Lisa Marie Presley Had Strict Instructions for Her Funeral, Friend Reveals
Elvis' only daughter didn't want her memorial to be a somber affair.
When Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, died on Jan. 12, it came as a shock. The 54-year-old was rushed to the hospital with cardiac arrest, passing just hours later, Today reported. Lisa Marie's mother, Priscilla Presley, confirmed the news in a statement, calling her daughter "the most passionate strong and loving woman I have ever known." The family asked for privacy in the wake of their loss, but in terms of the funeral, the singer-songwriter had her own plans, according to a close friend. Read on to find out what Lisa Marie wanted for her memorial.
She didn't want the services to be sad.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Joel Weinshanker, a close friend of Lisa Marie's and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises, confirmed that she wanted to be buried at Elvis' Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee. She also wanted the services to be a celebration of life—just like the estate is a celebration of her father.
"Graceland is about celebrating Elvis' life, and we're gonna do the same for Lisa," he told the outlet ahead of the Jan. 22 services. "She had many thoughts about what her funeral would be like. There was no question she wanted to be buried at Graceland."
As far as the tone of the event, Lisa Marie had more stipulations, according to Weinshanker. "The one thing she said was, 'Just don't make it sad,'" Weinshanker recalled. "She [wanted] it to be a celebration, and that's what it's going to be."
Lisa Marie asked to be buried next to her late son.
According to Weinshanker, Lisa Marie wanted to be laid to rest next to her son, Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in 2020 at 27. Keough is buried at Graceland, near his grandfather.
"Since her son passed away, there was no question she wanted to be buried next to her son," Weinshanker told Entertainment Tonight.
Per a press release from Graceland, Lisa Marie was laid to rest in the Meditation Garden at the estate. The celebration of life ceremony was open to the public, with a procession to her final resting place.
Weinshanker said that Lisa Marie's final days weren't sad.
Weinshanker said that leading up to her death, Lisa Marie was the happiest he'd seen her since her son's passing.
"It was by far the best week of her life since Benjamin passed," he said. "She was happy. I was with her for several days at Graceland leading up to her dad's birthday on the Sunday the 8th. She had a great time. She stood for hours after the ceremony signing autographs, taking photos. She wouldn't leave until the last person was satisfied."
Lisa Marie also attended the Golden Globes on Jan. 10, where she "had an amazing time," Weinshanker said, noting that she was thrilled to see actor Austin Butler win an award for his portrayal of her father in Baz Luhrmann's 2022 film Elvis.
She previously expressed how impressed she was by the film, tweeting that Butler "channeled and embodied my father's heart and soul beautifully," and called his performance "unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully."
Weinshanker went on to dispel rumors about the Graceland estate
Lisa Marie is survived by her three children, 33-year-old Riley Keough and 14-year-old twins Harper and Finley Lockwood. And according to Weinshanker, they will undoubtedly be the ones to inherit Graceland, despite rumors of a contentious succession plan.
"Before Elvis passed away, he wanted to make sure that Lisa Marie got the home, got the estate. It was put into a trust. That trust throughout the years has been updated and it was Lisa's desire without question that her children take over," he said. "Riley, at this point—because Riley is of age majority—and so one day Harper and Finley as well. It's their home. It always has been. It's Elvis' home. It's Lisa's home. It will be Riley's home, without question."
In terms of honoring Lisa Marie at Graceland, Weinshanker confirmed that there's already an exhibit dedicated to her. There has not yet been any discussion of expanding it since her passing.
"Graceland gives people great joy, so we're not thinking about this from a business standpoint," he told Entertainment Tonight. "I'm sure at some point we will think about what we can do more for Lisa here, but everything now, it's to honor her and to celebrate her."