It’s been 40 years since Elvis Presley’s death and still his wife, Priscilla, misses him terribly. She first opened their private home in 1982.
Now 20 million guests later, she’s proud to share even more Elvis with the world. Priscilla talked with Beth Haynes about Elvis’ influence and a new, lasting tribute to the King.
Beth: “This new expansion called Elvis Presley’s Memphis is a major tribute to Elvis’ life and his career. Priscilla, you were instrumental in making this a reality.”
Priscilla: “This is something that has always been, just like the Guesthouse at Graceland, in the plans. It’s stuff that we’ve had in our warehouses. We’ve never had space enough to do this and take the full journey of Elvis from his childhood in Tupelo to his success at Sun Studio. We have his accomplishments from 1956-1960, the 68 special, his costumes, movies even cars. I think he’d be amazed at himself for accomplishing so much.”
Beth: “Elvis was such a visionary and this is a testament to that. This new expansion was part of his dream?”
Priscilla: “Yes, this was his dream. And, he loved Graceland. This is where he had fun. This is where we lived, in our own little bubble. And you see all the things we did when we lived here at Graceland. I remember sitting out in front of Graceland with Elvis. He looked across the street where the retail stores had been. That was a mini mall at one time until we purchased it. And, he said that he hated it. He wished it was all back to green space again, so it felt like he was back in the country. And soon, we’ll actually be able to fulfill that wish. All the retail stores will be demolished and grass and trees will be there.”
Beth: “I know it’s been 40 years, but you must still miss Elvis terribly.”
Priscilla: “Yes! Oh my gosh, he was an amazing human being. He impinged on my life in great ways. He was a mentor to me- even how I dressed, what I wore and how I looked.”
Beth: “We had a chance to tour the new hotel, the Guest House at Graceland which opened in November. And what I think is very cool- you’re personal touch is there along with Elvis’ personal touch.”
Priscilla: “It’s very unique, but it’s very unique to Elvis. In fact, George Cline was a big DJ here in Memphis. And, he was a very good friend of Elvis even before he made it. And, he said, ‘You know, Priscilla, if Elvis was here today, he wouldn’t be at Graceland, he’d be here at the hotel.