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

I never ever met Lisa Marie Presley. I’ve under no circumstances read a one music of hers, and I didn’t hold up on her celebrity comings and goings. Still, I’m unhappy about the dying of a 54-calendar year-aged woman I never realized. We were little ones jointly. It feels that way, at least.

Perhaps it is really a Gen X or 1970s child point. When I was minimal, she was a person of the number of kids in the public eye who was not a youngster actor. Adult celebs came and went, but right here was Lisa Marie, one more girl about my age, with a community facial area and name. Like me, she failed to have a starring part in motion pictures or Tv set shows. Instead, there’d be the occasional photograph of her dolled up in a Xmas gown or a little something, posing with her renowned sideburned father, who cherished her so much he named his airplane following her.

Elvis’ airplane was named Lisa Marie for his daughter.

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Dads and daughters

Solidarity, sister — I also experienced a sideburned dad. It was the 1970s most every single child experienced a sideburned dad. Our sideburned dads weren’t world popular singers identifiable only by their to start with title, and failed to have planes they named right after us. But they unquestionably posed for awkward family members images wanting uncomfortably sweaty and with large lapels on their jackets, just like Elvis. 

Even her name marked her as a person of us. The calendar year I was born, “Lisa” was the most well known little one-lady name in The usa, and “Marie” surely seemed like 1 of the most popular center names. I have shut to a dozen mates named “Lisa” to this day. Gen X nursing households can have an full Lisa wing if they want sometime, catering only to aged Lisas. Possibly a couple Kims and Amys.

The 1970s were this country’s uncomfortable age, and it was sort of an unappealing time to be a child. Occasions — the Vietnam War, Watergate — were grim. The sights we surrounded ourselves with were not significantly far better: orange shag carpet, avocado appliances, bell-bottoms. 

Do you know in which your children are? Nope!

Seventies little ones weren’t catered to the way they are now. The memes are correct: Your mother and father kicked you out of the home on a summer early morning and failed to expect to see you yet again until evening meal. 

If Mom essential you in between that time, good luck. You may possibly be participating in kickball, or using tobacco in somebody’s clubhouse, or rambling together the railroad tracks picking burrs out of your Toughskins, or knee-deep in a pond poking at a dead fish, or risking tetanus taking part in capture the flag in a junkyard. You may possibly be having a blast, you may possibly be staying bullied, you could be bored out of your skull. Your mothers and fathers by no means knew, and they were not going to question.

There was no social media of program, no “influencers.” Very handful of youngsters my age have been famous. Lisa Marie was a single of them. 


Graceland’s 1970s-fashion kitchen is permanently frozen in time, and looks a whole lot like the 1 I grew up with, a thousand miles and quite a few tens of millions of bucks absent.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Dropping her father

Lisa Marie experienced type of dropped from the spotlight by the time her father, Elvis, died in 1977. Of course, it was substantial, world-shaking information. Giant headlines and information reviews ended up in all places. Elvis was deservedly mourned as a legendary singer.

But something in me remembered that minimal woman in the shots, and understood that when the world could have dropped an entertainer, there was a child my age who shed her dad. 

She was 9. I was 9. My father was no Elvis, and he didn’t have a plane to identify soon after me. We failed to have Elvis income, or to start with-course air travel or fancy households.   

But Lisa Marie and I were being equally 9, and I bought to convert 10, and 11, and 16, and 25, and 40, and my dad was even now all-around, providing guidance and cracking poor dad jokes and showing up at my school functions. Clapping for me at plays, training me to drive, walking me down the aisle, cooing at my toddler daughter. Lisa Marie did not get that. Hundreds of thousands and thousands of dollars couldn’t get that.

That Graceland swing established

Lisa Marie wove in and out of headlines when I acquired older. Her daily life seemed additional unreal and challenging than these uncomplicated dad-and-daughter photos of the 1970s. She turned a mother when I was nonetheless ending up higher education and striving to figure out a path. She married Michael Jackson, and later on, Nicolas Cage. She’d arrive a extended way from her girlhood times. We naturally had extremely tiny in frequent moreover our beginning yrs.

But when I visited Graceland in 2017, I felt a kinship with Lisa Marie once more. Graceland is a big residence, but it’s not a Kardashian-design and style mansion. It felt promptly familiar — a goofy, to some degree awkwardly decorated dwelling of the 1970s, with shag carpet and bulky tube TVs and a sport space with a cloth ceiling and a rip in the pool-desk canvas the place some family members friend attempted a trick and messed up. 

The metal crimson, white and blue 1970s-model swing set out back looked a large amount like a million swing sets I’d played on. We lived as a result of the bicentennial with each other, Lisa Marie and me, and every thing was painted red, white and blue.


Did this Graceland swing set belong to Lisa Marie? The model and bicentennial coloration scheme is effortlessly recognizable to any 1970s kid.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

Lisa Marie led a challenging everyday living. The luxuries she knew and the worries she expert, fantastic and bad, are ones I’ll hardly ever fully grasp. But her early, harmless fame burned so significant and so bright that I under no circumstances forgot her. In the conclusion, she was a mom and daughter, a singer and songwriter, a businesswoman — she was lots of points. 

But my Gen X coronary heart will mourn her as the small child with the sideburned dad, who missing him way much too soon.