Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis Presley, dies at 54


Lisa Marie Presley, who was born into the celebrity spotlight as the only child of Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla and went on to a career as a singer and songwriter with her own headline-grabbing moments including marriages to pop star Michael Jackson and actor Nicolas Cage, died Jan. 12. She was 54.

The death was announced in a statement by her mother just hours after Ms. Presley was taken to a hospital from her home in West Hills, Calif.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter Lisa Marie has left us,” Priscilla Presley said in a statement. “She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known.”


Austin Butler thanked the Presley family during his acceptance speech for his leading role in “Elvis” at the Golden Globes on Jan. 10. (Video: NBC)

Throughout her life, Ms. Presley noted the feeling of being pulled in two directions. Like many children of superstars, there was the weight of the past through comparisons and the mythology built by fans. With Elvis, the aura burned extra bright. Many often pointed out Ms. Presley’s resemblance to her father: the same full lips and hangdog eyes.

At the same time, Ms. Presley as a musician felt the pressure to distinguish herself. The mix of past and present became a running theme. It was often reflected in her songs and what she described as the legacy of the Presley name: questions over whether she can bring the talent and how her personal successes and struggles were amplified by the attention.

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“When the first record came out, I don’t think [the tabloids] liked that it did well, and when I did my first tour, they started a whole campaign to picture that I was losing it, that I was gaining weight, that I was miserable, that I was drinking myself into these hysteric fits of eating because of bad ticket sales,” she said in 2005.

“They tried to make it like I was losing, when it was the opposite, and I realized that ultimately they were trying to make me look like what became of my dad.”


As she grew as a performer, however, Ms. Presley developed a bluesy and smoky style that drew praise from critics and knowing nods from Elvis fans for many songs that explored the intensity of the public eye and the death of her father when she was 9.

“Someone turned out the lights out in Memphis,” she sang in “Lights Out” (2003). “That’s where my family’s buried and gone.” In another 2003 song, “Nobody Noticed it,” she wonders why her father’s old entourage for not doing enough to save “the king” from drugs and other abuses in his final, tragic years.

In August 2007, on the 30th anniversary of her father’s death, Ms. Presley released a “duet” with his 1969 single “In the Ghetto” in which she adds her vocals over the original track. She said she rarely cried over memories of his father, but told said she just “lost it” when she heard their two voices together.

“Presley has faced down the demon of great expectations with grace,” wrote Washington Post reviewer Richard Harrington wrote in 2003.

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This is a developing story.


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