Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra first met when he was discharged from the US Army in 1960. At the request of her famous father, crooner Frank Sinatra, Nancy met the King’s plane when he landed and presented him with a gift of two tuxedo shirts and, of course, her father’s regards. Eight years later, they cemented their friendship on the set of Speedway, in which they starred as Steve Grayson and Susan Jacks.
It was then, in 1968, that Elvis became a father to his only child, daughter Lisa Marie Presley.
The Jailhouse Rock hitmaker had tied the knot with Priscilla Presley the year before and was overjoyed at the birth of Lisa Marie.
In a blog post on her official website, Nancy shared her memories of Elvis and recalled his heartbreaking comments about becoming a father.
According to the singer and actress, her Speedway castmate was torn between happiness at his daughter’s birth and sadness regarding the inequality and division of privilege in the world.
“When Lisa Marie was born, E.P. phoned me to say how he was so moved by the experience,” Nancy remembered.
But she also explained how Elvis had shared the complexity of his emotions that day, saying he also told her “how he felt it was not fair that she would have such great blessings and the same child born in a ghetto that very night would suffer poverty and want, and God knows what else, perhaps all her life”.
“His heart was so full of love and pain that night,” she added.
“I will never forget it as long as I live.”
The couple’s relationship later broke down and they separated in 1972, their divorce finalised in 1973.
Though Lisa Marie lived primarily with Priscilla after the split, Elvis and her mother co-parented and she spent plenty of time with him at Graceland.
At nine-years-old, she was there the fateful night her father was found unconscious on the floor of his bathroom in August 1977.
He was discovered by his then fiancée Ginger Alden just hours after kissing his daughter goodnight.
Ginger later wrote in her autobiography that she was “paralysed” at the scene, soon discovering Elvis wasn’t breathing and having the ambulance called to Baptist Memorial Hospital, where his daughter Lisa Marie had been born nine years earlier.
His girlfriend also recalled Lisa Marie appearing in the doorway of her father’s bathroom while attempts were made to revive him before the emergency services arrived, asking: “What’s wrong with my daddy?”
“I didn’t want her to see her father like this,” she wrote. “‘Nothing Lisa,’ I said, turning her away.”
In a poignant interview with Radar Online, Lisa Marie later opened up about the last conversation she had with Elvis.
“I don’t like talking about this,” she said. “It was August 16th, at four a.m. I was supposed to be asleep, actually.
“He found me, you know, ‘Go to bed.’ I said, ‘Okay.’
“I think he kissed me goodnight,” she remembered. “That was the last time I saw him alive.”