Lisa Marie Presley put a lot of thought into her memorial service prior to her death. The late musician died Jan. 12 after suffering from cardiac arrest. She was 54.
A public memorial service in held in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday at Graceland, the home of her late father, Elvis Presley and where she was laid to rest.
ET’s Kevin Frazier spoke with Joel Weinshanker, the president of Elvis Presley Enterprises ahead of the memorial service, and he opened up about Lisa Marie’s final days and her intentions for her own service.
“It’s about celebrating her life. This whole Graceland is about celebrating Elvis’ life, and we’re gonna do the same for Lisa,” Weinshanker told ET prior to the public memorial. “She had many thoughts about what her funeral would be like. There was no question she wanted to be buried at Graceland since her son passed away. There was no question she wanted to be buried next to her son. The one thing she said was, ‘Don’t make it sad.’ She wants it to be a celebration, and that’s what it’s gonna be.”
Lisa Marie’s son, Benjamin Keough, died by suicide in 2020 at the age of 27, and she was buried next to him at Graceland. Weinshanker shared that the final week of Lisa Marie’s life was “by far the best week” since Benjamin’s death.
“She was happy. I was with her for several days at Graceland leading up to her dad’s birthday on the Sunday the 8th. She had a great time,” he recalled. “She stood for hours after the ceremony signing autographs, taking photos. She wouldn’t leave until the last person was satisfied. She had an amazing time.”
Of the woman he remembers, Weinshanker describes Lisa Marie as “kind, earnest, and just the realest person you would ever meet.”
“My respect for her was really about how real she was. If she was unhappy, you knew about it. If she was happy, you knew about it,” he said. “She was brilliant. She was an amazing performer… she was one of the most kind, earnest souls I’ve ever met in my life.”
He added that Lisa Marie’s sudden death has left everyone at Graceland in shock. “It’s still — to an extent — not real,” he shared. “I mean, I was here, 50 feet away with Lisa two weeks ago.”
He noted that Graceland already has an exhibit dedicated to Lisa Marie and says there have been no talks of expanding that in the time since her death.
“Graceland gives people great joy, so we’re not thinking about this from a business standpoint,” he explained. “I’m sure at some point we will think about what we can do more for Lisa here, but everything now, it’s to honor her and to celebrate her.”
As for any rumors about what will happen to Graceland now that Lisa Marie has died, Weinshanker shuts down any feud speculation.
“Before Elvis passed away, he wanted to make sure that Lisa Marie got the home, got the estate. It was put into a trust. That trust throughout the years has been updated and it was Lisa’s desire without question that her children take over. Riley [Keough], at this point, because Riley is of age majority, and so one day Harper and Finley [Lockwood] as well. It’s their home. It always has been. It’s Elvis’ home. It’s Lisa’s home. It will be Riley’s home, without question.”
At the memorial, Weinshanker spoke, sharing, “Lisa’s voice will only be amplified with time and never be silenced or diminished. She was and will always be her father’s protector, and we will continue to be hers.”