Elvis daughter Lisa Marie ‘Graceland upstairs is a beautiful, creepy shrine to my father’ | Films | Entertainment
Baz Luhrman’s Elvis biopic is tipped to win some golden hardware at the Oscars tonight – especially actor Austin Butler for his portrayal of The King. Of course, few will ever truly know what life was like behind the closed doors of Graceland where Lisa Marie lived until she was eleven years old and her father suddenly died on August 16, 1977. Tragically, the superstar’s child died equally suddenly earlier this year shortly after emerging from her grief-stricken seclusion after losing her own son Benjamin Keough in July 2020. Now they are both buried in the gardens of Graceland along with their famous family.
Elvis died over 40 years ago but half a million fans still visit his home every regular year (pandemics aside). They are shown all around the downstairs living rooms and basement recreation rooms. They tour the museum areas, grounds and, of course, The Meditation Garden where the star is buried alongside his parents, Gladys and Vernon, and grandmother Minnie Mae and now Lisa Marie and Benjamin
But nobody is permitted upstairs except Lisa Marie (previously), her mother Priscilla and very trusted members of staff.
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH LISA MARIE REVEAL GRACELAND’S SECRET ROOMS
Lisa Marie inherited Graceland on her father’s death, along with Vernon and Minnie Mae. After their death, as the sole heir, she had final say on how the memory of Elvis is preserved.
Graceland archivist Angie Marchese oversees all the contents of the home and attached museum, storage and display areas.
She said: “The upstairs at Graceland, even when Elvis was here was always a very private part of the home. Even Elvis’ closest friends and family didn’t go upstairs unless personally invited. And when we opened up for tours in 1982, the family requested that we keep the upstairs private, and we still honour that request and keep it private today.
Angie added: “The bedroom really looks as if he (Elvis) just got up one day and left. The bed is made and all his personal items are still in place except his clothes which are in archives.”
The record player in the star’s bedroom still has the last disc he ever played on it, a track by Elvis’ backing singers, JD Sumner and the Stamps.
Apparently, there is even a styrofoam cup on a shelf, exactly as it was on August 16, 1977.
Lisa Marie vividly described some of the details of what was preserved upstairs as well as her mixed feelings about having her childhood and the loss of her father preserved forever in time.
In addition to her bedroom upstairs, the archives and museum contain countless artefacts from her childhood from clothing and her bed to her Christmas stocking.
The entire mansion’s upstairs area comprised an enormous suite for Elvis with his bedroom, office, wardrobes and the bathroom where he died.
Linda Thompson, who dated Elvis from 1972 to 1976, recently described the upstairs: “Our bedroom was black, red and gold… And no – the windows were never opened.”
Lisa Marie was asleep in her bedroom next door when her father’s body was found and rushed in, alerted by all the shouting.
She visited the house regularly throughout her life, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas when large family meals were still celebrated in the dining room.
But she explained why she usually goes upstairs alone: “It’s very comforting for me.”
Upstairs alone she was surrounded by her father’s favourite things. She added: “The books, the videos, everything is there still. The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Pink Panther, Bruce Lee – all of his videos are still there. All of his records.”
VHS video recorders and players were only released in the US on August 23, 1977, a week after Elvis’ death. Commercial video rentals of films also started late that year. However, the star may have been able to access an advance machine before it hit the shelves.