Priscilla Presley was as shocked as Elvis Presley‘s fans when she learned of his death in August 1977. However, the event’s impact on her was unlike what she had ever experienced. She likened news of the king of rock and roll’s passing to “waking up from a nightmare.”
Was Priscilla Presley in Memphis when Elvis Presley died?
Priscilla Presley discussed the fateful day she learned of Elvis Presley’s death in a 2005 interview with Entertainment Tonight. She was not in Memphis the day Elvis died but was at home in California.
“I got a call. Instantly, I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t pinpoint it because Lisa was supposed to come home that day. After all, Elvis was going out on tour,” she revealed.
“I raced home. I think I ran every red light there was trying to get to my house,” Priscilla says.
She continued, “The phone was ringing. It kept ringing and ringing. It felt like one of those horror movies when you’re trying to get the key in the door. Like your hands are shaking so badly you can’t find the hole to get the key into.”
Priscilla hoped the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and when she finally picked it up, it was her longtime friend and Elvis’ road manager, Joe Esposito. ” I was praying that the phone didn’t stop ringing. And I get to the phone, and it’s Joe Esposito. “I will never forget this. He says to me, ‘You know, Cilla,’ and it seemed like it was forever for him to tell me, and then he said, ‘It’s Elvis.’”
“I knew right then and there that something horrible had happened. When he told me he was dead, it was like waking up from a nightmare, hoping to wake up and say, ‘This is a joke,’” she admitted.
Instinctively, Priscilla’s first thought was her and Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley
Knowing that Lisa Marie was scheduled to return home from her summer break with Elvis, Priscilla feared for her daughter during the hours after her father’s death. Priscilla returned to Graceland on Elvis’ private jet, the Lisa Marie, to be with the king of rock and roll’s family and friends and to comfort their child.
“Lisa was at the house. And for a nine-year-old, that’s devastating to go through,” Priscilla admitted. However, appearance-wise, Lisa Marie seemed to be handling the news.
“She was out on the golf cart, driving around with her friend,” Priscilla revealed. “I remember looking out the window and thinking, ‘Is that normal?’ Then I realized that was her way of escaping. Because the house was filled with such disbelief.”
Priscilla Presley admits she was ‘angry’ Elvis Presley died
One of Priscilla Presley’s first emotions after Elvis Presley’s death was profound sadness. Then, anger started to creep in.
Priscilla told Entertainment Tonight, “I remember feeling anger toward Elvis, thinking, ‘How could you leave us?’ It was something you never felt was going to happen to him.”
She recalled hearing Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley, “howling” for his son. Priscilla spoke of darkness falling over the once-happy estate hours after Elvis’ death.
“It was like walking in a maze, a spiral of going downward and never feeling you could come out of it. Because Elvis was always there,” she explained.
“He was so young, 42 years old. You realize how young he was to leave us. It was the day the whole world mourned. I felt emptiness for months after that,” Priscilla concluded.
Elvis Presley is buried at his beloved Graceland home alongside his parents, Vernon and Gladys Presley, and grandmother, Minnie Mae. Across from their graves are the tombs of his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, and grandson, Benjamin Keough.
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