Palmer: Elvis’ Last Name Cast Lifelong Shadow Over His Daughter


Courtesy of Wikimedia

Lisa Marie Presley, seen at a 2005 NASCAR race in Daytona Beach, Florida, endured a life of heartbreak while never fully emerging from the shadow of her father, Elvis Presley.

Caleigh Palmer, Junior Chief Advocate

WOODBURY Lisa Marie Presley dead at 55, the headlines read.

On average, an estimated 385,000 babies are born each day. Some will be teachers, others may be police officers, but one was destined to be someone. One day in particular, that very special someone was born. On Feb. 1, 1968, Lisa Marie Presley was brought into the world, already being extraordinary.

From the second Presley was born, she was thrust into the spotlight. She was not only the daughter of Priscilla Presley, an actress and businesswoman, but her father was the one and only King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.

Born into riches, fancy cars, and flashing cameras, her life was enviable and seemed like a gift.

But like any rose, it had its thorns.

At the age of 5, her parents got divorced after six years of marriage. Four years later, her father died from a heart attack at the young age of 42. At the time, Lisa Marie was just 9 years old, and even until the day she passed, Elvis’ death had a major effect on her.

Debra O’Leary, Woodbury Middle School school psychologist, shared her beliefs on how children are affected by relatives passing away young.

“I think it’s huge and especially at that young age,” O’Leary said. “I think it’s unfortunate at any time. If they are really little, I think it’s a little easier to recover, but at 9 years old, you have known your dad for that long. I think it’s just very traumatic.”

As stated in “The Tragic Life of Elvis’ Daughter: The Story of Lisa Marie Presley’s Father, Husband and Son” by Smooth Radio, Lisa Marie once said, “I don’t like talking about this. It was 4 a.m. and I was supposed to be asleep, actually. He found me.” When recalling the events even further, she remembered calling out, “My daddy’s dead! He’s smothered in the carpet!”

Years later, she would be married to a man named Danny Keough, with whom she would have her first two children, Benjamin Keough and Riley Keough. Their marriage ended in a divorce in 1994.

However, merely 20 days after the divorce, Lisa Marie married the one and only Michael Jackson, but only two years later, they divorced as well. It was rumored, though, that they stayed close friends with an on-and-off relationship in the following years.

Lisa Marie would then be struck with love for a third time and married famous actor Nicholas Cage in 2002. But once again, they divorced two years later.

Lisa Marie would marry for a final time in 2006 to Michael Lockwood, with whom she had twin girls. While this time it might have seemed like true love, they filed for divorce and split in 2021 after 15 years together. During those years of marriage, a tragic event happened in 2020 that shocked everyone.

In 2020, her son Benjamin Keough tragically died after committing suicide. Friends around him said he struggled to live up to being Elvis Presley’s grandson even though Benjamin didn’t even know him; imagine what it was like for Lisa Marie.

After constant years of ups and downs, one would think people would know about Lisa Marie Presley and her own story, not just her father’s. However, still to this day even after her passing in January 2023, few young people know who she is or anything about her story because of the bright light of her father.

Ethan Butkus, an eighth-grader and music enthusiast at Woodbury Middle School, could not recall Lisa Marie Presley, but he did know her father.

“‘I’m gonna guess it’s probably Elvis Presley’s relative based on last name, but [I’m] not really sure,” Butkus said.

O’Leary had a similar response: “I know that she is Elvis Presley’s daughter, [but] I don’t know a lot more than that. I actually know more about him than her.”

Lisa Marie Presley really was an amazing woman. Standing alone, she was a mother and a singer-songwriter who loved her family. She was also a woman who went through copious amounts of heartbreak and loss, but many people couldn’t see that because of her last name.

Time and time again, Lisa Marie was overlooked, outshined, and talked over because of Elvis. All they saw when they looked at her was the word Presley and her father written all over it.

May Lisa Marie Presley rest in peace next to her father and son, remembered as an artist, mother, and wife — not just Elvis Presley’s daughter.

This is the opinion of Caleigh Palmer, a Woodbury Middle School eighth-grader writing for the Junior Chief Advocate.