Elvis Presley forever captured the world's attention and adoration, so perhaps it's no surprise that his beloved Memphis home – Graceland – took top honors this week in the 10Best Readers' Choice contest for Best Iconic American Attraction. The public had four weeks to vote on 20 nominees – renowned attractions including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the White House. But Graceland loyalists amassed nearly half of all votes for the entire category; many of them likely Elvis fans.
But despite its status as a great American landmark, Graceland was and is a home. "It was my childhood home," says Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' only daughter and the owner of Graceland and its contents. "I was born in Memphis and it was my home," says Lisa Marie. When told on Monday that Graceland was just voted the most iconic American attraction among a heady list of other highly recognizable American landmarks and attractions, she said, "Wow. That's really incredible. I'm very humbled and flattered to hear that. It's incredible . . . it's just incredible."
Elvis Presley died at Graceland in 1977, at the age of 42, when Lisa Marie, now 45, was nine years old. But his tragic early death failed to diminish the impact he'd already had (and would continue to have) on the music industry and pop culture worldwide. Graceland - today a museum estate which the public can visit - presents those who enter with a moment in American history perfectly frozen in time.
"It's got a very special energy there, when you go," says Lisa Marie. "It's like a time capsule: nothing's been changed or moved since 1977. It's like a time warp and the energy is still very much there. You can feel it," she says, emphatically. "It's from the essence of that time period. It's a very special place."
Elvis and Graceland
Elvis Presley, an enigmatic and talented singer, first gained wide popularity 1954, with Memphis' Sun Records label. In 1955, RCA acquired his recording contract and less than a year later, the handsome Memphis crooner with the gyrating hips also became a movie star. In 1957, just before a two-year stint in the U.S. Army put his performing career on hold, Elvis took the proceeds from his first hit – Heartbreak Hotel – and purchased Graceland, a 10,000 square foot Southern-style Colonial mansion.
His parents moved into Elvis' dream home with him – a far cry from the tiny first home they had all shared in Tupelo, Miss. The years following Elvis' 1960 return from the Army were filled with hit records, films and concerts. Girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu moved to Graceland and lived with "The King" while he became a legend beyond the scope of anything the world had seen before. They eventually wed in Las Vegas, in 1967, and held a wedding reception for family members a few weeks later in the trophy room at Graceland. In 1968, the estate gained a new resident when Priscilla and Elvis brought home their infant daughter Lisa Marie.
Elvis made some conversions to the mansion's second floor – originally four bedrooms and three baths – to accommodate his changing lifestyle. He adapted one of the bedrooms so that his new baby had a nursery. The heralded Memphis estate fascinated the world, but to Lisa Marie, Graceland was simply home.
Elvis accommodated his ever-expanding wardrobe in a second upstairs bedroom, and turned the remaining bedroom into an office. His father Vernon maintained a separate office in an out-building on the property, where - with the assistance of a cadre of secretaries - he managed family business and piles of fan mail. Gold records began to accumulate in the basement TV room.
"It was such an incredible place to grow up," says Lisa Marie Presley. "Very special." Sharing her take on the recreational aspect of Elvis' home turf, she says, "It was almost like a big playground for my father and everybody. It was my father's sanctuary, and he made it into such a special place. He made it into a home for a lot of people."
With a noticeably happy tone, she also recalls, "There was lots of mischief. There were golf cart convoys, motorcycles, fireworks, firecracker wars, snowmobiling, sledding and horseback riding," she says, "for his closest friends and his family . . . and we all had a lot of fun doing that sort of stuff, getting into mischief and having fun. It was incredible."
Evolution of Graceland
When Elvis died in 1977, he was buried at Graceland. He and Priscilla had amicably split some years before, but still shared custody of Lisa Marie.
Two years later, when Vernon Presley also passed away, Priscilla became co-executor of the Presley estate. It was her decision to open the property to the public. "It was a private residence up until my father passed," says Lisa Marie. Priscilla's business acumen turned a family home burdened by large upkeep expense into a successful empire that now includes TV and video projects, merchandising, and a worldwide licensing program. Once she was an adult, Lisa Marie's own role grew and Priscilla was able to move to an advisory position; she remains closely involved in the estate.
Graceland was designated a National Historic Landmark in March of 2006. In June of that same year, the property received its first visit by a sitting President, when George W. Bush visited Graceland with the Japanese prime minister. Today, millions of people have toured of Graceland.
The basic Graceland Mansion tour ($15-$33) now includes the living room, kitchen, dining room, music room, parents' bedroom, TV room, pool room and the infamous Jungle Room. The tour's final stop is the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family were laid to rest.
Other tours include the Elvis Presley Car Museum; Elvis' Custom Jets; and 2013 exhibit additions 'Live from Vegas' and 'Hawaii: Concerts, Movies and More!'
10Best: Memphis Travel Guide
A new VIP tour component – 'Elvis … Through His Daughter's Eyes' – examines life at Graceland from Lisa Marie's perspective and lets ticketholders get a glimpse of toys, mementos and even rare home movies from the years the world's most famous father and daughter shared at home. But the upstairs rooms at Graceland remain private.
Lisa Marie: Life after Elvis
What many visitors don't know is that after visiting hours are over, the Presley abode is still a home. "It shuts down quite nice at night," explains Lisa Marie, who visits her hometown often. "I have family that I love very much who live there in Memphis," she says. "When I go to Memphis, I visit (Graceland)," she explains. "We have dinner there."
Picture that. After the last tourist has gone home for the day, and Elvis' devotees are once again outside the estate's famous gates, Lisa Marie still moves about the property in privacy. "My family still goes there, and we still have a life there," she says. When asked if any important events of late have happened at Graceland, The King's only daughter easily recalls, "Thanksgiving a year or two ago. Mom wasn't there then," she says, "but we're going to be there in a couple of weeks, together."
Lisa Marie's popularity as the only child of an iconic performer makes privacy hard to come by. "I'm usually there after hours, typically," she says of her visits to Memphis' beloved landmark, "but occasionally while tours are happening." Does she overnight in the private haven somewhere above the Jungle Room? "I have stayed there in the past," she says, "but not recently, no."
Lisa Marie, who splits her time between the U.S. and the U.K., is currently on tour to promote her third album, the critically-acclaimed Storm & Grace. She'll be playing the Levitz Shell Pavilion in Memphis on Saturday, September 21, following a Sept. 20 showcase appearance in Nashville during the American Music Festival. Other tour dates and tickets can be found at lisamariepresley.com
Putting rumors to rest
Elvis' only daughter, Graceland's sole owner, is emphatic about sharing one important message with fans and followers of the Presley family. "Sometimes there are rumors about it (Graceland) being sold," she says, "and that is NEVER going to happen. There's always a rumor. It is NOT getting sold. Graceland was given to me and will always be mine and then passed to my children," she says. "It will never be sold."
Presley also maintains ownership of the contents of the home: the record awards, clothing, furniture and all artifacts on display throughout the tour.
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Ticket Office: 3765 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis
Parking: 3717 Elvis Presley Blvd (fee)
-Author Libby Boren McMillan had the pleasure of a private tour of Graceland with her cousin Mae Boren Axton, who wrote the lyrics to Heartbreak Hotel.
Does Lisa Marie still own Graceland? ›
Following Elvis's death, he left Lisa Marie ownership of the Graceland estate through a trust fund set up in her benefit. That trust dissolved when she turned 25 in 1993, giving her full ownership of the property, which now hosts popular public tours and sits next to museums honoring Elvis's life and career.Who will own Graceland now? ›
The fate of Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion has been revealed. The Memphis, Tenn. estate will be inherited by Lisa Marie Presley's three daughters—Riley Keough and Harper and Finley Lockwood—following her death at age 54, a representative for Graceland confirmed to E! News on Jan. 17.Who will inherit Lisa Presley estate? ›
After Lisa Marie's death in 2023, Graceland and her trust were inherited by her daughters, Riley Keough and Harper and Finley Lockwood, a representative for Graceland confirmed to People.Why did Priscilla take over Graceland? ›
Elvis's father, Vernon Presley, who had been executor of his son's will, had just died, forcing Priscilla to pick up the reins and oversee the late singer's estate until their daughter Lisa-Marie turned 25.Will Priscilla inherit Graceland? ›
Lisa Marie was the only child of the late "King of Rock and Roll" and his only wife, Priscilla Presley. Upon Elvis' death in August 1977, the only beneficiaries in his will were his father Vernon, grandmother Minnie and his then-9-year-old daughter.Who will inherit Graceland after Lisa Marie? ›
Following her death, Elvis Presley's legendary Tennessee estate will be passed down to her three children, Riley, Harper, and Finley.Can Graceland ever be sold? ›
The estate was estimated to be worth between $400 to $500 million in 2020 according to Rolling Stone. The King's daughter vowed never to sell the estate despite rumors to the contrary: “Graceland was given to me and will always be mine. And then passed to my children. It will never be sold.”Did Priscilla Presley get any money from Elvis? ›
Priscilla Presley was making $900,000 a year from Elvis Presley Enterprises despite having no stake in the company, according to a lawsuit.How much profit does Graceland make a year? ›
According to Forbes, Elvis Presley's estate makes him one of the wealthiest dead celebrities today. The publication estimates that the Presley estate earned $23 million in 2020 alone. A majority of this money comes in through Graceland, which earns around $10 million annually during a typical year.Who owns Graceland now 2023? ›
Elvis Presley's iconic Memphis, Tenn. mansion, Graceland, will stay in the Presley family. Following the death of Lisa Marie Presley on Thursday, the property, which is in a trust, will benefit Lisa Marie's three daughters, Riley, Harper and Finley, a representative for Graceland confirms to PEOPLE.
How much did Elvis leave Lisa Marie? ›
Due to his years of excessive spending and being bilked by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' estate was worth $5 million at the time of his death, with just $1 million dedicated to Lisa Marie before the deaths of Vernon and Minnie Mae.Who owns the hotel at Graceland? ›
About Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
EPE also produces and licenses Elvis-themed live events, tours and attractions worldwide. Graceland Holdings LLC, led by managing partner Joel Weinshanker, is the majority owner of EPE.
According to the terms of her father's will, Lisa Marie became the sole inheritor of Graceland and the rest of the “Hound Dog” singer's estate, but her inheritance was held in a trust until she turned 25.How much debt is Graceland in? ›
Lisa Marie Presley's death at the age of 54 leaves the question of who will inherit Graceland, and what remains of the infamous $100million inheritance which is said to have been entirely spent, leaving her in $16million debt by 2016.How much does it cost to run Graceland? ›
Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Elvis' and Priscilla's daughter Lisa Marie's inheritance to only $1 million.Why can't you go upstairs at Graceland? ›
The Upstairs Remains Off Limits
It was there, in his bathroom, that Presley's body was found on Aug. 16, 1977. After the home was opened to the public in 1982, the second floor was sealed shut out of respect to the family — and also to avoid any macabre attention at the scene of his death.
Lisa Marie Presley isn't Priscilla Presley's only child. More than a decade after her 1973 divorce from Elvis Presley, Priscilla welcomed her second child, a son named Navarone Garibaldi Garcia, with her then-partner, producer Marco Garibaldi.Was Lisa Marie at Elvis funeral? › Who owns the majority of Graceland? ›
Lisa Marie Presley retains 100% sole personal ownership of Graceland Mansion itself and its over 13-acre original grounds and her father's personal effects - meaning costumes, wardrobe, awards, furniture, cars, etc..How much money will Lisa Marie Presley's children inherit? ›
Lisa-Marie Presley's three daughters to inherit Graceland estate worth $718 million. Lisa Marie Presley's three daughters will inherit the $718 million estate once owned by Elvis after her sudden death last week.
Does family still stay at Graceland? ›
Elvis Presley's iconic Graceland mansion will stay in the family after the death of his only child, Lisa Marie Presley.Why is Graceland in debt? ›
Why is Graceland in debt? The debts not paid are actually five series of municipal bonds that were issued by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County and were to be paid from taxes generated by a Tourism Development Zone and tax-increment financing district at Graceland.What did Elvis pay for Graceland when he bought it? ›
In the spring of 1957, when Elvis Presley was 22, he purchased the home and grounds for just over $100,000. The previous year had been a whirlwind - it was Elvis' first year of super-stardom including historic network television appearances, record-breaking live performances and armloads of gold record awards.How much was Elvis worth at his peak? ›
Estate estimated net worth: US$400-500 million
But that wasn't the case back in the day. When he was found dead in 1977, his net worth was only US$5 million, which is worth about US$20 million in today's money.
The RCA Records Label was bought by BMG in the 1980s and in 2004 BMG merged with Sony Music Entertainment to become Sony BMG. Sony BMG owns Elvis' recordings and they continue to use the RCA Records label for issuing Elvis releases. They also have a special Elvis collectors label, Follow That Dream Records.How much money did the colonel get from Elvis? ›
Out of the ridiculous $10.5million figure, Elvis received $4.5million and the Colonel received $6million. Toward the end of his career, his body was ravaged by years of abuse. Besides for being super generous, giving away cars, jewelry and houses, he was over reliant on his advisors.Who bought Graceland Elvis or his parents? ›
Many fans may think of Graceland as the home of a rock star, but it's also the home of a Southern man and his family. Elvis purchased Graceland so his parents could have a home they deserved. The home is full of Presley family artifacts and photos.How much does Elvis Presley make a day? ›
|Name (And 2018 Net Income)||Hourly Net Income (Every hour, 24 hours per day)|
|Michael Jackson ($400M)||$45,662.10/hr|
|Elvis Presley ($40M)||$4,566.21/hr|
Although Elvis has been dead for 45 years, his estate is still making money off his name. In June 2022, Macy's launched an exclusive line of Elvis Presley LEGEND perfumes inspired by the King.Who is the CEO of Graceland? ›
Since then, Graceland has welcomed more than 22 million fans through its doors. Priscilla Presley and Graceland's President and CEO Jack Soden recently sat down to share some of their memories of opening Elvis' home to the world.
Who last lived in Graceland? ›
But the hardiest post-Elvis Graceland resident was Delta Mae Presley Biggs, known to family and fans alike as "Aunt Delta." The sister of Vernon Presley, Aunt Delta moved to Graceland in 1966, after the death of her husband, and continued to live in the mansion even after it was opened to the public, until her death on ...Who has control over Graceland? ›
Elvis Presley's former home Graceland will remain in control of the Presley family, it has been confirmed. The estate – now a house museum and point of pilgrimage for Elvis fans from around the world – was inherited by Presley's daughter Lisa Marie on his death in 1977.Where does Lisa Marie Presley live now? › Does Lisa Marie Presley have a negative net worth? ›
Presley, a singer-songwriter like her father, wasn't rich enough to make the Forbes list of highest-paid entertainers, while some celebrity websites even estimated that she may have had a negative net worth at her death.Where does Priscilla stay when visiting Graceland? ›
The Guest House at Graceland is a hotel adjacent to the King's mansion, which Priscilla helped design. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device.How much does it cost to stay overnight at Graceland? ›
THE GUEST HOUSE AT GRACELAND $139 ($̶4̶1̶6̶) - Updated 2023 Prices & Hotel Reviews - Memphis, TN.Where does the money from Graceland to? ›
After Elvis Presley's death from polypharmacy on August 16, 1977 at Graceland, his will appointed his father, Vernon Presley, as executor and trustee. The beneficiaries of the trust were Vernon, Elvis' grandmother Minnie Mae Presley, and his nine-year-old daughter Lisa Marie Presley.How much money did Colonel Parker steal from Elvis? ›
But in 1973, the Colonel committed the ultimate betrayal, selling Presley's entire back catalog to RCA for $5.4 million, a gross undervaluation for one of the most substantial catalogs in music history.Does Lisa Marie own Elvis music? ›
As a result, Lisa Marie does not own the artist's royalties on sales of recordings made before March 1973, however the Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) does own his artist's royalties on sales of recordings made after that date, which still earns them a hefty sum.Does Lisa Marie still get money from Elvis estate? ›
Though Graceland is a lucrative property (it operates as a tourist attraction) that will continue to bring in a healthy stream of income for her daughters, as well as the monthly earnings from the 15% stake she retained in Elvis' assets ($104,000 according to legal documents disclosed during Presley's divorce), other ...
Who owns Graceland Guest house? ›
About Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) manages the operations of Graceland, its related properties, including The Guest House at Graceland 450-room hotel, as well as the Graceland Archives, featuring thousands of artifacts from Elvis' home and career.
The mansion and property were acquired by Elvis Presley for $100,000 in 1957. The estate was estimated to be worth between $400 to $500 million in 2020 according to Rolling Stone.Who owns Graceland 2023? ›
Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, inherited Graceland after his death on August 16, 1977. Following Lisa Marie's death on January 12, 2023, her three daughters will inherit it.What does Graceland smell like? ›
This timeless fragrance begins with notes of white tea which dries down to an alluring scent of green fig. Soft hints of jasmine, rose and cedarwood create a sophisticated and elegant scent that is perfect for any space.Who took advantage of Elvis? ›
Who was Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager who allegedly stole over half of his millions? Inside their controversial connection, depicted in Baz Luhrmann's new biopic.What will happen to Graceland? ›
Elvis Presley's iconic Graceland mansion will stay in the family after the death of his only child, Lisa Marie Presley. The 54-year-old singer died last week after suffering a cardiac arrest. Presley's three daughters, Riley, Harper and Finley, will inherit the Tennessee estate, according to a representative.How much does it cost to stay at the guest house at Graceland? ›
THE GUEST HOUSE AT GRACELAND $139 ($̶4̶1̶6̶) - Updated 2023 Prices & Hotel Reviews - Memphis, TN.Can you stay the night at Graceland? ›
Living Room Suites
Put the Guest House at Graceland on your list of hotel options for the next time you travel to Memphis and want to spend a few nights in rock and roll luxury! To check on availability and prices, make reservations or find out more, call 800-238-2000 or 901-443-3000 - or book online now.
Elvis and his family owned several horses during their years here at Graceland, and there are still horses that live in the stables behind the king's castle.What is the yearly income of the Graceland mansion? ›
The publication estimates that the Presley estate earned $23 million in 2020 alone. A majority of this money comes in through Graceland, which earns around $10 million annually during a typical year.
How much did Priscilla Presley get from Elvis? ›
Priscilla Presley got $900K a year from Elvis Enterprises without company stake: lawsuit. Priscilla Presley was making $900,000 a year from Elvis Presley Enterprises despite having no stake in the company, according to a lawsuit.