Elvis Presley Biography - Songs, Death & Daughter

Elvis Presley, a musician, and actor rocketed to prominence in the mid-1950s on the radio, television, and the silver screen, becoming one of the most famous names in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Elvis Presley: Who Was He?

Elvis Presley grew up in humble circumstances to become one of the biggest stars in rock ‘n’ roll—dubbed “The King” of the music. By the mid-1950s, he had made appearances on radio, television, and the big picture. The 42-year-old died on August 16, 1977, of heart failure caused by his drug addiction. Presley has remained one of the world’s most popular music idols after his death.

Early Years

Elvis Aron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. Presley was meant to be a twin, but his sibling, Jesse Garon (sometimes spelled Jessie), died shortly after birth. Presley rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most famous names in rock ‘n’ roll.


Presley and his family had little money and traveled about a lot as a result of his loving, working-class parents, Vernon and Gladys. He was passionately attached to his parents, particularly his mother, and was raised to believe in God. Presley and his parents attended the Assembly of God Church, where gospel music became a big influence on him.

On his 11th birthday in 1946, Presley received his first guitar as a gift from his mother, and he had his first taste of musical success a few years later when he won a talent contest at Humes High School in Memphis. He worked a variety of jobs after graduation in 1953, all while following his musical goal. That year, he made his first demo record at what became known as Sun Studio, and before enough, record label owner Sam Phillips decided to take the budding talent under his wing. Presley began traveling and recording shortly after, hoping for his first big break. In 1954, “That’s All Right” was Presley’s debut single.

Elvis Presley’s Musical Career

Presley began to gain a following in 1955, with listeners captivated by his distinctive musical style, provocative gyrating hips, and attractive looks. Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, arranged for him to contract with RCA Records that same year. Presley was on a roll in 1956, collecting his first No. 1 single with “Heartbreak Hotel,” his first No. 1 album, Elvis Presley, and landing a movie contract with Paramount Pictures. Despite the outrage produced by his seductive dancing movements, he became a famous guest on a number of television variety shows.

Presley was soon in demand as a musician and actor. Love Me Tender (1956), his debut picture, was a box office success.

Throughout his incredible career, Presley helped popularise rock ‘n’ roll music in America, garnering him the moniker “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” He also received three Grammy Awards for gospel recordings. Presley was a huge musical force, with 18 No. 1 singles, including “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Good Luck Charm,” and “Suspicious Minds,” and several gold and platinum albums.

His career skyrocketed after his performance on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956. Sixty million people tuned in to see Presley, then 21, perform “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” and “Love Me Tender,” replete with the hip gyrations that many deemed offensive. He returned to the show twice more during the next year, with the third appearance edited from the waist down.

Elvis Presley’s 1957 record Elvis’ Christmas Record topped the Billboard charts for four weeks and went on to sell over 20 million copies in various versions, making it the best-selling holiday album of all time.

Also in 1957, Presley’s song “Jailhouse Rock” from the film of the same name hit No. 1. In 2021, Rolling Stone rated it 216th on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

“Blue Suede Shoes,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “All Shook Up,” “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” are among Presley’s other famous songs.”

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Presley was one of the first performers to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Presley, on the other hand, has been recognized for his contributions to a variety of musical genres, most notably rock, country, and gospel. Presley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame posthumously in 1998, and the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame three years later.

Marriage and Military Service

Even a spell in the United States military couldn’t dampen Presley’s blossoming career. He was drafted in 1957 and was enlisted into the Army the following March. He finally spent around a year and a half in Germany.

Gladys Presley, Presley’s adored mother, died just before Elvis went to Europe. He was given permission to return to Memphis for the funeral. Presley returned to duty, deeply devastated by her passing.

His spirits were brightened significantly while in Germany when he met Priscilla Beaulieu, a young adolescent. On May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas, Nevada, the couple fell in love and married.

Films and Soundtracks

Presley restarted his career after leaving the Army in 1960 and was quickly back at the top of the charts with the soundtrack to his picture GI Blues. He continued to record songs and perform in films such as Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Viva Las Vegas (1962). Although his films were frequently panned by reviewers and spectators, he made a profit, and the soundtracks sold well. However, by the late 1960s, the enigmatic performer looked to be losing box office attraction. He taped his first TV special in 1968, sometimes referred to as the “’68 Comeback,” to prove he was still “The King,” and astonished spectators with his performance, which showed his abilities as a singer and guitarist.

Daughter, Divorce, and Drug Abuse

Presley’s personal life appeared to be improving during this period. In 1968, a year after he and Priscilla married, they had a daughter, Lisa Marie. Unfortunately, this happy period would not endure.

Presley’s marriage was in disarray by the early 1970s. When the couple split in 1973, Priscilla was granted custody of Lisa Marie. Presley was also dealing with other personal issues, such as a growing prescription medication addiction. The once-thin rock star was struggling with his weight, and his destructive lifestyle caught up with him that autumn when he was hospitalized for drug-related health issues.

Despite his personal difficulties, Presley remained a popular attraction in Las Vegas and on tour. In June 1977, he gave his final concert in Indianapolis, Indiana. Following the show, Elvis returned to Graceland, his Memphis residence, to prepare for another tour.

Legacy and Death

Presley died of heart failure on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42. His death was eventually determined to be the result of prescription medication misuse. Presley was laid to rest on the grounds of Graceland, among the graves of his mother, father, and grandmother Minnie Mae Hood Presley.

Many people were saddened by Presley’s death. According to the FTD flower delivery service, over 3,100 floral arrangements were bought on the day of his death, setting a one-day record in the United States.

On August 18, an estimated 18,000 people lined Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis with placards, flowers, and memorabilia to see his burial procession. According to The Washington Post, Presley’s remains were delivered in a white Cadillac hearse inside a rose-covered casket. A private service at Graceland was attended by around 200 family members. John Wayne, Burt Reynolds, Ann-Margret, and Caroline Kennedy were among those in attendance.

Presley left behind his sole daughter, Lisa Marie, and four grandkids, all of whom were born after his death. Lisa Marie had two children with her previous husband, Danny Keough: Danielle Riley Keough in 1989 and Benjamin Storm Presley Keough in 1992. Danielle Keough is an actress who goes by her middle and last names. She has had credited parts during the 2010s, most notably in Daisy Jones & The Six. Lisa Marie welcomed twin twins with her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood, in 2008: Harper Vivienne Anne and Finley Aaron Love.

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How Tall Was Elvis Presley?

Presley’s height varies according to source, although he is usually thought to be approximately 6 feet tall.

Although army records place him at an even 6 feet, a genuine paper driver’s license sold at auction in 2015 said that Presley was 5-foot-11. According to a costume designer who worked with him, he is just under 6 feet tall.

Elvis Presley’s Favourite Foods
A fried peanut butter and banana sandwich was Presley’s go-to snack. In the 1996 BBC documentary The Burger & the King, his former chef Mary Jenkins Langston recounted the process of obtaining the right recipe.

Elvis rejected Langston’s first five tries to cook the sandwich, according to Priscilla Presley, before his father recommended toasting the bread first. It worked, but Langston had to use two sticks of butter for each of Presley’s three sandwiches. He would order the delicacy at all hours of the day and night, according to her.

According to the same documentary, Presley’s love of cuisine dates back to his boyhood in Mississippi. His family occasionally ate squirrel, but he preferred pig feet, collard greens, and chitlins.

Langston also prepared meatloaf, cheeseburgers, chicken-fried steaks, caramel cakes, and banana pudding for Presley, frequently in huge quantities. “He said that the only thing he got any enjoyment out of in life was eating,” Langston explained.

Elvis’ Animals

Presley and his family have a wide range of pets and animals. Elvis had a turkey named Bowtie, and his mother and father reared hens and hogs on the Graceland grounds.

Elvis once had a mynah bird that was trained to recite reasons for why the singer couldn’t answer the phone. Throughout his life, Presley had various horses and pets.

In 1961, Presley also purchased Scatter, a chimp. The monkey dressed like a person and frequently went out with Elvis and his buddies, but he soon became difficult to handle. On film sets, he was known to consume drinks and destroy the changing rooms. Graceland staff allegedly poisoned Scatter after becoming tired of dealing with his shenanigans.


Graceland, Presley’s Memphis home, is available to the public, and many admirers from over the world visit the renowned property on an annual basis, particularly around Presley’s birthday and the anniversary of his death.

Thousands of admirers descended on Graceland on August 16, 2012, the 35th anniversary of Presley’s death, for a unique tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Fans held lighted candles and stood outside Presley’s home during the gathering. Although the Presley family hosts a memorial ceremony each year to commemorate the anniversary of Presley’s death, the 2012 gathering was notable for the presence of Presley’s estranged wife, Priscilla, and daughter Lisa Marie for the first time at the annual event.

“You should see it from our perspective. According to the Washington Post, Priscilla exclaimed during the occasion, “It’s amazing.” “The candles have been lighted. It’s simply breathtaking… Elvis would never have guessed something like this could have happened here.”

Following the deaths of her grandfather Vernon and great-grandmother Minnie May in 1979 and 1980, respectively, Lisa Marie became the sole heir to Graceland. On her 25th birthday in 1993, she purchased the estate.

When Lisa Marie died on January 12, 2023, she left Graceland to her children. Priscilla, on the other hand, swiftly filed a legal challenge to her daughter’s will, arguing that a 2016 update that replaced her as a co-trustee of Lisa Marie’s trust was unlawful.

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Elvis Presley Films

Presley has remained one of the world’s most popular music idols after his death. Several documentaries and videos have been made about the mysterious performer throughout the years.

John Carpenter directed the made-for-TV biopic Elvis, starring Kurt Russell as Elvis Presley, in 1979. Russell, on the other hand, did not sing for the part; instead, he lip-synced to country singer Ronnie McDowell. The film omits most of Presley’s life, including his death, yet was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards.

Two documentaries have been created on Presley’s memorable visit to the White House with President Richard Nixon in 1970. Rick Peters portrayed the King in the 1996 mockumentary Elvis Meets Nixon, while Michael Shannon portrayed him in the 2016 film Elvis & Nixon. According to a 2020 Washingtonian article, the most-requested photograph from the United States is one from the actual visit. The National Archives.

A CBS television miniseries starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Elvis Presley aired in 2005, and Meyers won a Golden Globe for his portrayal.

Elvis Presley: The Searcher, a two-part documentary produced in 2018, explores his early life, rise to popularity, and many musical influences.

Austin Butler portrayed Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s elegant 2022 biographical drama Elvis. Colonel Tom Parker was portrayed by Tom Hanks. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Butler’s performance.

Lisa Marie Presley, Presley’s daughter, termed the film “absolutely exquisite” and commended Butler, who “channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully.”

Auctions for Elvis Memorabilia

Items from Presley’s career are highly sought after and have fetched high prices at auction.

In 2015, an acetate recording of “My Happiness” from 1953 sold for $300,000 at Graceland. Presley paid $4 for the recording at the time.

An Omega watch given to Elvis Presley by RCA Records in 1961 sold for more than $1.8 million in Geneva in 2018. The watch is made of 18K white gold and features 44 diamonds on the bezel.

Another 2018 auction, held at Graceland’s Guest House and online, featured over 200 treasures from third-party collectors, many of which were formerly owned, used, and signed by the King himself. The most expensive piece sold for more than $51,000, was a 1942 Beretta M1934 handgun gifted to Presley by General Omar Bradley.

At the 2021 Artefacts of Hollywood and Music auction, Elvis Presley’s white jumpsuit from his first live performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1972 sold for $1,012,500. Other Presley memorabilia sold were a jar of his hair for $72,500 and his Viva Las Vegas racing helmet for $23,750.

Presley’s 1962 Lockheed JetStar jet sold for $286,000 in Florida in January 2023. The plane was in rough repair after sitting for decades at the Roswell International Air Centre in New Mexico, but it had a crimson velvet interior and gold-finish hardware.

Impersonators of Elvis Presley

Presley’s impersonators and tribute acts are in high demand due to the popularity of his songs and his standing as an iconic star. They range from amateurs and parodists to part-time and full-time professionals. One of the most well-known was comedian Andy Kaufman, who made Elvis Presley’s impersonation a staple of his act in the 1970s.

In 2007, the BBC aired a televised competition called The World’s Greatest Elvis, which included 30 of the world’s best Elvis tribute performers. Shawn Klush of Pittston, Pennsylvania, dubbed the “next best thing to the King,” won the championship.

Memphis has sponsored the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest as part of its annual Elvis Week celebration since 2007. The reward is $20,000 for the winner.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in North Carolina set a Guinness World Record for the greatest assembly of Elvis impersonators on July 12, 2014, with 895 people in attendance.