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Lisa Marie Presley’s Tragic Life

JFK Junior might not have deserved much from an unforgiving God, but he deserved a long life, longer than the shocking loss in a plane crash when he was just 39 years of age. He didn’t even get more time than his pop or Uncle, both assassinated: he didn’t get pay back and of two indelible images, the latter has him skating down Broadway alone and troubled after his mother died, what is left is past. The Kennedy’s were tragic, POTUS, Bobby, Jackie, and Junior, all gone too soon.

The same is true of the Presley’s and that is really brought home with Lisa Marie Presley’s father and grandmother dying of heart disease at young ages, respectively at 42 and 46. That’s bad. But Lisa Marie’s son Benjamin Keough committed suicide in 2020 at the age of 27: and that will kill you.

I once wrote about how Elvis Presley’s life and death seconded as an indictment of out of control capitalism, the USA ate him alive and spit him out and the King Of Rock was gone just like that. Before we lost him, he lost his twin brother at birth and his mother when he was 22 years old, in the army because his manager was too scared he’d be discovered as an undocumented alien and so he missed her last moments.

Presley and his wife Priscilla had one child, Lisa Marie Presley, and then they divorced and he died and Lisa Marie had a lot of money and a lot of time and she was eleven years old when her father died and left her with a life constantly spiralling out of control. Two marriages, one to Nicholas Cage, one to Michael Jackson, neither of which makes much sense, were public events. She pursued music in a lacklustre manner, and managed to nearly go bankrupt at one point. Her third husband, Danny Keough, also ended in divorce though they were living together at the end, he was best man at her wedding to musician Michael Lockwood marriage (and inevitable divorce). And that makes four to go with her four children.

There is that about Lisa Marie (and JFK Jr) that is indelibly Great American Disaster, it is a two generation hit, first Elvis at 42 and then Lisa Marie at 54. You don’t want that, when you see people like her successful actress daughter Riley Keough, you can imagine what Lisa-Marie might have been, perhaps should have been. She was too close to the flame of fame and it burnt down her life. Dying at the age of 54 is punishment for doing nothing much wrong, she maintained her father’s legacy with ease.

If respecting and enhancing her father’s legend answers the existential question, her charity work is a sign of respect and while her music, she has three albums, the first two from 2003 and 2005 are pretty good (#5 and #9 respectively on Billboard 200) along with two hit singles, and the Ramones cover is just fine, her final album 2012 was produced by T-Bone Burnett and is a plodding thing.

I have a friend whose daughter ran away from home and won’t speak to her, she is worth, quite literally, tens of millions but she isn’t happy and she failed to make her daughter happy. Money has its limitations. But a family who loves you and a world that respects you, that is enough to answer the question about Lisa Marie as to who she was. She was a good woman.

Grade: B

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