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Lisa Marie Presley’s ‘raw and riveting’ memoir co-written by her daughter, Riley Keough

A year after the death of Elvis Presley’s only daughter, publisher Random House has announced that her book will be on the shelves in October. The singer was recording tapes before she died and Keough has turned them into a potential best-seller

Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley y Riley Keough
Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough leave their handprints in the Chinese Theater, Hollywood, in June 2022.Jon Kopaloff (Getty Images)
María Porcel

Last Sunday, January 7, Riley Keough was one of the last to appear on the red carpet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the Golden Globes were being held. Dressed in white Chanel, the actress posed for photographers along with her husband and father of her child, stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen, with whom she has been in a relationship for more than a decade. The pair could be seen affectionately greeting other actors, such as Brie Larson while, at the gala, Riley was seated next to Sam Claflin, her co-star and fellow nominee for Daisy Jones & the Six.

It was a bittersweet day for Riley. On the one hand, she was pleased to be a Golden Globe nominee. On the other, this was the last place she saw her mother before she died a year ago. Lisa Marie Presley attended the Golden Globes on January 10, 2023, and died just two days later, on January 12. Now, a year after her death, Riley has announced that a memoir of her mother’s life will be published in the fall, a project she has shaped herself from the tapes her mother left.

Published by Random House, the as-yet untitled memoir will arrive in bookstores in the U.S. on October 15. There is a web page announcing its release complete with photographs, among them one of Lisa Marie and Riley as a child, sticking out her tongue. There are half a dozen more, mostly from the late singer’s childhood, including a couple with her father, Elvis Presley.

Elvis Presley poses with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie, in a room at Baptist hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on February 5, 1968.
Elvis Presley poses with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie, in a room at Baptist hospital in Memphis, Tenn., on February 5, 1968. AP

A short biography on the website reads: “Born to an American myth and raised in the wilds of Graceland, Lisa Marie Presley was never truly understood... until now. Before her death in 2023, she’d been working on a raw, riveting, one-of-a-kind memoir for years, recording countless hours of breathtakingly vulnerable tape, which has finally been put on the page by her daughter, Riley Keough.” The memoir is billed as a joint mother-and-daughter effort: one recording the material, the other finally bringing it to light.

It was an intestinal obstruction caused by a gastric bypass done some years earlier that caused Lisa Marie’s death at 54. The forensic report, published seven months later, indicated a history of overmedication, “forgetful that she had taken her prescription medication, she would repeat her doses,” Reuters reported at the time. She apparently had “therapeutic levels” of oxycodone and other drugs in her blood that were not considered contributing factors. From that moment on, family entanglements ensued. Lisa Marie was survived by her mother, Priscilla, who seems to be left to one side in this book; also by Riley, her eldest daughter by her first husband, Danny Keough; and Benjamin Keough, who committed suicide in 2020 at the age of 27; and finally by her youngest daughters, the now 15-year-old twins Finley and Harper, from her fourth marriage to Michael Lockwood. Lisa Marie was also married to Michael Jackson for 20 months between 1994 and 1995, but had no children with him. Nor did she have children from her three-month marriage to Nicolas Cage, with whom she tied the knot in Las Vegas in 2002.

The problems, of course, revolved around inheritance. In 2016, Lisa Marie made an amendment to her will whose “authenticity and validity” were questioned by her mother Priscilla after her death. The amendment left Priscilla out of Lisa Marie’s last will, which had been drawn up in 1993; it also cut out her manager Barry Siegel, whom she accused of leaving her broke, while the late Benjamin and Riley were made trustees of her estate. Priscilla claimed that Lisa Marie’s signature on the amended will seemed “inconsistent with her usual signature” and asserted that she was not notified of the changes according to legal procedure. She rejected the validity of the will a few days after her daughter’s funeral while, for her part, Riley made no comment.

In May, it was learned that Priscilla and Riley had reached an agreement and that Riley would finally be responsible for managing Lisa Marie’s entire estate, estimated at more than $100 million. “There is agreement, the families are happy, united and excited about the future,” her lawyers said. As leaked by some U.S. media sites weeks later, Riley had paid her grandmother $1 million to become full trustee of Lisa Marie’s estate — and of the sub-trusts for her twin sisters — plus another $400,000 to cover her legal fees. She also agreed to make Priscilla special advisor to the trust, which involved a payment, of an unknown amount, for 10 years. The New York Times estimated that the management of Graceland and the trust provided Lisa Marie with $1.25 million in 2022 alone.

At the end of the website promoting the memoir, there is a photograph of mother and daughter alongside their biographies. Lisa Marie’s reads that she was “was a singer and songwriter who was born in Memphis and raised at Graceland as the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. She released three studio albums throughout her music career — To Whom It May Concern, Now What, and Storm & Grace, the first of which was certified gold. Lisa Marie passed away in January 2023.” Of Riley Keough we read that she is “an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Independent Spirit Award-nominated actress. She is known for her work in Daisy Jones & the Six, Zola, and more. She also co-directed War Pony (2022), which won the Caméra d’Or for best first feature at Cannes, and cofounded the production company Felix Culpa with Gina Gammell. She is the eldest daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and sole trustee of Graceland.”

The shadow of Elvis is long and his legacy is sure to be back in the headlines come October.

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