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Elvis Presley’s maid, Nancy Rooks, worked at Graceland for years. While many people close to Elvis saw him as a complicated figure, Rooks remembered Elvis’ good qualities. She believed that he was a good boss and a better person. Rooks spoke about what it was like to work for Elvis until the end of his life.

Elvis Presley’s maid said he was more than just a boss to her

In 1967, Rooks began to work at Graceland. She remained there as a cook and maid even after his death in 1977. In the 10 years she worked for Elvis himself, she said that she greatly enjoyed her job and her employer.

“The majority of my memories, however, were very good ones,” she wrote in her book Inside Graceland: Elvis’ Maid Remembers. “I remember Elvis and his family in a warm and caring way. I was treated like family over the years, not as an employee. Elvis was never anything but the perfect gentleman with me. He always made me feel safe and comfortable around him.”

Elvis Presley wears a white shirt and white pants. He walks in front of Graceland.
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Rooks was working on the day Elvis died, and was one of the first people to be made aware that he had collapsed. She agonized as she waited for news of his condition. It felt like one of her own family members was at risk.

“Elvis was my boss, but he was much more than that. He was also like a brother to me, as well as a good friend, and the thought of losing him was almost more than I could bear.”

Elvis’ maid shared how he helped her family over the years

Elvis’ kindness extended to Rooks’ family, too. 

“On one occasion my daughter called me and told me that she had fallen and sprained her foot pretty badly,” Rooks wrote. “Knowing there was a foot doctor’s office located on the street right outside the Graceland property, (one that Elvis used), I called them to try and get an appointment to have her foot looked at. They told me that the doctor was too busy to see her.”

When Elvis heard about this, he immediately stepped in to help Rooks and her daughter.

“Elvis found out about it and called the doctor back,” Rooks explained. “After a short conversation with the doctor, Elvis smiled at me and told me that the doctor was ‘Waiting to see your daughter right now.’ Not only did she get the best treatment, but Elvis paid for it himself.”

Nancy Rooks said she admired the fact that Elvis did as well as he did

Though Rooks held on to her fond memories of Elvis, she also recognized that he had moments of struggle and darkness.

“There are always going to be a few small flaws in someone’s personality,” she wrote, “and sometimes a little darkness can slip into their life.” 

A black and white picture of Elvis Presley wearing a floral shirt and laughing.
Elvis Presley | Keystone/Getty Images

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Still, she admired that Elvis did as well as he did.

“Given the tremendous stresses that Elvis endured, however, and the dependence he was forced to rely on with prescription medicines to keep him going, to get him up in the morning, to get him to sleep at night, to get him ‘up’ for all the grueling performances, I have often marveled that he did as well as he did. A lesser man would have never survived as long as he did, and would have never continued to give his all to his adoring fans in the same fashion that Elvis did. Those are the memories that I have.”