Priscilla Presley

Priscilla Presley

Infobox actor

imagesize = 200px
caption = Priscilla Presley, September 2003
birthname = Priscilla Ann Wagner
alias = Priscilla Beaulieu | birthdate = birth date and age|1945|5|24
birthplace = Brooklyn, New York, US
spouse = Elvis Presley (1967-1973; div.)
homepage =

Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, (born Priscilla Ann Wagner; May 24, 1945) is an American actress and businesswoman. She is the ex-wife of singer and musician Elvis Presley, and the mother of singer/songwriter Lisa Marie Presley. Priscilla is the founder of Elvis Presley Enterprises, where she served as chairman of the board from 1982 to 1998. As an actress, Priscilla is best known for co-starring with Leslie Nielsen in the three successful "Naked Gun" films, and for her five-year run on the popular television series, "Dallas".

Presley is a devoted member of the controversial Church of Scientology [cite news | last =Tobin | first =Thomas C. | title =Kirstie Alley buys Presley mansion: Public records indicate that Alley, who bought the house May 1, will use it for a second home | work =St. Petersburg Times | date =May 17, 2000 | url = | accessdate =2008-06-23 ] and speaks publicly for the religion's anti-psychiatry front group the CCHR. [cite web| url =| title = Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre| date = April, 2003]


Early life

Priscilla was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of the Norwegian American Anna Lillian (née Iversen) and James (Jimmy) Frederick Wagner. She is of German and Norwegian ancestry. Her biological father, a US Navy pilot, was killed in a plane crash when Priscilla was six months old. In 1948 her mother met a man from Quebec Paul Beaulieu. Beaulieu was a United States Air Force officer. The couple were married within a year. Beaulieu took over the raising of Priscilla and was the only father Priscilla would ever know. Over the next few years, Priscilla grew up quickly, helping to care for the growing family as her father's Air Force career moved them from Connecticut to New Mexico then to Maine. Priscilla later recalled that she felt uncomfortable moving so often because she never knew if she could make friends for life, or even if she would fit in with the new people she met on each move.

In 1956, the Beaulieu's moved to and settled in Austin, Texas. It was here, whilst babysitting, that Priscilla made a shocking discovery about her past. Whilst looking through old family memorabilia she found photographs of her as a baby with her mother, and a man that she didn't recognise. She could find no photographs of her father Paul with her mother, and after turning over one of the photographs she noticed it said on the back "Priscilla, Anna and Jim". She also found a telegram from 1945 that was sent to her mother informing her of her husband's death. Confused by what she had found, Priscilla phoned her mother at work, who raced home to be with Priscilla and explain about her real father. Priscilla later described the event as a "huge shock" in her life, and despite her mother's attempts to comfort her, she was almost inconsolable at the time. Anna had intended to tell Priscilla beforehand, but as each year went by it got "harder to do," and with the birth of other children she felt it was best not to mention it at all.

In August 1959, as Priscilla was about to start High School, she got more "distressing news." Her father was being transferred from Texas to Germany, and Priscilla would later say she found it a hard age to have to leave, because she was leaving behind her life during her teenage years. It was a move that was to have a huge effect on her life in more ways than one.

Life with Elvis

Priscilla was living West Germany at the same time as Elvis during his stint in the United States Army. Priscilla was 14 years old when she met Elvis in Wiesbaden. He was ten years older than she. Elvis would spend as much time as possible with her, and they quickly grew very close. Elvis told her that he would love for her to come to America with him when he returned and Priscilla loved the idea, but persuading her parents was not so easily done. Elvis returned to the US in 1960 following his discharge from the army, and he kept in touch with Priscilla through letters and long distance phone calls. He would send her records of his favourite artists and songs. Priscilla would stay up into the early hours of the morning on the phone talking to Elvis, primarily due to the time difference between Germany and the USA. Elvis and Priscilla would talk on the phone two to three times a week over the next two years.

Elvis cherished her friendship and leaned on her for emotional support. Eventually the letters and intimate phone calls were no longer enough, and in the summer of 1962 Elvis invited Priscilla to Los Angeles. Priscilla persuaded her parents to let her go on the condition that she would be staying with Elvis' neighbours, but as soon as she arrived in the US, Elvis whisked her off to Las Vegas for a tour of casino night life with Elvis and his entourage. Elvis led a far more exciting life than Priscilla was used to back home, and she had to grow up fast to keep up.

Priscilla returned to Germany a short while later, but kept the details of her time with Elvis in Las Vegas a secret from her parents. Elvis immediately made plans for another visit, and Priscilla was given permission to spend Christmas with him at Graceland. When it was time for Priscilla to return home, Elvis begged her to return to Graceland for good the next time she visited, and Priscilla went home to talk with her mother about the plans. Priscilla's mother noticed that Priscilla was finding it hard to concentrate at school and would do hardly anything except talk with Elvis on the phone and think about him while playing her records.

Elvis managed to talk the extremely reluctant Beaulieus into allowing Priscilla to live with his father (Vernon Presley) and stepmother, Dee Presley, at a home Elvis purchased on Hermitage Drive in Memphis located at the back of Graceland. The seventeen-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu "worked" on her mother to get her support but before finally agreeing, her still reluctant and protective father flew with her to Los Angeles where Presley was filming "Fun in Acapulco". She and her father flew to Memphis where they met with Vernon Presley, made arrangements for Priscilla's enrollment in the Immaculate Conception school and her father confirmed her living arrangements at Vernon Presley's house.

Once living in Memphis in 1963, Priscilla Beaulieu says she moved into Graceland bit by bit, at first spending occasional nights with Presley, later moving in and sleeping together every night. In her 1985 autobiography, the bestseller "Elvis and Me", written with author Sandra Harmon, which was later adapted to a television miniseries, Priscilla describes Presley as a very passionate man who was not overtly sexual towards her. Although he would spend hours alone with her in his bedroom, Priscilla wrote that Elvis never made any advances towards her. According to her account (p130), Elvis told her that they had to wait until they were married before having intercourse. He said, "I'm not saying we can't do other things. It's just the actual encounter. I want to save it." Priscilla adds, "Fearful of not pleasing him—of destroying my image as his little girl—I resigned myself to the long wait. Instead of consummating our love in the usual way, he began teaching me other means of pleasing him. We had a strong connection, much of it sexual. The two of us created a lot of exciting and wild times."

In "Elvis and Me", Beaulieu recounted how Elvis would stay up all night and sleep most of the day. If he wanted to go out, he would rent out the venue and invite friends, family and fans, or arrange with store owners to shop after hours when the store was closed. She also talked about the prescription sleeping pills that were present from the very first night she spent with him and how their usage and variety escalated dramatically during the years they were together.

A completely different view of Priscilla's life, painting her in a rather negative light and describing her as a "wild child" and "sexpot", can be found in Suzanne Finstad's book, "Child Bride: The Untold Story of Priscilla Beaulieu Presley" (1997), which is based on accounts of several people who knew Elvis and Priscilla well, among them many friends from Priscilla's childhood and adolescence, Elvis's stepbrother Rick Stanley, Priscilla's boyfriend Mike Edwards, Elvis's ex-girlfriends and the wives of the Memphis Mafia men. The author writes that Priscilla promised sexual favors in exchange for meeting Elvis to Currie Grant, a married, 27-year-old man who knew the singer, that she and Elvis slept together on their second date and that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night. The book also claims that her marriage was part of a plot to achieve fame hatched by Priscilla and her mother and that she never loved Elvis. Finstad takes many quotes that Priscilla has made and calls them a web of lies that she has spun. Priscilla launched a lawsuit against Currie Grant for his claims in the book and won.Fact|date=April 2008

Marriage and divorce

Priscilla and Elvis were married on May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Aladdin Hotel. Their only child, daughter Lisa Marie, was born exactly nine months later on February 1, 1968. For the first few years they were very happy together, but with Elvis working away so much and continuing to have romantic affairs with other women, Priscilla found it very hard to keep their marriage together.

During the late sixties, Elvis' career took off again, and he was constantly touring and playing in Las Vegas. Due to Elvis being away so often and his ever-growing drug dependence, their marriage soured.

Elvis was a keen karate student, and persuaded Priscilla to take it up. Priscilla thought it was a good idea as it would pass the lonesome time if she had a hobby to concentrate on, and so she arranged to be taught by Mike Stone. She would attend lessons a few times a week and enjoyed it immensely. Following a few heated rows with Elvis about his adultery, Priscilla found it easy to talk to Mike about her feelings. Eventually, the two became very close and started an affair of their own. Priscilla felt terrible about what she was doing, and took the decision to leave Elvis for Mike. She later described Mike as "a way out" of her life with Elvis.

Elvis and Priscilla separated on February 23, 1972 and divorced on October 9, 1973, agreeing to share custody of their daughter. They remained good friends until the day of Elvis' death on August 16, 1977.

Post-Elvis Relationships

After her separation from Elvis, Priscilla moved to the Marina Del Ray area in Los Angeles with her karate instructor, Mike Stone (they had begun their affair when she started taking lessons from him in 1971). The relationship ended in 1975.

After her breakup with Stone, Priscilla had a relationship with lawyer Robert Kardashian.

Priscilla began dating bisexual model and actor Michael Edwards in 1978. He moved into Priscilla's Bel Air home in 1979. During this time, Priscilla landed a job hosting the television series "Those Amazing Animals". Due to the hectic production schedule, she was often away, leaving Edwards to look after her daughter, Lisa Marie. All Lisa Marie will say about Edwards today is "That man...was sick". After he and Priscilla broke up in 1984, he published a book entitled "Priscilla, Elvis, and Me", which included details of his lust for Lisa Marie.

For 22 years, Priscilla lived with Italian screenwriter-director Marco Garibaldi. Their son, Navarone, was born on March 1, 1987. In August 2005, Navarone was arrested for possession of magic mushrooms. Priscilla and Marco broke up in April 2006.

Acting Career

Priscilla's first film role was in the 1983 television film, "Love is Forever", opposite Michael Landon.

In 1983, Priscilla landed the role of Jenna Wade on the television series "Dallas". She left the show five years later, in 1988, because she didn't like the plot being written for her character.

In 1988, Priscilla starred opposite Leslie Nielsen in the action comedy '. The success of the film spawned two hit sequels: ', in 1991, and "", in 1994.

Priscila's only other feature film has been the poorly received "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane", in 1990. Her most recent acting work has been guest starring in the shows "Melrose Place", in 1996, "Touched by an Angel", in 1997, and in "Spin City", in 1999.

Business in Graceland

After the death of Elvis' father Vernon in 1979, Presley served as co-executor of his estate. Marty Lacker, a close friend of Elvis says he was approached by Priscilla after the singer's death "to help talk Vernon into naming her [in his will] ." [Clayton, Rose; Dick Heard (2003). "Elvis: By Those Who Knew Him Best". Virgin Publishing Limited. , p. 400]

Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Lisa Marie's inheritance to $5 million. Priscilla examined other famous house-museums, and hired a CEO to turn Graceland into a moneymaker. She became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises. It cost $536,000 to open Graceland, a massive gamble at the time and one which was certainly not guaranteed to pay off, but that money was earned back in the first 38 days that it was open to the public thanks to each days tour selling out one after another. After Graceland opened to the public in 1982, the enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.

In addition, in 2000, Presley was elected to the board of directors of MGM, with the prime vote coming from Kirk Kerkorian, who dated Priscilla in the 1970s.

"Dancing with the Stars"

Presley was a contestant on Season 6 of "Dancing with the Stars". She was partnered with Louis van Amstel.

She referred, on air, to "Dancing with the Stars" as "the hardest thing she's ever had to do." She scored 24 out of 30 on the foxtrot on March 18, 2008, the second-highest score of the evening. The following week she scored 21 for her first Latin dance, Mambo. The third week she danced the Tango and was highly praised by the judges coming second on the leaderboard with a score of 26. The fourth week she danced the Waltz and scored only 22. The judges lowered her score due to a lift in the routine. In the results show the following night, Priscilla found herself in the bottom two, but just managed to stay in the competition. The fifth week, Priscilla danced the Rumba and scored 21, leaving her at the bottom of the leadboard. Priscilla found herself in the bottom two once again and this time she was voted off with the least amount of votes. The fifth week, she was eliminated.

At the age of 62, she was the oldest female contestant to compete in the show.



* Priscilla Presley, "Elvis and Me" (1985), ISBN 0-399-12984-7
* Priscilla Presley, "Elvis by the Presleys" with Lisa Marie Presley (2005), ISBN 0-307-23741-9
* Suzanne Finstad, "" (1997)


External links

* [ Official Site Priscilla Presley]
*imdb name|0001636|Priscilla Presley
* [ Priscilla Beaulieu Presley Fansite]
* [ Elvis Presley Directory]

NAME= Presley, Priscilla
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Wagner, Priscilla Ann
SHORT DESCRIPTION=model, author and actress
DATE OF BIRTH= 1945-5-24
PLACE OF BIRTH= Jersey City, New Jersey, US

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