Devil In Disguise | Late nights in the pub with daughter Lisa Marie, her crazy life with Elvis and why, at 67, she's making her stage debut in a British panto : Priscilla Presley reveals all ...

By: Lina Das
Source: Daily Mail UK
December 12, 2012

The word 'wary' is often used to describe Priscilla Presley in interviews, yet meeting her in the Beverly Hills offices of Elvis Presley Enterprises, she's warm, funny and laughs easily. Having met Elvis at 14, married him at 21 and become the keeper of his flame ever since his death 35 years ago, a certain wariness of strangers on her part would be understandable. 'But I'm working on being a little more trusting', she admits. 'Plus, I like to make fun of myself. Lightening up a little bit and having a sense of humour about yourself is very important'. Which might explain why Priscilla has embarked on her most daunting challenge to date - starring in her first ever pantomime at London's New Wimbledon Theatre opposite Life's Too Short star Warwick Davis.

Taking on the role of the Wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, Priscilla, 67, proved to be a natural under the spotlight. Starring alongside Jarred Christmas and Warwick Davis, Priscilla appeared to be in her element while taking in the boos and hisses from the crowd. Presley looked positively evil in her costume, which she described as 'sensational' on the opening night of the show. Wearing a bejeweled horned headpiece with a floor length gown which braved a thigh high split, the actress commanded the audience's attention.

Priscilla Presley plays the Wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

Priscilla is getting rave reviews for her performance as 'The Wicked Queen' in her Pantomime debut. The Elvis song she sings in the show is TROUBLE from 'King Creole'. One of the fans who saw the Musical commented: 'She was witty, confident and had the crowd in the palm of her her hands, really hamming it all up, in the true sense of Panto and she nailed the role of the wicked Queen. The whole cast and production was superb, if you get the chance to see this show, do it, you wont regret it'. 'I hadn't seen a pantomime before, but I did my homework and so I knew how popular they are. I thought it would be a small theatre, but when I went to London for a costume fitting and found it seated 1,700 people I thought, 'Oh my God - what have I done?' 'But I've always wanted to do a play and I liked the idea that this was all about family. My daughter will be there and I thought about her little ones when I agreed to do this because they're crazy about Snow White'.

Priscilla's daughter is Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' only child, who now - rather surreally - lives in the East Sussex village of Rotherfield. She moved there two years ago with her musician husband Michael Lockwood and their twin girls Harper and Finley, now four, and has been impressing locals with her embracing of country life and her fondness for drinking Guinness in the local pubs. 'She's not the only one', says Priscilla. 'I love Guinness and my daughter and I are still in some places at closing time - they always have to ask us to leave. We were in Australia one St Patrick's Day and we were neck and neck on the Guinness front. I had six and then 20 minutes later she'd had eight and then I'd had ten. I think I won'. If Priscilla can down pints at that rate, then goodness knows where she puts them. She's trim and tiny and immaculately turned out in a purple blouse, black trousers and heels, and at 67 is still in possession of the porcelain-doll prettiness that captivated Elvis over half a century ago. 'I'm not searching for perfection and I'm comfortable with myself', she says. 'I work out three days a week, do yoga and I keep my weight down because I feel better that way. I do facials and make sure my hair's done, but I'm in Hollywood where it's a case of constant maintenance, so I do what I need to do to get work'. She makes it over to England three or four times a year to visit her daughter. 'I love the countryside. The people are so friendly and chatty. I was a little surprised when Lisa moved there because all our family is here [in the States], but I think at that particular time it's just what she needed. 'She gets her privacy there, which we all crave, and it's not like here with all the tourists and tour buses, which can sometimes be a bit of an invasion. She needed a place to raise her babies without fanfare and it's perfect. Her twins have their own life and she's an amazing mother. 'She's a lot like me in that we believe children should be raised as children and not have adult worries, and she's been able to do that in England'. When Lisa Marie was born in 1968, Priscilla also tried to shield her from the vagaries of Elvis' fame. While Priscilla accepted that life as Elvis' wife could never really be normal, it became less attractive when Lisa Marie came along.

Priscilla Presley plays the Wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

Priscilla admits that although Elvis was an adoring father, she made the decision to divorce him when Lisa Marie was four 'as we were getting lost in his life'. Lisa Marie spent half her time with her father at Graceland and half with her mother in Beverly Hills until Elvis' untimely death five years later at 42.

'Lisa and I are very close now, but it wasn't always that way. I was a single mum because Elvis passed away at such a young age, so it was a real challenge. Those teenage years were rough too because Lisa was not easy and she always had her own mind. 'I worried all the time, especially being in LA because it's a melting pot of different cultures and societies, and drugs were my biggest concern. I was worried about a group of friends she was hanging around with and she wasn't happy when I sent her to boarding school because of it.

Priscilla Presley.
Priscilla Presley.
'She was even less happy that I only told her the same day, because I didn't know if she'd run away! But it actually turned out OK and she now has fond memories of that time, thank God'. Has Lisa Marie apologised for those fraught teenage years? 'In her own way', laughs Priscilla. 'It's very easy to rebel, but I think when you have your own children you realise what rules and parameters are for. This is her second time around with children [Lisa Marie also has two from her first marriage to musician Danny Keough - actress Riley, 23, and Benjamin, 20], so she's been through it. She does ask for a bit of advice sometimes and we talk about things quite openly'. Both mother and daughter recently admitted they'd made some 'poor choices' when it came to men. 'I'm glad Lisa's admitted it too!' says Priscilla. 'We laugh about it now, but that's sometimes where our problems with each other lay. We could each see things about the man the other one was dating that the other person just couldn't see, but that's quite easy to do. Still, that's probably where the arguments started because we're both very vocal'. After Lisa Marie's marriage to Keough ended in 1994, she famously married singer Michael Jackson, then became embroiled in the first of his two trials on charges of child abuse. The marriage ended after two years, and then six years later she married actor Nicolas Cage, a self-confessed Elvis fanatic. At least one of those marriages must have given Priscilla cause for concern? 'I've thought that with a few, actually', she laughs, 'and she felt the same with me. There were a couple of relationships I was a little taken aback by, but I don't think I showed it too much.' Was she at least relieved when her daughter's marriage to Jackson ended?

'Well, I don't want to get into it because we have different opinions and I'd rather keep mine to myself. But he was a wonderful entertainer and a big loss to the world because he was irreplaceable in that sense'.

While Lisa Marie is fond of describing the early relationship she had with her mother as one between 'oil and water', it's telling just how similar their paths became. Both married and had their first child in their early 20s and both married the biggest male singers of their generation. 'That's very true', says Priscilla. 'We both married young and Lisa experienced Michael's fame just as I experienced Elvis'. You can't class them as normal people because they come from another spectrum'.

Priscilla was just 14 but possessed of an adult beauty when she met a 24-year-old Elvis at a party in Germany where her father was serving in the US forces. Two years later, having fallen in love with the star, she was ensconced at Graceland. 'He had definite likes and dislikes, there's no doubt about that', says Priscilla, 'and he was very much a man. As much as he was hip and stylish and gorgeous and charismatic, he was also a little old-fashioned and put his likes and dislikes onto his women. I couldn't wear trousers for ages', she says, tugging on the ones she's wearing today, 'and I couldn't wear prints or stripes - I had to wear solids. I still do actually. 'If I'd been a bigger woman, it would have been different, but I was small, so that was OK. He loved me to dye my hair black and wear make-up but not so much jewellery, and it's amazing how much he knew about style. 'But he was also kind and wise and taught me a lot. He was an avid reader but he taught me the difference between common sense and intellect and a lot about social graces. But we lived in a bubble. His friends were my friends. It wasn't until after we divorced that I could find out who I was. I'd take a dislike to something and not know why, then I'd realise it wasn't my dislike, it was his. It was difficult to become my own person - I had to separate myself from Elvis' concerns and considerations'.

While married to Elvis a career for Priscilla was out of the question, but after their divorce she embarked on a successful move into acting, starring in the wickedly anarchic Naked Gun movies with Leslie Nielsen ('I wasn't a comedian but he held my hand and told me not to worry, and I think I need Warwick to do the same for me in Snow White!') as well as in the original Dallas, where she played Bobby Ewing's lover Jenna Wade. 'I love the new show and I'm not really one for remakes', she says, 'but Jenna didn't die, so I'd love to come back'.

She then spent more than two decades with film producer/director Marco Garibaldi, with whom she has a son, 25-year-old Navarone (also a musician), eventually separating from him six years ago.

Priscilla Presley plays the Wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

She's currently single and admits 'LA is a very difficult town to find someone, because people are too fickle and they have other agendas', and even though her daughter has tried to set her up on dates, Priscilla laughs when asked how that turned out.'Let's just say some of the people she's picked out for me have definitely been wrong!' Is it just a question of Elvis the icon being an impossible act to follow? 'Well, it wouldn't be fair to put it that way', says Priscilla. 'But I realised how difficult it was dating someone with my history, so I tried to put myself in the men's shoes. Being with the most gorgeous man ever and not just gorgeous but a good human being too, I realised this could be difficult, so I never threw it in their faces. 'I hope I was respectful of everyone. But Elvis was absolutely the love of my life, and there's no sadness about it because I have my memories, and they're delicious and they're all mine'.

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