Priscilla Presley saved Graceland and turned it into the second most visited house in the U.S. (right after the White Home). She knew what the spot meant to Elvis and, she tells Travelgirl Publisher Renee Werbin, “I rose to the occasion and that was my mission.” Because then, our esteemed covergirl has risen to the occasion repeatedly as an actress, entrepreneur, animal rights activist and philanthropist. Study on, as she shares some insight into her remarkable life and her most current endeavor: the initial-ever Sophisticated Southern Style Weekend at Graceland, taking place in September.
Travelgirl: It is a pleasure to catch up with you. We’ve been fans because you married Elvis. You met Elvis when you had been young. You married and moved into an exhilarating and captivating life, which you handled with grace and humanity.
Priscilla Presley: That is so good to hear. When you appear back at your life it is good to see what you have achieved. I appear back and wonder how I managed to obtain my way. Of course there was no prototype for me. Day by day life was an education and in some cases I felt quite considerably alone.
TG: In 1979, you became co-executor of the Presley estate. You took more than from Elvis’ dad, Vernon Presley, and turned the estate into an extraordinarily productive organization. What are some of the obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
PP: That is a quite very good query and pondering about it I comprehend that negativity was the most significant obstacle I faced. I realized the estate was operating out of cash and I wanted to preserve anything operating as it was. I was capable to achieve this. I kept all the maids, all of the men and women we currently had on employees, even the gate guards and the cooks. I under no circumstances let any person go. I was informed suitable off that we had been operating out of funds to help Graceland and I was told that it ought to be sold. That was the final issue in my thoughts I wasn’t going to sell Graceland. Elvis actually loved that house. I was determined to preserve Graceland and to make certain that Elvis would under no circumstances be forgotten. We had the IRS right after us we owed estate taxes and there had been a lot of unpaid bills. I went on the road by myself, attempting to obtain an individual to aid me with this job. It was fairly a journey and no 1 seemed to realize the significance of saving this wonderful house that was owned by 1 of the world’s most iconic entertainers. I went to bankers, to museum officials, to concert promoters — but it was indicated to me that these men and women would not aid me save Graceland.
I saved all that Elvis had, all of his suits and clothes. Thank God for Vernon Presley he didn’t throw away something and I’m speaking about something like old lawn furnishings. He was usually afraid that an individual would take it, steal it or sell it so he kept anything, even receipts.
TG: How did you handle back then as a lady by oneself with such a Herculean job?
PP: I rose to the occasion and that was my mission. I was not going to accept ‘no,’ and I wasn’t going to accept that Elvis would be wouldn’t be remembered in six months, that was unfathomable. At some point I located an individual in Kansas City who is nonetheless with us these days, the exceptional Jack Soden, our CEO because 1982. He gave us the cash and we worked collectively from the quite starting. We had only a small more than $100,000 left in our bankroll and we got it all back in a month from men and women going to Graceland. It was quite rewarding displaying all these naysayers that we could do it, and right here we are these days.
TG: It is an iconic quit Graceland ought to be 1 everyone’s bucket list. Elvis Presley was a phenomenon and the globe will likely under no circumstances see any person like him once more. Elvis meant so considerably to so several men and women.
PP: Folks all more than the globe know about Elvis and appreciate him. They listen to his music nonetheless, and I know that for a reality simply because I’ve been on tour with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and other quite popular orchestras about the nation and we are playing his music with videos of Elvis singing up on screen. I’m going to the UK in November and elsewhere. We’ve sold more than 12,000 seats in the arena as a result far. Folks nonetheless want to hear Elvis sing and they want to see him carry out thousands and thousands of men and women nonetheless want to see Elvis Presley.
TG: You have kept Elvis’ legacy alive. He would be amazed at what you have achieved in his memory. I admire your tenacity.
PP: Thank you. Effectively, as I assume about it, for me this is fulfilling Elvis’ dreams. A single of his dreams was to carry out with a complete orchestra, which we’ve now accomplished with the Royal Philharmonic. A further was to go to other nations with the orchestra. I’ve been capable to achieve each of these dreams and I have a couple of additional to go. All of this comes from being aware of Elvis so nicely and being aware of what his dreams had been.
TG: You are an entrepreneur, an actress, an activist for wonderful causes and a philanthropist. Let’s get started with acting. We loved you on Dallas. What can you share about your acting profession?
PP: I under no circumstances began out to turn into an actress it was under no circumstances in my DNA shall we say. Colonel Parker introduced me to Norman Brokaw who became chairman and CEO of William Morris Agency and Norman took me beneath his wing. The Colonel told me right after Elvis passed that men and women would be approaching me and wanting me to do a lot of factors, and he fundamentally place me in Norman’s hands and Norman guided me. That was how my acting profession began.
One of the initial factors I did was These Awesome Animals, which I did with Burgess Meredith and Jim Stafford in 1980 and ’81. I loved it it was a great show and quite educational and as you know, I appreciate animals. It was quite productive and that was the get started for me. From there I did a film with Michael Landon we filmed Adore is Forever in Thailand and that was my initial expertise as an actor. It wasn’t the greatest expertise. We worked beneath hard situations and it was uncharted territory for me, the meals becoming the most significant challenge. Michael was quite sweet, quite good it was a understanding expertise. From there I became the spokesperson for Wella Balsam Shampoo and then went to Dallas and starred as Jenna Wade.
TG: I loved Dallas and watched it each and every week.
PP: I loved that show also. It was absolutely nothing I had ever anticipated. With all of the tabloids stating that no 1 got along I didn’t know what to count on I wondered what I was receiving into. I began watching the show and located it to be actually fascinating. There weren’t several tv stations at the time we had been filming. Folks would tune in and Dallas was fascinating to viewers it was larger than life. It was the initial insight into the lives of the wealthy and popular with conflicts, greed, jealousy and betrayals. It was nicely written and on Friday evening at 9 p.m. the nation tuned in to see what occurred with J.R., Cliff Barnes, and the other stars. Now you can TIVO but back then men and women didn’t go out on a Friday evening they stayed house and watched Dallas. Patrick Duffy was marvelous as was Larry Hagman and the rest of the cast. We had been usually invited to Larry Hagman’s house.
TG: You became Priscilla Presley – on your personal. You became your personal particular person and not just Elvis’ wife.
PP: I did have to separate myself and even these days I nonetheless do factors that show who I am as a particular person. I have my personal projects as nicely. I know that I am quite considerably attached to the Elvis name, but it is significant to do other factors that are significant to me.
TG: We applaud your dedication to the Dream Foundation. Inform us how we can donate to this most worthwhile foundation that aids adults suffering with terminal illnesses fulfill their dreams.
PP: I met Tom Rollerson who was the founder of the Dream Foundation back in 1994. I went to 1 of his events in the Bahamas and I was blown away. Tom was raising cash to aid terminally ill adults fulfill their final dreams. I had heard about the Make a Want Foundation the Dream Foundation begins for men and women at age 18 we choose it up right after Make a Want ends. I became element of it I became an Ambassador and helped fulfill wishes and make dreams a reality. It is been so rewarding and I’m understanding so considerably. I usually go to hospices to function with men and women and I preserve up with them. Their dreams can be so slight they could require a wheelchair or a personal computer or a trip to Disneyland. It is so worthwhile. A lot more information can be located at Dreamfoundation.org. Please donate to this worthy bring about.
TG: You are devoted to several other worthwhile causes like animal rights. How did you initial turn into involved? I know you are also extremely interested in the Previous Act.
PP: I was rescuing animals when I was only 5 years old. I applied to hide them in my closet simply because my dad didn’t want animals in the residence. I brought them in anyway. I had dinner on the table and would take meals from the table, excuse myself, and go feed them. My dad lastly located out a month later simply because I had to clean up right after them. That was the get started. We kept some of the animals but we moved a lot so I would have to obtain houses for my beloved animals. I had six dogs at 1 time 3 English bulldogs, a French bulldog and two Boston Terriers. They had been wonderful and I was their pack leader. I inherited Lisa Marie’s 3 bulldogs and I was so pleased to take them.
I am in favor of The Previous Act that was introduced in the Home in January. The Previous Act is attempting to finish the painful practice of soring – placing chemical substances on the front legs of a quarter horse. Tennessee Walking Horses currently have a organic gait and soring tends to make their gait additional pronounced. This is potentially hurting the horses and this is a quite, quite cruel act. For the initial time we have 290 sponsors it is overwhelming to have so considerably help. I’ve been to Washington to lobby Senators and Congressmen to co-sponsor in help of the Previous Act. Elvis shocked me with a 3-year-old black Quarter Horse named Domino for Christmas when and I would ride each and every day. I want to defend these horses from harm.
TG: You are hosting an “Elegant Southern Style Weekend” at Graceland September 27-29, which will celebrate the American South. What do you have planned?
PP: This is definitely fascinating for me. It is going to be our initial-ever “Elegant Southern Style Weekend.” We’ve been speaking about it for a even though. It is going to be a one of a kind celebration of the American South. I’m going to be joined by premier chefs, occasion planners and way of life authorities. It will be a genuine southern culture kind of expertise. We’ll have guest speakers and panel discussions and we will be answering concerns such as, “Why is the South so embraced?” and, “Why do men and women come to the South?” We know all about that simply because we have so several guests at Graceland who come back once more and once more for our Southern hospitality.
TG: Please inform us what Graceland implies to you.
PP: Graceland implies house to me each and every time I come back it is as if I under no circumstances left. All the memories are sitting there waiting to be told more than and more than once more. I can hear Elvis’ laughter as he walked down the staircase I can hear him singing in the piano space. It implies preserving Graceland to how Elvis loved it and wanted it to be. Elvis was so gracious and so type. When I meet some of the actresses he worked with they speak about how good and gracious Elvis was. Graceland is like house as if I under no circumstances left.
TG: You travel usually do you have a preferred travel location? What’s on Priscilla Presley’s bucket list?
PP: Oh dear I’ve traveled all more than. I travel with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and Elvis is up there on screen. We’ve taken the orchestra all more than the globe like Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Brazil, Australia, Europe, all more than. I appreciate to travel and Israel is on my bucket list. Everybody who has gone says they come back a distinct particular person.
TG: Is there any item you under no circumstances leave house with no?
PP: Images, I usually pack my photographs. Oh my gosh, I nonetheless appear at photographs and I miss getting photographs in a image frame. I’m usually displaying photographs on my iPhone these days.
TG: What’s subsequent for the illustrious Priscilla Presley?
PP: The occasion at Graceland is my concentrate now. We are operating with best men and women and the occasion is going to be phenomenal. Please join us it is a one of a kind time to be capable to get private with quite devoted, capable and skilled men and women and I’m searching forward to producing this a yearly occasion.