Jerry Schilling Didn’t Know If Lisa Marie Would “Survive” Her Son’s Death
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Elvis Presley’s Close Friend Jerry Schilling Remembers Lisa Marie Presley On The One-Year Anniversary Of Her Death
Jerry Schilling was there the day Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 1, 1968. He was also there the day she died on January 12, 2023.
Lisa Marie shared a strong bond with Jerry, who was one of her father Elvis’ best friends and a member of the “Memphis Mafia.” He remained close to Lisa Marie and her mother, Priscilla, after Elvis’ death. Jerry even served as Lisa Marie’s manager for a time when she was in the depths of pursuing her own music career.
It was Jerry who Lisa Marie asked to accompany her to the Golden Globes on January 10, 2023, just two days before she died. Lisa Marie was there with Priscilla to watch Austin Butler win the Golden Globe for playing her father in the Baz Luhrmann-directed Elvis biopic.
That ended up being Lisa Marie’s final public appearance before her death.
Jerry Recalls The Last Time He Saw Lisa Marie
Looking back on that night, fans noted how Lisa Marie seemed unsteady and was clinging to Jerry’s arm. Jerry Schilling spoke with PEOPLE about that night, saying:
“She was having a nice time, and I thought she was great. The only concern I had was she had these big high heels on. People talk about when she’s holding onto my arm. Her mother’s done that. In fact, her mother almost tripped that night later.
“Anybody can say what they want to, but I was with her. She was not on drugs. She’s had problems, but she’s been honest about that. But, outside of being extra thin, going through the loss of a son, she was really trying to get back and be supportive of the film about her father that she was pleased with.”
After the ceremony, Jerry walked Lisa Marie to her car. He told PEOPLE her last words to him were, “Jerry Schilling, I love you”
Just two days later, Jerry got the call to “rush to the hospital.” Then, Lisa Marie was gone. He ended up serving as a pallbearer in her funeral, before she was laid to rest in the Meditation Garden at Graceland.
81-year-old Jerry feels like “theres a huge vacuum” in his life now that Lisa Marie is gone. As he told PEOPLE, “I never thought I’d be missing her [because she passed away]. Logically it should be the other way around.”
Jerry Schilling Says He Wasn’t Sure If Lisa Marie Would “Survive” Her Son Ben’s Death
Lisa Marie was buried next to her son, Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in 2020. He was 27.
Ben’s death understandably destroyed Lisa Marie. Jerry says her three daughters, Riley, Harper, and Finley, were the only things that kept her going:
“Since the loss of her son, Ben Storm, Lisa did not go out, he said. “I didn’t know she… was going to survive [Benjamin’s death]. She survived that for two years because of the love and care for her three daughters.”
The last post Lisa Marie ever made on Instagram was about her grief over Ben’s death. She wrote an essay for National Grief Awareness Day on August 30, and shared it with her followers.
Lisa Marie started to step back into the spotlight to support the Elvis film. Jerry recalls:
“When we were flying back to Memphis for a screening, I met her at the airport. I hadn’t seen her since Ben Storm’s funeral. She said to me, ‘Jerry, I will never be the same.’ She looked frail. But she was really trying.”
Jerry fondly called Lisa Marie as “Memphis” in reference to her birth city. He called her by that nickname during the moving eulogy he delivered at her funeral service at Graceland. Watch a video of his speech below.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with Lisa Marie’s family…