Elvis Presley facts: The King's parents, wife, daughter, films and death explained

29 December 2020, 18:47 | Updated: 30 December 2020, 09:42

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley. Picture: Getty

Elvis Presley is undoubtedly one of, if not the most successful recording artist of all time. Over 40 years since his death, he still remains one of the most popular singers around the world.

But where was Elvis Presley born and who was his wife? Here's all the important facts ever Elvis fan needs to know:

  1. Where and when was Elvis Presley born?

    Elvis Presley with His Parents
    Elvis Presley with His Parents. Picture: Getty

    Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, to parents Vernon Elvis (1916 to 1979) and Gladys Love (1912 to 1958).

    He was born in a two-room 'shotgun' house that his father built especially for the occasion. His identical twin brother, Jesse Garon, was delivered 35 minutes before him, but was sadly stillborn.

    Elvis soon became close to both parents and formed a very close bond with his mother. He first found his love for music at his family's church.

    Read more: Elvis Presley's greatest performance just two months before he died with 'Unchained Melody' cover

    On his mother's side, Elvis's ancestry was Scots-Irish, with some French Norman. It is believed by biographers that her great-great-grandmother, Morning Dove White, was Cherokee Indian. His father's ancestors were of German or Scottish origin.

    In 1938, his family lost their home after Vernon was found guilty of altering a check written by his landowner and employer. He was jailed for eight months.

  2. How did his music career start and who was Colonel Tom Parker?

    Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis in 1956
    Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis in 1956. Picture: Getty

    Elvis's music career began in 1954, when he recorded at Sun Records in Memphis with producer Sam Phillips, who was looking to take the sound of African-American music to a wider audience.

    Playing on rhythm acoustic guitar, Elvis was joined by lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, and performed a unique style of rockabilly, an uptempo mix of country music and rhythm and blues.

    Read more: A film about Colonel Tom Parker starring Tom Hanks is being made

    With drummer DJ Fontana joining, Elvis and his group were signed by RCA Victor in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would then manage him for over two decades.

  3. When did he get married and did he have any children?

    Elvis Presley Smiling with Bride Priscilla
    Elvis Presley Smiling with Bride Priscilla. Picture: Getty

    While in Friedberg, Elvis Presley met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu.

    They later married seven-and-a-half years after meeting, in 1967 in Las Vegas. They separated in 1972.

    The couple had one child together: daughter Lisa Marie Presley, born in 1968. Lisa Marie has also had a career in the music business, recording three albums. She has been married four times, including to singer Michael Jackson.

    Read more: The tragic life of Elvis' daughter: The story of Lisa Marie Presley's father, husband and son

    Elvis has four grandchildren via Lisa Marie, including actress and model Riley Keough.

    Tragically, Elvis' grandson Benjamin died in 2020, aged 27.

    Lisa Marie (right) with daughter Riley Keough (left)
    Lisa Marie (right) with daughter Riley Keough (left). Picture: Getty
  4. What films was in Elvis in?

    By the 1960s, Elvis devoted much of his time to making Hollywood movies and soundtracks, most of which were derided by critics.

    QUIZ: How well do you know Elvis Presley's song lyrics?

    His debut was in Love Me Tender for 20th Century Fox, and he would later say that King Creole was his favourite out of all his films.

    In total, Elvis made 31 dramatic movies.

  5. When and how did Elvis Presley die?

    Elvis Presley Performing in 1977
    Elvis Presley Performing in 1977. Picture: Getty

    The book Elvis: What Happened?, written by the three bodyguards fired by Elvis the previous year, was published in August 1977. It was an first exposé about Presley's years of drug misuse.

    By then, Elvis was struggling with various health issues: glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, each possibly caused by drug abuse.

    On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Elvis was scheduled to head to Memphis for the start of another tour.

    Read more: When and where was Elvis Presley's final concert performance before he died?

    That afternoon, his partner Ginger Alden found him in an unresponsive state on a bathroom floor. Attempts to revive him failed, and his death was confirmed at 3.30pm.

    President Jimmy Carter praised Presley with having "permanently changed the face of American popular culture". Thousands of people visited outside Graceland to view the open casket.

    Presley's funeral was held at Graceland on August 18. Around 80,000 people lined the processional route to Forest Hill Cemetery, where Presley was buried next to his mother.