Priscilla Presley

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Priscilla Presley (born Priscilla Ann Wagner; May 24, 1945) is an American actress and businesswoman. She is the ex-wife of entertainer 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, helping to turn Graceland into a multi-million dollar tourist attraction. As an actress, Priscilla is best known for co-starring with Leslie Nielsen in the three successful Naked Gun films between 1988 and 1994, and for her five-year run playing the character Jenna Wade on the television series Dallas, a role that she will reprise in 2011.

Ancestry and early life

Priscilla's grandfather, Albert Henry Iversen, emigrated from Egersund in Norway to the United States in the beginning of the 1900s. He married Lorraine Davis, who was of Scots-Irish and English descent. They had three children: Albert Jr. (March 1922), James Richard (March 1924) and Anna Lillian Iversen (March 1926). Later she was called, or her name was changed to, Ann. She was called Rooney (short for Annie Rooney) as a child. At the age of 19 she became mother of Priscilla. They both still have cousins in Norway. In a letter to the City Hall of Egersund, Ann asked for information about their relatives, and wrote that Priscilla was interested in knowing about them; Priscilla's parents then visited family members in Norway in 1992.

Priscilla has a square named after her in Egersund  – Priscilla Presleys plass . When she was told about this tribute being planned, by a visiting Norwegian relative (summer 2007), and asked what she thought, she answered: "Oh, it's marvellous!". The area is in the street outside the house where her grandfather was born in 1899, and lived. Priscilla and her family were invited by the Lord Mayor of Egersund to the opening ceremony of Priscilla Presleys plass, which took place August 23, 2008, but were unable to go due to Lisa Marie being pregnant.

Priscilla's biological father was US Navy pilot James Wagner. His parents were Kathryn and Harold Wagner. On 10 August 1944, at the age of 23, he married Priscilla's mother; they had been dating for more than three years. He was killed in a plane crash while returning home on leave when Priscilla was six months old. When Priscilla discovered this "..family secret..." whilst rummaging through an old wooden box of family keepsakes, she was encouraged by her mother to keep it from the other children as she feared it would "...endanger our family closeness...".

In 1948 her mother met a United States Air Force officer named Paul Beaulieu, from Quebec. 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 to Maine. In her own words, she described herself during this period as "...a shy, pretty little girl unhappily accustomed to moving from base to base every two or three years." 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 Beaulieus moved to and settled in Austin, Texas, but soon her father was transferred to Wiesbaden, Germany. Priscilla was "..crushed.." by this news, and after finishing Junior High her fears of leaving her friends behind and making new ones were once again at the forefront of her mind.

Life in Germany

Initially the Beaulieus stayed at the Helene Hotel when they arrived in Germany, but after three months the cost of living there became too expensive and they looked for a place to rent. The family settled in a large apartment in a "vintage building constructed long before World War I". Soon after moving in the Beaulieus realized that it was a brothel, but due to scarce housing they were forced to remain there.

Feeling like an outsider once again due to her lack of understanding of the German language, Priscilla frequented the Eagles Club; a place where American families would gather to eat dinner and be entertained. It was "within walking distance" of their apartment, and proved to be an important discovery for Priscilla. She would go there "every day after school" and listen to the jukebox whilst writing letters back home to her friends in Austin.

It was here, at the Eagles Club, that Priscilla met Currie Grant, a young American Air Force recruit whose Commanding Officer knew Priscilla's father. Grant offered to introduce Priscilla to Elvis Presley, stating that he was "good friends" with the singer, and that he and his wife would visit quite often. Being cautious and skeptical of such a claim, Priscilla said she would have to ask her parents, and over the next two weeks Grant met with them and assured them that she would be well chaperoned.

Life with Elvis

Elvis and Priscilla met on September 13, 1959, during a party at Elvis' home in Bad Nauheim, Germany during his stay in the army. Despite her only being 14 years old at the time, she made a huge impression on Elvis with her much older appearance. Elvis allegedly regressed to acting like an "awkward, embarrassed" boy next door figure in front of her. However, by the end of the evening he had managed to compose himself.
Despite Priscilla's parents being angered by her late return home during that first meeting and insisting that she would never meet Elvis again, his eagerness for another meeting, and his promise never to bring her home late again led them to relent. They were allowed to meet again, and were frequently together until Elvis left Germany in March 1960.

After Elvis' return to America, the couple stayed in contact over the phone, though they would not see each other again until the summer of 1962, when Priscilla's parents agreed to let her visit for two weeks. It was during this visit, whilst on a trip to Las Vegas, that Priscilla first took amphetamines and sleeping pills to keep up with Elvis' lifestyle. After another visit at Christmas, Priscilla's parents finally let her move to America for good in March 1963. Part of the agreement was that she would attend an all-girls' Catholic school, the Immaculate Conception High School, and live with Elvis' father and his stepmother in a separate house on the Graceland estate until she graduated from high school. However, after a few weeks she was moved into Graceland to be with Elvis, although her parents did eventually agree to her living there if Elvis promised to marry her.

Shortly before Christmas 1966, Elvis proposed to Priscilla. According to author Albert Goldman this was the result of a phone call from Priscilla's father to remind Elvis in "no uncertain terms" that over four years had passed since his promise to marry, although this "rumour" has been strenuously denied by both Priscilla and her father since. Elvis was reluctant to marry for a number of reasons, primarily the fear that his career could be harmed by marriage. Goldman also claims that Elvis would often state that he "wasn't made to be married".

After originally setting a date "over the holidays" Elvis pushed the wedding back a few months and they married on May 1, 1967 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Their only child, Lisa Marie, was born exactly nine months later on February 1, 1968.

For the first few years, they were very happily married. However, when Elvis' career took off again, he was constantly touring and playing in Las Vegas. Due to Elvis being away so often and his ever-growing drug dependence, the marriage soured.

Priscilla wrote in her 1985 biography, Elvis and Me, that around the time Elvis was filming Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) she began taking private dance lessons. She found herself deeply attracted to the instructor, known simply as Mark in the book, and she confesses to having a short affair. She implies regret, however, saying "I came out of it realizing I needed much more out of my relationship with Elvis."

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 she was also keen to share in Elvis' interests. Following suggestions from Elvis, Priscilla began taking lessons from Mike Stone, a karate instructor she had met in 1972 backstage at one of Elvis' concerts. She soon began an affair with him, and her "restlessness" about it made Elvis suspicious. It was at this time, Priscilla claims in her book, that Elvis forced himself upon her in his hotel room and said: "This is how a real man makes love to a woman". It was following this experience, according to her autobiography, that she decided to leave Elvis. Once the news of her affair with Stone was confirmed to Elvis, he raged obsessively: "There's too much pain in me... Stone [must] die."

Elvis and Priscilla separated on February 23, 1972, almost twelve and a half years after they first met, and filed for legal separation on July 26. To avoid Priscilla having to make her home address available on the public records and therefore risking the security of both her and Lisa Marie, Elvis filed for divorce on August 18 and it was finalized on October 9, 1973, after almost six and a half years of marriage. The couple agreed to share custody of their daughter, and Priscilla was awarded an outright cash payment of $725,000 as well as spousal support, child support, 5% of Elvis' new publishing companies, and half the income from the sale of their Beverly Hills home.

Elvis would later remark to Linda Thompson that he thought he could "mold" Priscilla into the woman he wanted her to be, but that he had realized too late that you "can't teach a person to be affectionate."

In 1984 she met Italian screenwriter Marco Garibaldi and they had a son, Navarone, who was born in 1987.

Religion

Priscilla is a devoted member of the controversial Church of Scientology, and speaks publicly for the religion's anti-psychiatry front group, the CCHR.

Career

Business in Graceland

After Elvis' death in 1977, Vernon Presley served as executor of his estate. Before his death in 1979 he chose Priscilla to serve as the estate executor for Elvis' only child, Lisa Marie who was only 11. Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Lisa Marie's inheritance to only $1 million. Taxes were due on the property, those and other expenses due came to over $500,000. Faced with having to sell Graceland, Priscilla examined other famous houses/museums, and hired a CEO, Jack Soden to turn Graceland into a moneymaker. Graceland was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Priscilla's gamble paid off; only four weeks after opening Graceland's doors the estate made back all the money it had invested. Priscilla became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises, or EPE, stating at that time she would do so until Lisa Marie reached 21 years of age. The enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.

Films

Apart from appearing as herself in numerous TV programs, Priscilla has appeared in a few roles in feature films. Most notably, she played Lt. Frank Drebin's friend and wife in the Naked Gun series.

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