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Priscilla Presley: Iconic Actress, Businesswoman, and Former Wife of Elvis

Full Name Priscilla Ann Wagner Beaulieu Presley
Born May 24, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York
Spouse Elvis Presley (m. 1967−1973)
Children Lisa Marie Presley
Occupation Actress, Businesswoman
Years active 1970s–present
Net worth $50 million
Social media Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Priscilla Presley
For over 50 remarkable years, Priscilla Presley has captivated the world as an actress, businesswoman, and pop culture icon. She skyrocketed to fame as Elvis Presley’s young girlfriend and wife in the 1960s. Though their marriage ended after six years, her connection to Elvis made her an instantly recognizable celebrity. Beyond her ties to the King of Rock and Roll, Priscilla forged her own path in Hollywood and as an astute entrepreneur. She also channeled her celebrity into philanthropy and activism. Priscilla remains a beloved American icon and fashion inspiration into her late 70s.

Early Life and Meeting Elvis

Born Priscilla Ann Wagner (she took the last name Beaulieu from her adoptive father), Priscilla had an unconventional upbringing. As an Air Force family, the Beaulieus moved frequently before settling in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1959. It was there, at the tender age of 14, that Priscilla met 24-year-old Elvis Presley. According to Priscilla, it was love at first sight when she accompanied a friend to a party at Elvis’ home. The couple maintained a long-distance relationship after Elvis returned home to Memphis.

In 1963, the Presleys convinced her parents to allow 15-year-old Priscilla to live with Elvis at Graceland, his palatial Tennessee estate. She moved into Graceland and finished high school at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Memphis. Priscilla later dropped out of Catholic school to live with Elvis full-time, traveling and taking care of his personal needs.

Becoming Mrs. Elvis Presley

On May 1, 1967, Elvis and Priscilla were married in a private ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Priscilla was 21 years old at the time, while Elvis was 32. Priscilla’s wedding dress was an ivory silk chiffon gown with beaded yoke, designed by her mother.

In his book Elvis and Me, Priscilla later recounted details of their unusual marriage. Elvis wanted Priscilla to remain obedient, stay home, and avoid having a career. However, Elvis’ drug dependency strained their relationship. Nine months after their wedding, Priscilla gave birth to their only child Lisa Marie on February 1, 1968.

By 1972, Priscilla could no longer tolerate Elvis’ controlling behavior and infidelity. She says, “He wanted to possess me totally. It was difficult for me to break free of that.” After separating in early 1972, Elvis and Priscilla’s divorce was finalized in October 1973 after six years of marriage.

Life and Career After Elvis

Initially uncertain of her future after the divorce, Priscilla embarked on creating her own identity beyond her ties to Elvis. She took classes in karate, acting, and modeling. Priscilla leveraged her celebrity status to launch a boutique in Los Angeles. She made her television debut in 1975 on The ABC Late Movie and appeared regularly opposite Erik Estrada on the hit series CHiPs.

Priscilla’s acting career flourished throughout the 1980s. She landed roles in box office hits like The Naked Gun trilogy and on popular TV shows including Dallas, Touched by an Angel, and Spin City. She also published her bestselling autobiography Elvis and Me in 1985. As a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2008, Priscilla showcased her energetic spirit at age 60.

As a savvy businesswoman, Priscilla transformed Elvis Presley Enterprises into a multimillion-dollar licensing empire. She helped open Graceland to public tours, creating a significant new tourist attraction that preserves Elvis’ legacy. Priscilla also launched her own successful line of fragrances in 1988.

Philanthropy and Activism

Generous with her time and resources, Priscilla Presley has supported many charitable causes over the years. Along with friend and actress Olivia Newton-John, she co-founded the Presley Place in Los Angeles – a supportive housing organization for homeless families. Priscilla also serves as ambassador for the Dream Foundation and the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.

A devoted advocate for autism awareness, Priscilla partnered with her former daughter-in-law Lisa Marie Presley in 2014 and pledged $5 million to build specialized treatment centers. Priscilla actively raises funds for autism nonprofits, saying “There is hope for parents who deal with this in their lives.”

Why Fans Adore Priscilla

For longtime Priscilla fans like me, there are endless reasons to admire her grace, fortitude, and varied accomplishments over the past 50 years. A few that top my list:

  • Her timeless beauty – Priscilla remains elegant and stylish into her 70s.
  • Her resilience – Despite personal tragedies, she created her own fulfilling career and identity.
  • Her business savvy – Priscilla crafted her own lucrative brands and licensing ventures.
  • Her generosity – She dedicates time and resources to many philanthropic causes.
  • Her authenticity – Priscilla honors Elvis’ memory while also embracing her own passions.

There’s no doubt Priscilla Presley has secured her place in Hollywood history. She has persevered through incredible challenges with tenacity and heart. For longtime admirers, Priscilla remains an inspiring role model – a woman capable of continually reinventing herself while also staying true to her roots.