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Priscilla Presley (9photo)

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Priscilla Ann Presley (born May 24, 1945) is an American actress and business magnate. She is the former wife of the late entertainer Elvis Presley as well as co-founder and former chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), the company that turned Graceland into one of the top tourist attractions in the United States. She is a member of Scientology. In her acting career, Presley starred with Leslie Nielsen in the three successful Naked Gun films, and played the role of Jenna Wade on the long-running television series Dallas

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Business

Main article: Elvis Presley Enterprises

In 1973, after her split from Elvis, Presley set up a joint venture with her friend and stylist Olivia Bis. Together they opened a clothing boutique in Los Angeles called Bis & Beau. Elvis was supportive of Priscilla’s venture, and even contacted several friends in public relations to help with promotion for the launch. In a 1973 interview to promote the opening of the store, Priscilla said, “After the separation, I had to make up my mind about what I wanted to do, and since I had worked with Olivia for such a long time on my own clothes, I decided to try it professionally. We both do the designing for the shop, and have people who sew for us.” The shop was a successful venture, with celebrity clients including Cher, Lana Turner, Barbra Streisand, and Natalie Wood shopping there regularly.The shop closed in 1976.

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After Elvis’ death in 1977,Priscilla acted as executor for his only heir, Lisa Marie (who was then only 9). Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Lisa Marie’s inheritance to only $1 million.Taxes due on the property and other expenses due came to over $500,000. Faced with having to sell Graceland, Priscilla examined other famous homes/museums. She hired a CEO, Jack Soden, to turn Graceland into a tourist attraction. Graceland was opened to the public on June 7, 1982. Presley’s gamble paid off; only four weeks after opening Graceland’s doors, the estate made back all the money it had invested.Priscilla became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), stating she would remain in the position until Lisa Marie reached 21 years of age. Under Presley’s guidance, the enterprise’s fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.

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In 1988, Presley launched her own range of fragrances, and followed this up with a range of linen. She has also helped produce a couple of films, including Breakfast with Einstein and Finding Graceland. In September 2000, Presley was elected to the board of directors at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Always supportive, in 2015 Priscilla became the executive producer of a 14-track album titled – “If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.” She states “If Elvis were here, he would be evolving and taking risks, seemingly like everybody else today.”  Also in that year the U.S. Postmaster General, Megan Brennan and Priscilla Presley, dedicated an Elvis “forever” stamp which featured a 1955 black and white shot by photographer William Speer. It was her second dedication of a USPS stamp. The first Elvis stamp, issued in 1993, was the most popular edition of stamps in the Postal Service history. Elvis became the first artist to be featured in two different collections of stamps.

Acting career

Hal B. Wallis, a Hollywood producer who had financed many of Elvis’ earlier films, had shown an interest in signing Priscilla to a contract. Elvis, however, had no intentions of allowing his wife to have a career of any kind; in his opinion, albeit a very common one at the time, “a woman’s place was in the home looking after her man”. Priscilla had shown an interest in dancing and modeling, but her knowledge of Elvis’ opinion meant that she kept them as hobbies instead of pursuing them as careers. She did get the opportunity to model for a local store once, but when Elvis heard about it, he asked her to give it up.

Presley had originally been offered a role as one of the angels on Charlie’s Angels. She turned down the role because she disliked the show.Priscilla made her television debut as co-host of Those Amazing Animals in 1980. In 1983, she got her first chance to act professionally on a season 2 episode of The Fall Guy titled “Manhunter”She then found a role in a television film titled Love is Forever, starring alongside Michael Landon.Although she was treated well by most of the cast and crew, and her acting was praised by several of her co-stars, she found Landon difficult to work with on set. After the television film aired, Presley landed the role of Jenna Wade on the popular prime-time soap opera Dallas. She played the role of Wade for five years, leaving the show in 1988 to focus on other parts.

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Presley has appeared in a few feature film roles, most notably in 1988 when she starred opposite Leslie Nielsen in The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! as Jane Spencer. Presley would go on to act in the next two movies in the series: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994). All three films were solid at the box office. In the late 1990s, she was a special guest star on the television series Melrose Place, Touched by an Angel, and Spin City

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Presley made her pantomime debut in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon, London, Christmas 2012, starring opposite Warwick Davis. Presley said she was “delighted” by the opportunity, which she described as an “honor”.

Presley reprised her role as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Opera House in Manchester, Christmas 2014.

Charity work and activism

Since 2003, Presley has been the Ambassador of the Dream Foundation, a Santa Barbara-based wish-granting organization for terminally ill adults and their families

Presley is a devoted member of the Church of Scientology, and speaks publicly for the religion’s anti-psychiatry front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.

In 2013, Presley spoke out against the Tennessee Ag-Gag Bill in a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Presley cited her and Elvis’ love of horses and expressed her concern that the bill would hinder animal cruelty investigations and reduce protections for horses and other farm animals.

Personal life

Romantically, Presley has had a number of serious relationships since her divorce in 1973. Immediately afterwards, she lived with karate instructor Mike Stone. She then had a six-year live-in relationship with actor and model Mike Edwards. Edwards recounts the tale of their relationship in his book Priscilla, Elvis and Me (1988).

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Presley’s longest relationship has been with Italian screenwriter-director Marco Garibaldi, with whom she lived for 22 years. Their son, Navarone, was born on March 1, 1987. In 2006, they ended their relationship. She was later reported to be dating Nigel Lythgoe, from 2006 to 2009.

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Presley, who is single, said in a December 2012 interview that “L.A. is a very difficult town to find someone, because people are too fickle and they have other agendas.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Priscilla Presley attends the opening of the "Elvis At The O2" exhibition at The O2 Arena on December 15, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1983 Love Is Forever Sandy Redford TV film
1983 The Fall Guy Sabrina Coldwell Episode: “Manhunter”
1983–88 Dallas Jenna Wade Series regular, 143 episodes
Soap Opera Digest Award for New Actress in a Prime Time Soap Opera (1984)
1988 The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Jane Spencer
1990 The Adventures of Ford Fairlane Colleen Sutton
1991 The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear Jane Spencer Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss
1993 Tales from the Crypt Gina Episode: “Oil’s Well That Ends Well”
1994 Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Jane Spencer
1996 Melrose Place Nurse Benson 3 episodes
1997 Touched by an Angel Dr. Meg Saulter Episode: “Labor of Love”
1998 Breakfast with Einstein Keelin TV film
1999 Spin City Aunt Marie Paterno 2 episodes
1999 Hayley Wagner, Star Sue Wagner TV film

Bibliography

  • Presley, Priscilla (1985). Elvis and Me. ISBN 0-399-12984-7.
  • Presley, Priscilla; Presley, Lisa Marie (2005). Elvis by the Presleys. ISBN 0-307-23741-9.

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