Elvis Presley's princess is one for the money: For her 25th birthday the King's daughter gets a dollars 200m present. Phil Reeves reports

WHEN LISA Presley gazes into her bedroom mirror tomorrow morning at those hauntingly similar features, the heavy-lidded eyes and cherubic pout, she will surely spend an extra few moments reflecting on her father's memory.

It will be her birthday, an occasion the King of rock 'n' roll would certainly have marked with an outrageous gesture - perhaps a jet, or a mansion, or a yacht. Instead, she will get a still larger gift. She formally inherits the colossal fortune generated by his estate. More than 15 years after his premature death, Elvis's only legitimate offspring - the spoilt little girl whom he jetted hundreds of miles just to play in the snow with - finds herself having an estimated paper worth of at least dollars 200m (pounds 135m).

Tomorrow, Lisa Presley (she has told friends to stop using her full name, Lisa Marie) will be 25, the age at which the courts decreed that she becomes the sole heir to her father's riches. But she has agreed to wait another five years before taking over control of the management of Graceland, Elvis's cash-generating Memphis mansion which is a Mecca for millions of fans.

Although her father is show business's greatest posthumous celebrity, it is her actress mother, Priscilla, whom she has to thank. Not long after Elvis died, his estate was valued at only dollars 5m, despite a hugely successful recording career in which he sold more than dollars 500m worth of records, and made many millions from concerts, 33 films, and countless appearances. In his 42 years, he earned more than dollars 1bn.

The drug-addicted superstar, who had a habit of handing out limousines to his cronies as if they were sweets, squandered a fortune. Another gold mine was lost when his business manager, Colonel Tom Parker, sold the master tapes of hundreds of Elvis songs to RCA for a mere dollars 5.4m.

The situation worsened again, four years after his death, when the US government hit the estate with a dollars 10m inheritance tax bill in 1981. Desperate to salvage matters, Priscilla Presley agreed - very reluctantly - to open Graceland to the public. Ever since, the place has been besieged by Elvis devotees, who go there to pay homage at his grave and buy armloads of memorabilia. As a result, the estate brings in more than dollars 20m a year, a record sum for a dead entertainer.

Elvis would surely have approved of his daughter's good fortune, as he was a loving parent, whose devotion increased after he separated from her mother when she was four. The stories of his generosity are legion. He had a private jet, named after Lisa, in which he flew her to his appearances in Las Vegas. When she casually complained that she had never seen snow, he dropped everything, clambered into the jet and flew her to Utah, merely to allow her to see a few flakes falling for 20 minutes.

When she was eight years old, her mother forced her to return one of Elvis's more elaborate gifts - a mink coat and a diamond ring. It wasn't long before she began to show the ill effects of her father'sextravagant affections. There are accounts of her driving around in an electric golf cart, screaming at Graceland staff: 'I'll tell my Daddy to fire you]'

It is uncertain how the restrained adult Lisa Presley will handle her inheritance, which was not easily won. There were years of court battles, which included rebuffing a claimant purporting to be Elvis's illegitimate child. Ms Presley seems to have calmed down after a turbulent adolescence, marked by clashes arising from her mother's anxiety to protect her from a highly predatory outside world. There were bodyguards, expensive private schools, big homes behind electronically operated gates, skirmishes with drugs. Fictitious stories circulated in Hollywood alleging relationships with Eddie Murphy and Jerry Lee Lewis.

These days she lives in a large five-bedroomed home in Tarzana, a discreet and not especially chic suburb of Los Angeles, with her husband, Danny Keough, 28, a bass guitarist. The couple, who have two young children, are involved with the Church of Scientology, prompting speculation that at least some of Elvis's millions will end up in its coffers.

Occasionally, Lisa Presley puts in an appearance alongside the Hollywood stars. She checked into a Washington hotel to celebrate the inauguration of President Clinton. She has flirted with an acting or writing career, but mostly she remains outside the limelight. She regularly attends executive meetings of the five- strong Graceland management team, headed by her mother, which will continue to control the estate until 1998. But she is, as she has made clear in a recent interview, just a normal girl at heart, trying to get on with her life in a world that continues to be obsessed with the man she eerily resembles. 'I personally do not feel like I am a celebrity,' she said. 'It is hard for me to accept being - well not worshipped exactly, but admired. I don't deserve to be looked up to until I have done something to earn it.'

(Photographs omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Buyer / Planner

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity has ar...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Journals Manager

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks