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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Encore Presentation: Interview With Priscilla Presley

Aired February 15, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ELVIS PRESLEY, ENTERTAINER: (SINGING)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: exclusive. Priscilla Presley. She married Elvis, the King, when she was 21. Together they had a child. Named her Lisa Marie. And then Priscilla went on to become a big start herself. Her life, her family, her career fascinate us all, but she never talks about them.

Well, she's talking tonight. A rare, in-depth personal interview with Priscilla Presley, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

ELVIS: (SINGING)

KING: Our special guest tonight is Priscilla Presley. What a life. A lot of things to talk about. It's great to have her here. She was last here in August of 1986. I'll tell you how long ago that was. I was still smoking. I had had no heart problems.

What took so long for you to come back? Because you've been invited.

PRISCILLA PRESLEY, ENTERTAINER: I have. Thank you. I guess I have a lot to talk about.

KING: Now.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: You didn't have a lot to talk about five years ago?

PRESLEY: I did, but I'm not real fond of giving interviews.

KING: Because?

PRESLEY: Obvious -- why? There's a part of me that, you know, there's a generation that I grew up in that you just kept quiet about a lot of things. You didn't just go out and spill everything out and when I'm interviewed, there's a lot of things that I'm just cautious about, defensive about. So...

KING: But you're comfortable here.

PRESLEY: I am.

KING: And you know there's an enormous interest in you, your daughter and your late husband. You never remarried, did you? PRESLEY: No.

KING: Why not?

PRESLEY: Well I'm with someone I've been with for, like, 18 years now. And we're very comfortable in our situation. I mean, he's the Rock of Gibraltar and he's -- he's my confidant.

KING: What does he do?

PRESLEY: Right now, he's working on technology for the music industry.

KING: Did you ever want another child?

PRESLEY: I have another child. I have a little boy.

KING: You do?

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: A little...

PRESLEY: Not little boy. He'll be 16 next month, which is very sad.

KING: Is it weird that one child gets all the attention and the other doesn't?

PRESLEY: Well, you know, my son, our son, does not want -- he doesn't want any attention. I mean, he's just the opposite. You know, he's going through his teenage years right now. He doesn't like any labels. He's against anything that...

KING: Oh, he's...

PRESLEY: Oh, yes, he's very rebellious. So this is new for me. Well, actually, it's not new. It's been new. My daughter was the same way. But it's in new having a son.

KING: Now let's get down and touch some bases. You were very young when you met. How young were you?

PRESLEY: Fourteen.

KING: And what are your memories like at 14 of meeting someone this gigantic on the world stage who was then in the army, right?

PRESLEY: Right.

KING: And your father was lifelong military, right?

PRESLEY: Right, in the air force.

KING: What was that like? PRESLEY: You have to remember that when I met Elvis, you know, it wasn't the fanfare that it is today or even when he was here in the states and I was in Germany growing up. So I saw him at a very vulnerable time. He had just lost his mother and he was grieving. And I came into his life and he somehow, you know, felt like confiding in me and talking to me and I was like a sounding board for him as a 14-year-old kid.

KING: But, did you feel ready for something serious?

PRESLEY: Not really. I don't feel -- as far as something serious, I didn't realize at that time how serious it was.

You know, I had my mother and my father convincing me that he would be going back to Hollywood and he'd be back with the actresses and dating them and that he wasn't serious about me at all. So I had him saying one thing to me and my parents telling me something else.

KING: And, so, he was saying he loves you, and they were telling you this is a teenage crush.

PRESLEY: Right. Well, they didn't know how serious it was between us. They, you know, they were very fond of him. They were very fond of his father. They were both, my gosh, the Southern hospitality and very, very humble. And that's the way it was back then, you know?

But they met my parents and -- it was like the old-fashioned way, where they meet and they agree upon things together. And...

KING: When they learned how serious it was, were they upset?

PRESLEY: Yes.

My father, I guess it all really started after Elvis came back to the states. It was 1960. And I didn't hear from Elvis right away. And my mother said, See, I told you. I told you he was going to forget about you. You know, and they had told me that I had to start a life and get back to school and start doing the things that a young schoolgirl should be doing, which I -- it was very difficult.

I confided in no one. I had one friend I believe I told what was going on, and that was it.

KING: Then what happened?

PRESLEY: Elvis started calling about 21 days after I got back, and that's when it all started again.

KING: And they couldn't do anything to stop it?

PRESLEY: No, not a that age. No. It was difficult because he would call at all hours of the night. We'd talk on the phone two and three hours at a time.

I was encouraged to go to school and -- to even date somewhat, you know.

KING: Did you?

PRESLEY: I did a little, yes. I did.

KING: Is that weird? Dating a guy who knows you're going out with Elvis Presley?

PRESLEY: Well, he didn't know. They didn't know.

KING: No one knew.

PRESLEY: No. No. It was to be kept a secret.

KING: So, memory fades. How did you pull it all off? How did you finally -- you were going to get married and got married?

PRESLEY: Well, my -- I feel like I'm repeating myself. You know, I wrote the book, so I feel like this is old news.

KING: I know, but it was all so long.

PRESLEY: I know, I know.

KING: I'm going to go by this quickly. I'm gliding through.

PRESLEY: All right, all right. I just don't want to bore your audience.

KING: You're not boring them. There's a whole new Elvis -- Elvis has sold 1 billion records, right? Worldwide.

PRESLEY: Right. Worldwide.

KING: There's a whole element of people...

PRESLEY: That's true, I know.

KING: ...that are new to Elvis.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: ...that are new to Elvis.

PRESLEY: A whole new generation, absolutely.

There were the phone calls and Elvis had asked me to visit him in Los Angeles. This was in 1962. I came and visited in Los Angeles that summer for about two or three weeks and he took me to Las Vegas. And I went back home after that and it changed my life. I mean, I was in love.

KING: And your parents had to accept it or what could they do?

PRESLEY: Yes, because he also called and asked me to come back at Christmas. So there were these continuous calls. And at that time, you know, Larry, when you're what -- I was 16, 17 at the time. At that time, girls got married. They weren't thinking of a career. So, Elvis was very convincing to my parents and saying, I'll take good care of her. Please let her come. I don't know what this is all about. I don't know these feelings myself because. These were all new to me because I was so young.

So my parents let me come. They let me go to school.

KING: What was life..

PRESLEY: I mean, I threatened them. I said, you're ruining my life. I mean, I gave them a lot of things to think about, too, that they were ruining my life and probably my fate.

KING: What was life like early on? What was it like? To be...

PRESLEY: Early on?

KING: Young and married to a world celebrity.

PRESLEY: Very difficult for a young girl. It was -- I was in a whole new world, a very strange world. Very different from when I had met him when he was a soldier and very vulnerable.

KING: Did you like any of the attention? I mean, I could imagine a 17, 18-year-old might be a little thrilled at red carpets and paparazzi and...

PRESLEY: That was a way of life. I didn't know anything from then on after that. I didn't look at it that way. That was how he, you know, he got around and he had his entourage. It was just his way of life. I had to accept that. I certainly couldn't change it.

KING: My guest is Priscilla Presley. She heads the Dream Foundation. We're going to talk about that. A lot of things she's involved with. She's in a -- you're going to produce something, right?

PRESLEY: I am.

KING: You're bringing back an old...

PRESLEY: Yes, an old movie.

KING: We're going to get to that.

We'll be right back with Priscilla Presley right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELVIS: (SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The 32-year-old Mississippi boy who started a new style of singing gives his bride a 20-carat diamond ring. Now more a movie than a recording star, Elvis met Priscilla when he was a GI in Germany and she the daughter of a lieutenant colonel was a high school girl. It's the first marriage for both.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with the lovely Priscilla Presley. The very talented Priscilla Presley who should do more -- why don't you do more acting? I mean, "Naked Gun,: you were hysterical.

PRESLEY: Thank you. That was fun. That was fun. I enjoy doing those movies.

KING: We're going to get to that later. But you should do more.

PRESLEY: Thank you..

KING: OK, you married and almost a year later, you have a baby.

PRESLEY: Yes, my daughter.

KING: First, what kind of husband was Elvis?

PRESLEY: He was wonderfully loving. Caring. But he was also...

KING: But...

PRESLEY: But he was also a victim of his own career. Of his own love which, of course was music, and going into film.

KING: How so, victim meaning...

PRESLEY: Well, he grew up in it. He was a product of the business. And that was his only way of life. He loved it. He, you know, he traveled all over before he was even really discovered by Colonel Parker. And had venues that he would appear at.

KING: So that made it difficult as a husband in what way? A lot of women around him, obviously.

PRESLEY: All the time.

KING: How did you handle that?

PRESLEY: Very difficult.

KING: Get ticked?

PRESLEY: Yes. I mean, to be put in that situation, admiration, I think it would be very difficult for any woman. It really was all about Elvis. In everybody way, in every move, in every, you know, in every situation. It was really living his life.

KING: So, was this terrible for you?

PRESLEY: Well, again, it was a way of life.

KING: You were an appendage.

PRESLEY: Probably, yes. I mean, I had probably an illusion of being the wife that, you know, I wanted to create a home. I wanted to have children. I wanted him to be a husband. It was never going to be that way. It couldn't be that way. He had created a lifestyle that was really very necessary for him because he couldn't get around without fanfare.

KING: Why did everybody like him?

PRESLEY: Oh, he was great. He was a wonderful human being.

KING: You liked him, as a person.

PRESLEY: As a person, he was wonderful. He really was a great person. He was full of life. He had a great sense of humor. Very talented, of course, but very caring to his parents. There was a very endearing quality about Elvis.

KING: So what's that? I never heard a bad word about him.

PRESLEY: No.

KING: No.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: He had his faults, but...

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: Now, you have a baby. How good a father was he?

PRESLEY: Well, I was the disciplinarian. I mean, he wouldn't...

KING: He spoiled her.

PRESLEY: He spoiled her, yes. He loved children. And he definitely spoiled her and he left the discipline to me. I was the bad guy.

So, you know, Lisa, of course, always wanted to be with him because she didn't get any discipline from him. He would let her stay up 3:00 in the morning, not bathe, not brush her teeth. I was the one on the telephone going, did you brush your teeth? And she'd say, yes, yes, sure I did.

KING: he'd take her with him?

PRESLEY: She would go to Memphis and this was after our divorce. And I would send her to Memphis to be with him.

KING: Was the divorce difficult?

PRESLEY: Yes, the divorce was difficult. It was difficult.

KING: Did he treat you unfairly?

PRESLEY: Not at all.

KING: Or emotionally difficult.

PRESLEY: It was emotionally difficult. It was a big step for both of us. We cared for each other. But just two different lifestyles.

KING: Did you ever see each other after the divorce?

PRESLEY: Absolutely, all the time.

KING: So a relationship continued of some sorts.

PRESLEY: Absolutely.

KING: But you were the tough mother and he was the soft father. Very typical, by the way.

PRESLEY: I know this is.

KING: With daughters.

PRESLEY: And sons, I'm finding out, yes.

KING: And when Elvis died, Lisa Marie was, what, 9?

PRESLEY: She was 9 years old.

KING: Where were you that day?

PRESLEY: I was at home -- actually, I was on my way to an appointment. And I...

KING: In L.A.?

PRESLEY: In L.A. And Joe Esposito had gotten a hold of my parents and said that he needed to talk to me. They reached my sister and my sister met me at the appointment and told me that something was wrong, that Elvis was ill and in the hospital and I went back home. The phone was ringing and it was Joe on the phone who said that he was sending a plane for me to come to Memphis. It was serious.

KING: He didn't tell you he was...

PRESLEY: He did. He said it was serious and that Elvis died.

KING: By the way, Elvis, "30 No. 1 Hits," CD was released in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of his death. It's at the top of the charts in two dozen countries. And some of the visual material that you're seeing on tonight's show comes from the Universal Studios home video, Elvis, his best friend remembers, an insider's look at Elvis from Diamond Joe Esposito who (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Who I imagine you like.

PRESLEY: Yes, I liked Joe very much.

KING: Were you totally shocked?

PRESLEY: Part of me was not. But, then again, all of us around him wouldn't even accept the fact that he would -- that he would go. I mean, you just...

KING: Elvis was not going to die.

PRESLEY: No, he had been in the hospital in and out for years. In fact, he would check into a hospital just to get away and rest. He would just check in and, you know, pretend he was sick and...

KING: Really?

PRESLEY: Yes. He loved going to the hospital.

KING: We'll be right back with Priscilla Presley on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELVIS: (SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Priscilla Presley.

You had to put up with a lot, though, right? Fans were mad at you. Girlfriends objected to you.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: You had to be pretty strong inside to...

PRESLEY: It made me stronger, yes. I was always the bad guy no matter what. I mean, even when Elvis was married, you know, it was -- it was a lot of fanfare about that, also.

And I think that, I guess it went both ways. It was hard for me to accept the fans, too. You know, they lived outside our gates. They camped outside our gates for weeks at a time. They would follow me all over, everywhere I went. I really felt like I didn't have a life.

KING: At his death, did you have to take charge of things?

PRESLEY: I did.

KING: You were the former wife. Was there other people handling things or was it all in your lap?

PRESLEY: Not really. When I walked in, Vernon...

KING: The father.

PRESLEY: His father, right, was in such a state of shock. I mean, I can still hear him to this day, you know, wailing. It was -- he honestly couldn't handle anything. Everyone was in disarray, the whole household.

KING: How about your daughter?

PRESLEY: My daughter? Surprisingly enough, I don't think she really knew the impact nor did she really know what had happened.

KING: Nine's a tough age.

PRESLEY: Nine is very tough. And it was very difficult for her to believe. I remember that she was -- she took a golf cart that she would ride around Graceland in and she was out with her friend. And I thought that was a little odd, but then again, remembering the age. And I actually preferred her to be out than in the house because it was very depressing.

KING: Did she go to the funeral?

PRESLEY: Of course she did.

KING: Handle herself well?

PRESLEY: Very well, yes.

KING: How hard it for you?

PRESLEY: Disbelief.

KING: Because you still loved him, right?

PRESLEY: Absolutely. I -- you know, he was so that much a part of my life that, you know, Elvis, you know, once -- once you bonded with him, I mean, there was no -- there was no going back. He was just a great guy.

KING: The impact is lasting.

PRESLEY: Right.

KING: Right? Did it affect your other relationships?

PRESLEY: Yes, it did. It has -- it's very difficult for anyone to step in those shoes.

KING: He's a ghost.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: And he gets in the way.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: This guy you're with has to be strong.

PRESLEY: Very strong. He's his own person. Very secure. Very solid. He's very understanding. And it's been good for me. It's the only relationship that I've had that's really, you know, been that solid.

KING: Little bit about your daughter.

First, her record. She can sing. Did you know she could sing?

PRESLEY: You know, Lisa, for the longest time, did not sing. And I had no idea she even had a voice. She'd play music loud, like most teenagers, but I remember even telling her to turn the music down because it would be so loud. She was probably practicing all those years.

KING: So when did it happen? When did you...

PRESLEY: She wanted to start singing, I guess, about maybe 10 years ago. And I tried to encourage her to take lessons because, obviously, she had some, you know, some big shoes to step in. And my concern was that she would try to do this with no training whatsoever.

She eventually started taking voice lessons. But I don't even know she needs them.

KING: Were you surprised when you heard the finished product here?

PRESLEY: Well, no, not really. I think she's very talented. I'm probably her biggest fan. I think, you know, she dances, she sings.

KING: She got that from her father.

PRESLEY: Absolutely.

PRESLEY: You didn't sing, did you?

PRESLEY: No. No. Well didn't you hear me in "Naked Gun"?

KING: She has an earthy kind of tone, right?

PRESLEY: Yes. Yes.

KING: Very -- Memphis touch in it? PRESLEY: Little bit, yes. A little bit. I mean, I really feel she has her own style. I don't think she's going for any one style or trying to be a, you know, have a -- I think she's -- she can really sing anything but she's really created her own style.

KING: Just a few other things about her. I know you don't want to get involved. But how did you handle when she got all that attention being married to Michael Jackson? How did you, as the mother, handle that?

PRESLEY: Concern. Concern. I think -- I think any mother would be concerned.

You know, you know, obviously, if my daughter's happy, you know, then I don't have any problem. But she's very strong-willed.

KING: Wonder where she got that from?

PRESLEY: I don't know.

KING: Was she happy for a time?

PRESLEY: I think so. I think so.

KING: Do you stay close to -- I mean, do you stay on top of things?

PRESLEY: As much as I can.

KING: I mean, she's -- how old is she now?

PRESLEY: 35.

KING: You have a 35-year-old...

PRESLEY: I do. It's hard for me to even believe that time's gone by so fast.

KING: You think you'd buy anything from psychologists that one of the attractions to someone like Jackson is that Jackson had been somewhat of a Presley. I mean, a pinnacle of attention and focus.

PRESLEY: Right.

You know, I really don't know. I try not to analyze it. You know, it was what it was, you know? And Lisa makes her own decisions. You know, as a mother, I can throw a few things out there. But she ultimately will make her own decision.

KING: How is she now?

PRESLEY: She's great. She's doing well.

KING: Got over the Cage thing OK? They're still friends, right?

PRESLEY: They're friends. Yes. KING: Everybody's friends in the Presley set. She's probably still friends with Michael.

PRESLEY: Probably. Probably.

KING: Everybody's friendly.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: Do you think..

PRESLEY: Why not? Isn't that great, though? I mean, when you stop and think about it, why shouldn't it be that way?

Unfortunately, I feel, if there are children, you know, I feel they're the ones who suffer and it's important that you are friends. It's not that, you know, when a relationship doesn't work and there are issues, you have to somehow work it out if there are children involved.

KING: What did you learn from all of this? Your own maturation?

PRESLEY: My gosh, Larry, I've learned a lot.

KING: Boy.

PRESLEY: I have learned a lot. I, you know, I guess..

KING: You have lead a singularly interesting life.

PRESLEY: Well, probably so. I've learned a lot from it. I, you know, guess you kind of learn when to keep your mouth shut. You kind of learn whose issues are there? They yours? Whose considerations are they? Are they yours? Are they somebody else's? I mean, there's a lot that goes into relationships.

KING: But yours was so not normal.

PRESLEY: Right.

KING: I mean, so, for someone to equate with your relationship would be very hard.

PRESLEY: It would be. That's why I don't talk about it very much. There are very few people.

In fact, maybe now more than ever, my daughter. Because she's been through it. You know, she's...

KING: Understands?

PRESLEY: Whereas before maybe not. Maybe before, you know, she married Michael she wondered, you know, what happened between her father and I? You know, she never really felt the divorce. We were still loving even after the divorce because we liked each other.

KING: She only saw you two loving, right?

PRESLEY: Right. So maybe now, more than ever, if there was to be anyone that understood my situation, it would be my daughter.

KING: Does your son get along with her?

PRESLEY: Yes, he does.

KING: They are. They're half --

PRESLEY: Yes. He adores her and she adores him.

KING: We'll be back with more of Priscilla Presley. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELVIS: (SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Priscilla Presley. Want to touch a lot of bases. Want to talk about the Dream Foundation, talk about her career, and remaking this movie, which I'm going to get to in a while. But there are a couple of other things. Do you feel like a grandmother?

PRESLEY: No, I don't. Not in any sense...

KING: You've got to be, what...

PRESLEY: Don't even go there.

KING: You have a 35-year-old daughter. I mean, you can figure your age out.

PRESLEY: Don't say it!

KING: I think you should be complimented.

PRESLEY: Oh, my gosh.

KING: For example, if you're like, let's say, you're 57. You should say, I'm 57, and people would faint. You look 40. You look 38.

PRESLEY: Thanks, thank you. I may come back more. KING: Do you feel like a grandmother?

PRESLEY: I don't feel like a grandmother. I don't.

KING: Are you a doting good grandmother?

PRESLEY: I think so. I don't see my grandchildren enough. But they're very busy and you always want to see more.

KING: How old are they?

PRESLEY: Danielle is 13 and beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

KING: Another problem coming.

PRESLEY: Well, yes, I think so. I'm so glad, too. My daughter's now seeing it first-hand. And my grandson is 10. Benjamin, and he's great.

KING: When Elvis would perform and you would go to the performances, in Las Vegas, what was that like to see? I mean, he's your husband, that utter adoration.

PRESLEY: What was it like?

KING: Yes, for you.

PRESLEY: I had so many mixed emotions at the time because, I mean, you know, obviously -- well, you know, I knew what it took for him to get -- to get where it, you know, for the shows, what he had to go through, you know. I'm looking at his suit. I'm looking at, you know, is he going to be happy with it? I'm also looking at the girls around, who's sitting in the front.

KING: Whose throwing themselves at him.

PRESLEY: Who's throwing themselves at him. Who's around after the show. Who's he friendly with? I'm looking at it from a wife's point of view. I'm looking at it -- I'm not looking at it to enjoy the show.

KING: That's what I mean. Did you enjoy the show?

PRESLEY: No, I never enjoyed the show. I was, you had to remember, he was at it with a bunch of guys at the same time so they were all looking in the audience. And there was certainly a lot of fans out there.

KING: That's another thing about Elvis. He was a guy's guy.

PRESLEY: He was a guy's guy.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) women and everything. But he liked hanging around with the guys.

PRESLEY: Yes, he did. And that was difficult for a woman, especially a wife. You know, they were still trying to live a single life. And Elvis was trying to, you know, have a family life. He wanted the best of both worlds.

KING: Can't have that.

PRESLEY: Not when you're married.

KING: True that he didn't sleep until very late?

PRESLEY: Had a very hard time sleeping.

KING: What brooded him? What -- what got him to drugs and depression and -- of course, he had all that, right? He had to fall into that.

PRESLEY: He actually...

KING: You wonder when you see someone that successful.

PRESLEY: Yes, that was an addiction that started in the Army.

KING: In the Army?

PRESLEY: In the Army, yes.

KING: In Germany.

PRESLEY: In Germany.

KING: So you knew of it then?

PRESLEY: I did. I did, but it wasn't -- it wasn't anything, anything like later in life. I mean, he convinced himself he had to have Dexedrine to stay awake. So...

KING: You mean did he take something to go to sleep?

PRESLEY: And he took something to go to sleep. That was part of his life.

KING: Was he a drinker?

PRESLEY: No.

KING: Wasn't into alcohol?

PRESLEY: No.

KING: What bothered him? What did he -- what troubled him?

PRESLEY: What troubled him? You know, I think Elvis lost sight of his purpose in life, believe it or not, believe it or not. He never really understood why all the adoration. He never really understood where, I think, he wanted to go. I know he wanted to be a great actor, but he honestly couldn't understand where it was all going. And he had to keep motivated and it was, you know, keeping him motivated, keeping him focused was very difficult.

KING: How about the weight?

PRESLEY: That was a problem. That was a problem, obviously.

KING: He liked to eat?

PRESLEY: He loved to eat. He just, you know, he had a -- that was probably one of our problems is that I don't have an addictive personality and living with someone who has an addictive personality was very, very difficult and very hard to watch. So it was a big issue.

KING: You had to confront it and, eventually, it didn't work for you.

PRESLEY: No, especially when you have children.

KING: How did it affect Lisa having a father -- I mean, the father and mother were so different. You were two different people.

PRESLEY: Right. Who, Lisa and I? Lisa and I are different people and Elvis and I were different, very different, yes.

KING: The effect of him on her.

PRESLEY: The effect of him on her with drugs, you mean?

KING: Yes.

PRESLEY: I think she was aware of it. I think she was -- even at 9 years old, I think she knew something wasn't right with him. I think she could perceive that.

KING: What did you do with your own life? Now, you're divorced. You got a daughter. The daughter goes back and forth. You still love your ex-husband, but that's over. How did it all start for you, acting and everything? What did you decide to do?

PRESLEY: I actually was partners in a dress shop, a boutique in Beverly Hills. I design my own clothes.

KING: Still do?

PRESLEY: I still do in some ways but not...

KING: So you opened a dress shop?

PRESLEY: I opened a dress shop, yes. The girl who I was partners with, we would design my clothes for all the openings and closings of the shows in Vegas so I went into partnership with her.

KING: What was it called?

PRESLEY: Biss and Bow (ph).

KING: Did it do well?

PRESLEY: It did very well. It did well for its time. It's nothing like having a PR person like you do today. We did it all ourselves. It was a great time.

KING: Were you there every day?

PRESLEY: I was there every day until then we had people coming in just to see me in the shop and that was difficult.

KING: Priscilla Presley is the guest, more after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESLEY: Hello, Mr. Drebin.

LESLIE NIELSEN, ACTOR: Hello.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Priscilla Presley. How did the acting start?

PRESLEY: The acting started, I was signed by William Morris and I started my first job was with Tony Orlando as a guest shot. I was his -- played his girlfriend in one of the -- one of...

KING: "Love Boat"?

PRESLEY: No, he did a special. I was scared to death. He asked me if I could sing. I said, no, I think he actually tried to sing with me. He knew I couldn't sing, so he changed the whole thing. Then I started taking acting classes. And then one thing led to another.

KING: What was your first movie?

PRESLEY: With Michael Landon. It was called "Love Was Forever."

KING: Did Elvis get to see any of this?

PRESLEY: No, he did not. It was after his death.

KING: What was your first date like after Elvis? I'm trying to picture this poor guy.

PRESLEY: Well, what was my first date like? I don't know. I think it was very -- he was very intimidated. Very intimidated. Again, big shoes to fill. It was a very -- it was a very -- I think at first, you really like someone, but you don't really realize the bigness of it until you get into it. And it is very big and I think most men are very intimidated by it.

KING: Your name is intimidating. You are -- you're beautiful, but your name is intimidating.

PRESLEY: I think, and I think the situation, the people involved.

KING: That's why I ask.

PRESLEY: Yes, it's very intimidating.

KING: How did the "Naked Gun" thing come about?

PRESLEY: I was actually working on "Dallas" at the time and...

KING: You were a regular on "Dallas."

PRESLEY: I was a regular on "Dallas" for five years. And I went on audition for it and got the part right away. And I thought, my gosh, a comedy. I kind of jumped into this.

And after I -- the first day I got on the set, I went, oh, my God, I went to the director and I said, I don't know if I can do comedy. I don't know why I'm even here. He said, we don't want you to play comedy. We want you to be yourself and play it straight. It will work, trust me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESLEY: Oh you...

NIELSEN: Well, I see a certain kitten still knows how to scratch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESLEY: So I think it was the best advice I ever got.

KING: Did you realize it would be the hit it was?

PRESLEY: I never. I never realized.

KING: I still watch it and crack up.

PRESLEY: Yes, I know. And it's great because it's great for even younger generation. I mean, my grandchildren will love it and laugh and think it's great and it's hard to believe, you know, they think it's -- it's me, you know.

KING: What was it like to work with O.J.?

PRESLEY: It was interesting working with O.J. O.J. was very different.

KING: In what way?

PRESLEY: Mood, mood swings.

KING: He did have them.

PRESLEY: Oh, yes.

KING: A lot of people, if you knew him -- I've interviewed him and spent some time with him, he was always upbeat.

PRESLEY: Always up. But then again, you have your social personality, you have your chronic personality and your social personality and we all have it.

KING: He would show it on sets?

PRESLEY: A little bit. But more, I think more, because I knew the crowd of people that he worked with and I knew about Nicole. I new the arguments. So it was -- it was a shock, though.

KING: Where were you the night of the car chase?

PRESLEY: I was in Lake Arrowhead at the time.

KING: Watching?

PRESLEY: Watching.

KING: What were you thinking? You know this guy. You worked with this guy.

PRESLEY: It was absolutely hard to believe. It was -- it was like -- no, he's -- I mean, he's probably nervous. He's probably upset. He's probably -- you think of every justification to not believe that this is actually happening.

KING: Did you like acting?

PRESLEY: I do like acting, if it's the right part, I like it.

KING: Are you very selective?

PRESLEY: I'm very selective.

KING: Do you see a lot of scripts?

PRESLEY: I see some scripts, yes. Because I'm selective, I probably put myself out of the markets, but, you know, it just happens to be that way.

KING: Do you do any lecture tours? Do you go around and speak?

PRESLEY: I am. I'm just starting lecture tours.

KING: You are.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: That's great. You're going to talk about Elvis and life?

PRESLEY: I'll talk about life, yes, yes, I will. My first date, I believe, is in New York this month.

KING: That should do very well for you.

PRESLEY: I think so. I'm going to give it a try. I know I'm in great company. Many people do it. Mary Hart, Quincy Jones, Kelly Ripa, Patty Duke. So I think I have a lot to say. I think it will be good for me, good therapy.

KING: You still need therapy?

PRESLEY: No, I never had therapy.

KING: Not you. It will be...

PRESLEY: I think of it as good therapy to just, you know, there's a lot of shyness about me. I think that I'll, you know, probably help me a little bit.

KING: You never -- it must be tough to always be a Presley. I'm trying to imagine. That must be hard.

PRESLEY: It is hard. It is -- it's a big name to carry.

KING: You meet people for the first time, first thing they think of is your late -- and late and ex and dead husband.

PRESLEY: Right, as it's hard to get through that. It's true.

KING: But there's nothing you can do about it.

PRESLEY: Obviously not. I mean, I think once -- once someone gets to know me or even my daughter, you know, I think then they see the person there, that it's not just about the name. And, you know, it takes a while, but I think we go into that knowing that now.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments. Priscilla is a member of the board of MGM, there's no fooling around with her. She is going to produce and bring back a famous movie, "The Party," and we're going to talk about the Dream Foundation right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIELSEN: Ah!

PRESLEY: Frank, Frank, are you all right?

NIELSEN: I'm soaking wet.

PRESLEY: I'll get the talcum powder. NIELSEN: No, it's not that. I had a nightmare, there was crime all around me, I couldn't stop it.

PRESLEY: Frank, it was just a dream.

NIELSEN: You're right. All I need is a good night's rest, in the morning, everything will be just fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Priscilla Presley.

First, let's touch some other things. There's a recent front page story in "Daily Variety" that MGM and Dreamworks are joining forces to remake "The Party."

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: True?

PRESLEY: Very true.

KING: You're going to co-produce it?

PRESLEY: I am, with Darren Starr.

KING: This was a Blake Edwards movie.

PRESLEY: Yes.

Did you ever see that movie? Wasn't it fun?

KING: Fun!

PRESLEY: I love the concept. I think, you know, party in Hollywood. And that was really intriguing. I saw the movie about five times. Obviously, it's a little outdated but we'll fix that.

KING: Sure. Who's going to direct it?

PRESLEY: Jay Roach.

KING: He's terrific.

PRESLEY: He's great.

KING: Did a lot of television, too.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: Are you going to bring new stars -- I mean, anyone on board yet? PRESLEY: No, not yet. We've just actually signed Jim Harstfield to write. He did "Meet the Parents, "Schreck," So we've got a great team.

KING: Not bad. Then there's another story about the possibility of a play about your life. What is that...

PRESLEY: This is actually -- it's a Broadway play, a musical, actually. A little bit...

KING: About you and Elvis?

PRESLEY: Yes -- well, no, it's really my story. It's my story. We all pretty much no Elvis' story, but it will be from my perspective, which has never really been told.

KING: A play.

PRESLEY: A play.

KING: But someone will have to play Elvis in it, right?

PRESLEY: Oh, yes. Sure. So...

KING: Someone's going to play you.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: Is that going to be a hoot, picking someone to play you?

PRESLEY: I think there's enough talent out there, though. There's a lot of people.

KING: But that's going to happen?

PRESLEY: Yes. Yes. We're just right in the middle of signing the writers.

KING: What's the Dream Foundation?

PRESLEY: The Dream Foundation is equivalent to the Make-A-Wish foundation for children, only this is for terminally ill adults.

KING: And what do you do?

PRESLEY: Grant wishes. Grant wishes for...

KING: How did you start something like that?

PRESLEY: Well, I'd heard about this foundation, actually, about four years ago.

KING: It was in existence before you?

PRESLEY: Yes. And we granted a wish to go to Graceland. And I was intrigued by it because I received a letter about what a great time they had.

And since then, this person has passed, but I became intrigued and I called the founder, Tom Rollerson, and I asked him about it. And we met and we've been together ever since. I'm the ambassador to the foundation.

KING: So these are people who are told, probably of cancer, that they're going to die.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: If they're in a hospice, they wouldn't be ambulatory, I guess.

PRESLEY: No, but -- no, I mean, we have too -- I mean, we grant wishes -- I mean, it would be -- it could be basically it's children. Children asking and writing letters if we could grant their wish, you know, to see their parents smile or be happy, you know, with them as a family again.

You know, we grant them -- I mean, simplistic ones such as even going to the ocean to walk on the ocean, they've never been in the ocean before -- I mean, or to Disneyland or to Graceland or, you know, to...

KING: And if want more information on that it's www.dreamfoundation.org. www.dreamfoundation.org. They help terminally ill people, give them a wish.

PRESLEY: Yes. Their last wish.

KING: Do you get to go see these people?

PRESLEY: I can, yes, I do. In fact, I'm having lunch with a gentleman tomorrow and...

KING: That's dying.

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: Was his wish to have lunch with you?

PRESLEY: Yes. So it's a great foundation. It's wonderful. It's -- it gives me a lot of gratification.

KING: Do you get to Graceland much?

PRESLEY: I do. I go to Graceland about three times a year.

KING: For?

PRESLEY: Different things. Events. Business.

KING: Can you rent out Graceland?

PRESLEY: Rent out Graceland? To what? To do what? KING: Like events? Can you -- someone...

PRESLEY: Yes, there are some -- there's -- we have facilities for that. Not Graceland as a whole to go in and, you know, just go in the house...

KING: Is it tough for you to go there?

PRESLEY: It is. It is tough. When we go in the house, and there's a lot of memories there. A lot. A lot of things happened in that house.

KING: Boy, I'll bet. People still come there a lot?

PRESLEY: Oh, my gosh.

KING: Outside tourists.

PRESLEY: Absolutely.

KING: The grave site is widely visited.

PRESLEY: About 450,000 a year. That's a lot of people.

KING: And your boyfriend, your significant other.

PRESLEY: Marco.

KING: Marco. What's his name? Marco...

PRESLEY: Marco Garibaldi.

KING: Keep acting like...

PRESLEY: And I hate "significant other." I mean, it's...

KING: What is he then?

PRESLEY: Well, you know, what is he then? He's just -- he's the father -- pardon me?

KING: He's your guy. He's the father of your son.

PRESLEY: That's right.

KING: How does he handle all this?

PRESLEY: Very well. Very well. He doesn't -- you know, he lets me do what I need to do. You know, basically, in anything. But he's very supportive, 100 percent. And I think in a relationship, one needs that, you know.

KING: How about Elvis' music? You hear it everywhere, right?

PRESLEY: I do. I'll go into a store and it happens every time, I'll go into a store, a song will come on. And it's interesting because I -- people will then recognize me and then, it's funny how people react.

They'll either turn away or they'll go to someone else or they'll point or they'll ask if they -- if I want them to turn the music off or, you know, or am I OK? I mean, it's interesting.

KING: You say he had a great sense of humor.

PRESLEY: Great sense of humor.

KING: Would he have been a good guest on this show?

PRESLEY: Oh, I think so. Absolutely. You wouldn't get anything serious out of him.

KING: Nothing serious, but he would have been funny.

PRESLEY: Oh, yes.

KING: But he also was interested in causes. "In the Ghetto."

PRESLEY: Yes.

KING: From that album, he gave money to the NAACP.

PRESLEY: That was a big step for him in those days to take that song.

KING: Colonel Parker didn't want him to do that song.

PRESLEY: That's right. That's right. You know, and he never really took a stand on anything and that was a big step for him.

KING: Again, www.dreamfoundation.org for any information about -- that's a great charity. Priscilla Presley is the guest. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with the lovely Priscilla Presley, very talented Priscilla Presley.

Good luck with the lecture tour. What are they calling it?

PRESLEY: Thank you.

KING: "Meet Priscilla."

PRESLEY: I guess. "Meet Priscilla." I'll know when I get there.

KING: Thank you so much.

PRESLEY: Thank you.

KING: Great seeing you.

PRESLEY: Thank you. KING: Priscilla Presley.

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