Lisa Marie Presley was just nine when her father died at 42 in 1977. During her first decade, she spent many happy months at Graceland, which became a holiday treat for her when Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley divorced in 1973. Just as is the case on the tours today, the mansion’s upstairs was off-limits during The King’s lifetime as it was his private sanctuary. You can even see the one-way mirrors in the security wall on the first-floor landing from the bottom of the main staircase to this day. The main rooms in the secretive space were Elvis’ bedroom, bathroom and office, plus Lisa Marie’s childhood bedroom – rooms that have been preserved “exactly the same” as the star left them in 1977 as a sort of shrine in his honour.
Before she died at 54 last week, Lisa Marie treated Elvis movie star Austin Butler to a tour of Graceland’s upstairs. In his tribute to The King’s daughter, the 31-year-old Golden Globe Award winner told E!: “My heart is completely shattered for Riley, Finley, Harper and Priscilla at the tragic and unexpected loss of Lisa Marie. I am eternally grateful for the time I was lucky enough to be near her bright light and will forever cherish the quiet moments we shared. Her warmth, her love and her authenticity will always be remembered.”
On first meeting her, Butler told The Hollywood Reporter: “She hugged me with tears in her eyes, and she just said, ‘Thank you.’ She took me upstairs and we went into Elvis’ bedroom and just sat on his bed and just talked for hours.” In a previous interview, Lisa Marie shared how Graceland’s upstairs, where she would sit and watch TV in her bedroom with her father, was a place of real solace for her.
Speaking with Lorraine, Lisa Marie said: “Absolutely! It’s the one place I feel safest ever. I keep the key to upstairs with me. It’s just his room and my room, [it was Elvis’] sort of sanctuary. If I take the key…and just shut that door…I feel the safest and the calmest that I could possibly feel.”
Asked how religious her father was, she said: “Very much so…He always had books stacked up high next to his bed and they were all religious. If you go up to his bedroom, there’s a little office connected. And there’s just nothing but books of every religion…a million bibles. He was constantly searching and he was very connected to gospel.” She went on to describe The King’s bedroom.
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Paying tribute to Lisa Marie upon the news of her death, Ginger wrote on Facebook: “I remember Lisa coming into Elvis’s bedroom one evening, sitting on his bed and as she stared at the television, he tapped me silently behind her, ‘She has the same look in her eyes as me’, he said. That look is not far away from her father’s now. I truly wish we could have spoken later in life as I am sure she had many questions. May you rest in peace Lisa. You were loved and will be deeply missed.”