For eight years the world had whispered about her — Elvis Presley’s ”teen heartthrob,” his ”live-in Lolita.” Her name was Priscilla Beaulieu, and she had lived in the King’s Graceland mansion in Memphis since she was a headstrong 16. They had met when she was 14 and her dad, Air Force Capt. Paul Beaulieu, was stationed near the celeb GI in West Germany. She patiently played the part of princess-bride-in-waiting until late 1966, when, to her parents’ profound relief, Elvis finally popped the question.
The wedding, on May 1, 1967, was shrouded in as much secrecy as their courtship. The day before, the couple drove from Los Angeles to a rented house in Palm Springs to confuse reporters, then left early the next morning for Las Vegas, where they exchanged vows at the Aladdin Hotel with only a few friends and family present.
After years of what Priscilla later described as frustrating celibacy, they finally consummated their relationship that night in Palm Springs. ”The desire and lust that had built up in me throughout the years exploded in a frenzy of passion,” Priscilla recalled in her ’85 auto-biography, Elvis and Me. Nine months to the day after they married, she gave birth to daughter Lisa Marie. But the passion fizzled, partly because of Elvis’ drug problems. Before long, Priscilla gave up the beehive hairdo and Cleopatra eyeliner he favored. She left him in 1972.
But she remained devoted to Elvis, even after his death in 1977. As coexecutor of this estate since 1979, Priscilla has increased its value from $5 million to about $75 million through licensing and opening Graceland to the public — all for the sake of Lisa Marie, Elvis’ sole heir, who will take over operations when she turns 30 in 1998. (Most of Presley’s record royalties go to RCA), As an actress, Priscilla has shown a natural comic gift, starring in The Naked Gun and its sequel. She now lives in Bel Air, Calif., with Marco Garibaldi, a movie director and writer, with whom she has a son, Navarone, 5. Her perfume line, Moments, until now available only at J.C. Penney, is expanding into other stores this spring.
Rock & roll’s erstwhile Lolita is still making sure that Elvis’ flame burns eternally-and turns a profit. And Priscilla, now 45, doesn’t care if the old or the young Elvis ends up on the postage stamp. ”They both represent him at his best,” she says.
Time Capsule: May 1, 1967
Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls was a best-seller. Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy teamed for the No. 1 hit ”Something’ Stupid.” Casino Royale, a James Bond send-up, drew full houses in movie theaters, and Bonanza blazed as the season’s highest-rated TV show.