Yesterday, Lisa Marie Presley’s funeral took place at Graceland, where Memphis mob member Jerry Schilling gave a short speech. The close friend of Elvis Presley, who accompanied the King to meet President Richard Nixon at the White House, held back tears as he shared some of his last moments with the 54-year-old man who died on January 12. Just two weeks earlier, Lisa Marie had delivered a speech at the same location on the mansion’s front lawn, to honor what would have been her father’s 88th birthday. She then asked Schilling if he would accompany her to the Golden Globes to see Elvis movie star Austin Butler win his award for Best Actor in a Drama.
After the Golden Globes, the last thing Lisa Marie said to the 80-year-old Memphis mobster was “Jerry Schilling, I love you.” He said: “As he was in the hospital with her father when Priscilla was giving birth, he was in the hospital with her mother when she left us. memphis [his nickname for Lisa]I will always love you.”
Recalling the birth of Lisa Marie, which took place nine months after Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding, Schilling said: “In 1967, Elvis invited me to Graceland for Christmas and New Years. As he was leaving me to go back to Los Angeles and go back to work, he looked at me and said, ‘Aren’t you going to stay for the birth of our daughter?’ I said, “I guess I will.” So I was here until February 1st. I still have my job! We came home here and I have never held a baby before. And we were in the kitchen and Elvis passed me Lisa and I was sure he wasn’t going to let go. That was the beginning of my journey with Memphis.”
Jerry continued, “We spent a lot of time together in his childhood days and when he grew up, we were at his mom’s house for Thanksgiving, and she said, ‘I need to meet you.’ She was 18 or 19 years old. So I said, ‘Okay,’ so we went to an exclusive place, the Hamburger Hamlet, and she said, ‘I need a job. I know people don’t think I’m responsible, but I really am. And God bless her, she really was. She became my secretary and every time she told her she always corrected me: ‘I’m your assistant!’
“We started working out of my house…then eventually we moved to offices on the Sunset Strip, where she had a lot of responsibilities. One of which was answering all the phone calls that came my way. Every two weeks, she would come with a very disgruntled look on their face, ‘Someone else wants to talk to you about Lisa Marie…’ They had no idea they were talking to her on the phone! So we had fun with that.” She then shared that the daughter of rock star Elvis was unique in being able to intimidate.
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Schilling said: “At the time, I was managing another Memphis, if you will, Jerry Lee Lewis. And Memphis was the only person I knew that he could intimidate Jerry Lee Lewis.” The contemporary of Elvis, Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash, who died last year at the age of 87, lived a scandalous and controversial life filled with sex, violence and drug addiction.
The Memphis mob member added: “After a Jerry Lee Lewis concert one night we went to Le Dome for dinner and she said, ‘Jerry Lee, what’s this I heard about you running out the doors of Graceland? ‘ It was the first time I saw Jerry Lee Lewis speechless and nervous. But she could do it. She just had that way.”
He was referring to the infamous 1976 incident when Lewis remembered the King wanted to see him, so he drove his Lincoln Continental to the gates of the Memphis mansion while drunk and brandishing a loaded pistol at 3am, before being arrested.
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