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
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £35000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical ...

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'