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From his humble beginnings in Mississippi to his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Elvis Presley’s fortune was royalty at the time of his death — especially when we’re talking about the King of rock ‘n’ roll himself. However, his net worth at the end of his life pales in comparison to how much the Presley estate is worth today.
Ahead, we dive into everything there is to know about Elvis Presley’s net worth, from how much he had in the bank when he died in 1977, to who inherited his vast fortune and made Graceland what it was what it is today. But first, let’s take a look back at the King’s early days, before his “hound dog” hips took the world by storm.
Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi, and was raised as an only child to working-class parents after his twin brother, Jesse, died before birth. Elvis devoted himself to his parents, particularly his mother, Gladys, who kept a close-knit household, while his father, Vernon, worked odd jobs to make ends meet. They’ve moved and relocated often, but their faith as a family has always been a constant. Elvis and his parents attended the Assembly of God Church together during his childhood, and it was at church that Elvis was first exposed to the power of music. Gospel ballads, along with the popular jazz of the time, would greatly influence him for years to come.
On his 11th birthday in 1946, Presley received his first guitar from his mother. But it wasn’t until his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, that Elvis got his start in music after winning a talent contest in high school. After graduating from Humes High in 1953, Elvis worked a handful of jobs while pursuing his dream of becoming a professional singer. Though Elvis couldn’t read or write music (and even dropped out of music class as a kid), he had a knack for playing and singing by ear.
Later that year, Elvis recorded his first demo at what later became Sun Studio. A young Elvis left a lasting impression on label boss Sam Philips, who asked Elvis to return to the studio to record his first big hit, That’s All Right, which was released in 1954. The rest, as they say, is history. By the end of the decade, Elvis was one of the most acclaimed artists in the world, having released a string of chart-topping singles and appearing in a number of television shows, films and radio shows across the country.
What was Elvis Presley’s net worth at the time of his death?
After nearly 30 years in business, Elvis Presley’s net worth was quite substantial at the time of his death. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the King of Rock n’ Roll was worth an estimated $5 million at the time of his death in August 1977. Adjusted for inflation, Elvis Presley’s net worth at his death would be around $20 million by today’s standards.
While $5 million is by no means insignificant, it was significantly less than what he earned in the two decades prior to his death. Elvis burned millions in real estate, his divorce from Priscilla Presley, his addiction to prescription drugs, and his entourage, which consisted of many family members and close friends. His biggest expenses to date have been the purchase and maintenance of his Graceland mansion in Memphis, a historic tourist attraction that rakes in millions from the public each year. It’s also worth noting that the Presley estate continues to make hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to royalties after the King’s death. But who does all the money go to? Read on to find out what we know.
Who Inherited Elvis Presley’s Money?
After Elvis died in August 1977 at the age of 42, the “Jailhouse Rock” singer left his fortune to his father, grandmother and daughter Lisa Marie, whom he welcomed with ex-wife Priscilla Presley in 1968. Elvis’ mother, Gladys, died years earlier in 1958 – hence her exclusion from his will.
After the deaths of her grandfather and great-grandmother in 1979 and 1980, respectively, Lisa Marie was left the sole heir to her father’s wealth, which by that time had dwindled to around $1 million due in part to taxes on Graceland. Since Lisa Marie was still a child, her mother, Priscilla, became the chief executor of her ex-husband’s estate, as required by her former father-in-law’s will.
Despite their messy breakup, Priscilla made it her mission to pay tribute to the king’s legacy by founding Elvis Presley Enterprises and converting Graceland into a museum. By the time Lisa Marie was old enough to trust her father, Priscilla had grown her daughter’s inheritance to an estimated $100 million. And back in 2017, according to E! News.
What is Elvis worth today?
According to Forbes, Elvis Presley’s estate makes him one of the richest dead celebrities today. The publication estimates that the Presley estate made $23 million in 2020 alone. Much of that money comes from Graceland, which makes about $10 million annually in a typical year. All told, Presley’s estate is worth between $400 million and $500 million as of 2020, according to a Presley estate executive quoted in a Rolling Stone report.
To learn more about Elvis, read Priscilla Presley’s 1986 memoir, Elvis and Me: The True Story of the Love Between Priscilla Presley and the King of Rock N’ Roll
. In the book, Priscilla takes the reader through the relationship between her and Elvis, from the moment they met, through their marriage, through their affairs and finally to their divorce. That New York Times The bestseller also reveals never-before-seen details about Priscilla and Elvis’ relationship and why she still thinks their bond is “unbreakable” decades after his death. Described as “a tribute to the man and legend” that was Elvis, Elvis and I is a must for any Elvis fan and written by the woman who loved him – in her own words.
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