For Elvis Presley‘s legacy to remain intact, one critical thing had to be addressed upon his death on Aug. 16, 1977. His only wife, Priscilla Presley, was deemed an executor of his estate by the entertainer’s father, Vernon. Subsequently, she made it her mission to ensure Presley’s legacy would continue and promised to always fulfill the singer’s dreams.
Priscilla turned the Presley legacy around after Elvis’s death
Elvis named Vernon executor of his estate and daughter, Lisa Marie, his sole heir in his will. Two years later, Vernon’s will passed the responsibility to Priscilla, who stepped into the picture and assumed a key role as one of the executors of the Elvis Presley Estate.
Priscilla formed Elvis Presley Enterprises with the help of financial professionals. The company continues to oversee the rights to Presley’s image and royalties.
The Los Angeles Times says Presley’s fortune totaled $4.9 million in 1977. By 1979, Presley’s estate was making only $1 million annually.
The Presley estate is worth at least $1B today, reported Billboard. More than two-thirds of the revenue generated by the estate comes from Graceland visitors. Other revenue sources include souvenirs, record royalties, music publishing, and videos reported the news source.
Priscilla Presley maintains Elvis Presley’s legacy
Priscilla Presley is joining us live and talking all about Elvis’ legacy, 45 years after his death. pic.twitter.com/qssLusNumj— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 16, 2022
In an interview with Today, Priscilla revealed her goals in her late husband’s name.
“I want to carry out [his legacy] and give him the things that he always wanted to do in his life,” Priscilla said.
Comparatively, Priscilla shared that one of Elvis’ biggest dreams was to perform alongside an orchestra.
Thus, she helped bring this to fruition, along with Presley’s estate, in the 2015 compilation album If I Can Dream with Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
“Anything he wanted to do or wished to do as far as in life, I want to try to get that to happen,” she said. “But, it’s a big responsibility.”
Priscilla made peace with Presley’s past
Priscilla says she has made peace with Presley’s past, including his complex relationship with his manager Col. Tom Parker.
She told Today, “There were two colonels, there was the colonel who was the manager and the colonel who was very, very sweet and very, very nice.”
However, Priscilla said Parker’s promise to make Presley “a million dollars” sometimes got the best of him.
“He wanted to do movies, serious movies, and Col. Parker probably should have stayed a publicist,” she said. Nonetheless, Parker “didn’t take Elvis where he wanted to be, which was hard because I lived it.”
Thereupon, “I lived the arguments they had and Elvis trying to explain he didn’t want to do the movies with all the girls and the beaches and everything, that he wanted to do serious things,” she continued.
The annual Elvis Week at Graceland concluded on Aug. 16 with a candlelight vigil that drew 30,000 attendees, said Priscilla.