Lisa Marie Presley: A Well-known ’70s Child Who Felt Like a Buddy

I by no means met Lisa Marie Presley. I’ve by no means heard a single track of hers, and I did not sustain on her celeb comings and goings. Nonetheless, I am unhappy concerning the demise of a 54-year-old girl I by no means knew. We have been children collectively. It feels that manner, no less than.

Perhaps it is a Gen X or Seventies child factor. After I was little, she was one of many few children within the public eye who wasn’t a toddler actor. Grownup celebrities got here and went, however right here was Lisa Marie, one other woman about my age, with a public face and identify. Like me, she did not have a starring half in films or TV exhibits. As a substitute, there’d be the occasional picture of her dolled up in a Christmas costume or one thing, posing along with her well-known sideburned dad, who liked her a lot he named his airplane after her.


Elvis’ airplane was named Lisa Marie for his daughter.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/

Dads and daughters

Solidarity, sister — I additionally had a sideburned dad. It was the Seventies; most each child had a sideburned dad. Our sideburned dads weren’t world well-known singers identifiable solely by their first identify, and did not have planes they named after us. However they positively posed for awkward household photographs wanting uncomfortably sweaty and with large lapels on their jackets, similar to Elvis. 

Even her identify marked her as one in every of us. The yr I used to be born, “Lisa” was the most well-liked baby-girl identify in America, and “Marie” actually appeared like some of the well-liked center names. I’ve near a dozen associates named “Lisa” to this present day. Gen X nursing properties can have a whole Lisa wing if they need sometime, catering solely to aged Lisas. Perhaps a couple of Kims and Amys.

The Seventies have been this nation’s awkward age, and it was form of an unsightly time to be a child. Occasions — the Vietnam Battle, Watergate — have been grim. The sights we surrounded ourselves with weren’t a lot better: orange shag carpet, avocado home equipment, bell-bottoms. 

Have you learnt the place your kids are? Nope!

Seventies children weren’t catered to the way in which they’re now. The memes are proper: Your mother and father kicked you out of the home on a summer time morning and did not count on to see you once more till dinner. 

If Mother wanted you in between that point, good luck. You is likely to be taking part in kickball, or smoking in someone’s clubhouse, or rambling alongside the railroad tracks selecting burrs out of your Toughskins, or knee-deep in a pond poking at a lifeless fish, or risking tetanus taking part in seize the flag in a junkyard. You is likely to be having a blast, you is likely to be being bullied, you is likely to be bored out of your cranium. Your mother and father by no means knew, they usually weren’t going to ask.

There was no social media in fact, no “influencers.” Only a few children my age have been well-known. Lisa Marie was one in every of them. 


Graceland’s Seventies-style kitchen is ceaselessly frozen in time, and appears loads just like the one I grew up with, a thousand miles and lots of thousands and thousands of {dollars} away.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/

Dropping her dad

Lisa Marie had form of dropped from the highlight by the point her father, Elvis, died in 1977. After all, it was large, world-shaking information. Large headlines and information reviews have been in every single place. Elvis was deservedly mourned as a legendary singer.

However one thing in me remembered that little woman within the photographs, and knew that whereas the world could have misplaced an entertainer, there was a child my age who misplaced her dad. 

She was 9. I used to be 9. My dad was no Elvis, and he did not have a airplane to call after me. We did not have Elvis cash, or first-class air journey or fancy properties.   

However Lisa Marie and I have been each 9, and I acquired to show 10, and 11, and 16, and 25, and 40, and my dad was nonetheless round, providing recommendation and cracking unhealthy dad jokes and exhibiting up at my college features. Clapping for me at performs, educating me to drive, strolling me down the aisle, cooing at my child daughter. Lisa Marie did not get that. A whole bunch of thousands and thousands of {dollars} could not purchase that.

That Graceland swing set

Lisa Marie wove out and in of headlines once I acquired older. Her life appeared extra unreal and complex than these easy dad-and-daughter photographs of the Seventies. She turned a mother once I was nonetheless ending up faculty and making an attempt to determine a path. She married Michael Jackson, and later, Nicolas Cage. She’d come a good distance from her girlhood days. We clearly had little or no in frequent apart from our start years.

However once I visited Graceland in 2017, I felt a kinship with Lisa Marie once more. Graceland is a giant home, nevertheless it’s not a Kardashian-style mansion. It felt immediately acquainted — a goofy, considerably awkwardly adorned home of the Seventies, with shag carpet and hulking tube TVs and a recreation room with a cloth ceiling and a rip within the pool-table canvas the place some household pal tried a trick and tousled. 

The steel pink, white and blue Seventies-style swing set out again regarded loads like 1,000,000 swing units I might performed on. We lived by means of the bicentennial collectively, Lisa Marie and me, and every thing was painted pink, white and blue.


Did this Graceland swing set belong to Lisa Marie? The type and bicentennial coloration scheme is definitely recognizable to any Seventies child.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/

Lisa Marie led a sophisticated life. The luxuries she knew and the challenges she skilled, good and unhealthy, are ones I am going to by no means perceive. However her early, harmless fame burned so huge and so brilliant that I by no means forgot her. Ultimately, she was a mother and daughter, a singer and songwriter, a businesswoman — she was many issues. 

However my Gen X coronary heart will mourn her because the little child with the sideburned dad, who misplaced him manner too quickly.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button