From his humble beginnings in Mississippi, to his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Elvis Presley’s net worth at the time of his death was a fortune fit for a king—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.
Up ahead, we’re diving into everything there is to know about Elvis Presley’s net worth, from how much he had in the bank upon his death in 1977, to who inherited his massive fortune and turned Graceland into what it is today. But first, let’s take a look back on the King’s early days before his “Hound Dog” hips took the world by storm.
Born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley was raised by working-class parents as an only child after his twin brother, Jesse, died in their mother’s womb before birth. Elvis was dedicated to his parents, especially to his mother Gladys, who ran a tight-knit household while his father, Vernon, worked odd jobs to make ends meet. They moved and relocated often, but their faith as a family was always a constant. Elvis and his parents attended the Assembly of God Church together throughout his childhood, and it was in church where Elvis was first exposed to the power of music. Gospel ballads, along with popular jazz of the time, would go on to influence him greatly in the years to come.
Image: Courtesy of Everett Collection.
On his 11th birthday in 1946, Presley got his first guitar as a present from his mother. It wasn’t until after his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, however, that Elvis started to get his first taste of musical success after winning a talent competition in high school. After graduating from Humes High in 1953, Elvis worked a handful of jobs while pursuing his dreams of becoming a professional singer. Though Elvis couldn’t read or write music (and even flunked out of music classes as a child) he had a knack for playing and singing by ear.
Later that year, Elvis recorded his first demo at what would later be known as Sun Studio. A young Elvis made a lasting impression on label boss Sam Philips, who asked Elvis to return to the studio to record what would become his first major 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 renowned artists in the world, having released a string of chart-topping singles and appearing in a number of television shows, films and radio broadcasts across the country.
What was Elvis Presley’s net worth at the time of his death?
After nearly 30 years in the business, Elvis Presley’s net worth at the time of his death was pretty substantial. 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. Adjusting for inflation, Elvis Presley’s net worth when he died would round out to around $20 million by today’s standards.
Image: Everett Collection.
While $5 million is by no means insignificant, it was significantly less than what he made in the two decades prior to his death. Elvis burned through millions in real estate, his divorce from Priscilla Presley, his prescription drug addiction and on his entourage, comprised of many family members and close friends. His biggest expense to date was the purchase and maintenance of his Graceland mansion in Memphis, which continues to rake in millions as a historic tourist site from the public every year. It’s also worth noting that the Presley estate continues to earn hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to licensing fees following the King’s death. But who is all of that money going to? Keep on reading ahead for what we know.
Who inherited Elvis Presley’s money?
After Elvis passed away in August 1977 at the age of 42, the “Jailhouse Rock” singer left his fortune to his father, his grandmother and his 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.
Following her grandfather and great-grandmother’s deaths in 1979 and 1980 respectively, Lisa Marie was left as the sole inheritor of her father’s riches—which, by that point, had dwindled down to around $1 million owing to taxes on Graceland, among other mounting costs. Given that Lisa Marie was still a child, her mother, Priscilla, became the primary executor of her ex-husband’s estate, as stipulated by her former father-in-law’s will.
Image: Courtesy of Everett Collection.
Despite their messy split, 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 take control of her father’s trust, Priscilla had grown her daughter’s inheritance to an estimated $100 million. And as recently as 2017, Lisa Marie received an estimated monthly payment of $100,000 per month from her father’s estate, according to E! News.
What is Elvis worth today?
According to Forbes, Elvis Presley’s estate makes him one of the wealthiest dead celebrities today. The publication estimates that the Presley estate earned $23 million in 2020 alone. A majority of this money comes in through Graceland, which earns around $10 million annually during a typical year. All in all, the Presley estate is worth anywhere between $400 to $500 million as of 2020, according to a Presley estate executive cited in a report by Rolling Stone.
Image: Courtesy of Berkley.
For 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 readers through her and Elvis’ relationship, from the moment they met to their marriage to their affairs and eventual divorce. The New York Times bestseller also reveals never-been-told details about Priscilla and Elvis’ relationship and why she still considers their bond “unbreakable” decades after his death. Described as a “tribute to both the man and the legend” that was Elvis, Elvis and Me is a must-read for any Elvis fan and written by the woman who loved him—in her own words.
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