protection of his estate. Priscilla recalls urging the workers, whom she did not call, to sell Graceland.
“I was told that we couldn’t afford the taxes, income and state, and that we should probably sell it,”I was told that we could not afford the taxes, the income and the state, and that we should probably sell it. “I was very alone in that decision, because I said, ‘There’s no way we’re going to do that.’ And they said that Elvis would be forgotten in six months.”
How Priscilla Presley saved a house for Elvis
In order to help her protect Graceland, Priscilla searched out her own experts. It proved to be a successful venture, but she did it just to fulfill the wishes of Elvis in 1977.
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Priscilla told ET, “So I had to roll up my sleeves and set out on my own to find help to get it,” “I guess [my]state of mind was not just surviving, but keeping a promise.”
Priscilla Presley remains in the company of Elvis
In the years following his passing, the continuing curiosity in Elvis has helped Priscilla cope.
Among those who help to keep the memory of Elvis alive are the fans who frequent Graceland.
For this reason, Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley still spends Christmas each year at Graceland.
I’m surrounded by so many fans who come and do some interviews, and it’s a definite reminder of his death, and at this special moment, of course, I think of him. It was a shocking moment to hear the news for me and, of course, for the entire world, and it’s still awesome because he was so much a part of our lives, my life, and the life of my daughter, and everything around him. We talk about it when we meet and the impact it has had… For me and my colleagues, who knew Elvis so well, of course, that we never thought he’d die. Priscilla Presley, Entertainment Tonight, 8/16/17 We have never had that in our minds.