Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Lisa Marie Presley, fans celebrate Elvis’ 88th birthday: ‘I think that he’d be proud’

Bob Mehr source

Family, friends and fans of Elvis Presley gathered at Graceland on Sunday morning to mark what would have been the rock icon’s 88th birthday.

Led by Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, the annual event featured an Elvis Presley birthday proclamation from the city of Memphis, Tennessee, as well as a ceremonial cake cutting.

The event drew an unusually large gathering of Presley diehards – a number clearly boosted by the success of the 2022 Baz Luhrmann biopic “Elvis” – to the front lawn of Graceland for the 30-minute ceremony.

Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden welcomed the group. “I can speak with some authority having been here every year for a lot of years,” he said. “This is unquestionably the largest crowd we’ve ever had. You all come from all over the world … and we love you for being here.”

Following brief appearances by Alton Mason, who played Little Richard in the Luhrmann film, and Presley’s longtime TCB band pianist Glen D. Hardin, Elvis Presley Enterprises managing partner Joel Weinshanker spoke.

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Weinshanker noted that one of Presley’s career ambitions “was to be in an amazing movie, with an amazing director, and be part of an amazing film. And I think we did that for him this year.”

He added that Graceland was “probably the most famous house in the world, and there is only one person whose house it is,” he said, introducing Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie.

“I love you back and that’s why I’m here. Today, (Elvis) would’ve been 88 years old, it’s hard to believe. I think that he’d be proud. This year has been an incredible year. The movie is incredible, I’m very proud of it, and I hope you are too,” Lisa Marie said. “But it’s just so moving how every year you come from all over the world. It’s moving to me and my family … so thank you.”

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Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises officials then unveiled an “Aloha from Hawaii”-themed cake – the famed 1973 satellite concert event that marks its 50th anniversary – as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to close the proceedings.

Celebrations of Presley’s birthday continued on Sunday, with Graceland officially opening the doors to “The Making of Elvis” exhibition, a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Luhrmann’s film, which packs props, drawings, annotated scripts, 18 character costumes and other items into a 3,000-square-foot space. The exhibit is currently slated to be on display through Labor Day.

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