On the Town with Shinan: Priscilla Presley on being 'in a world of rock 'n' roll at such a young age'

By Shinan Govani

Visibly emotional, flame-haired Priscilla Presley took the stage in a small Canadian town the other day. The words would come.

“If Elvis were alive today, trust me, he would never, ever believe – never – that after three decades, you are still with him today.” She went on: “He thought reaching the age of 40 or 45 was kind of it.”

She was contemplating his mortality but perhaps her own, too, as she stood there basking in the beautiful absurdness that is the Elvis Festival in Collingwood, Ont. Notably, it was the first such tribute-fest that Priscilla had ever attended – anywhere. A defender of Elvis’s legacy since he died in 1977 – even though she was already then divorced from “the King”– Priscilla looked slim and younger than her years. Her nails, in particular, looked sensational – the long, pointy talons one of the only reminders of the living doll she was in the culture when she first entered Elvis’s life.

“I was only 14 years old when I met Elvis Presley,” she mentioned now, looking back. “I was thrown into a world of rock ‘n’ roll at such a young age.”

More: See which dead celebrities, including Elvis, earn the most money

This being 2014, and Priscilla being nothing but with-it, the sometime-actress stopped to take a selfie with the whole crowd behind her. Needless to say, many of those present were all shook up.

Why now – this visit? Though it was under the auspices of being in honour of the annual summer event’s 20th anniversary – Collingwood boasts the largest such annual Elvis gathering in the world – it strikes me that the woman born Priscilla Ann Wagner is on a crossing-things-of-her-list mode of late. Earlier this year, for instance, she also journeyed to Tupelo, Miss. – Elvis’ birthplace – for the first time in about four decades. Maybe it’s because she’s turning 70 next year. Maybe it’s because both her daughter and her grandchildren are all grown and doing their own stuff.

One thing’s for certain after all those decades: in retrospect, it was Priscilla who saved Elvis, after his death. With his estate famously in disarray at the time, she is credited with being the person to turn Graceland into what it is now, and opening to the public. In 1982, she became chair of Elvis Presley Enterprises, which soon enough became a $100 million-a-year business.

Elvis was absolutely the love of my life,” she said in an interview just two years ago. “And there’s no sadness about it because I have my memories, and they’re delicious.”

Meanwhile:

So, then, it must be chocolate that’s the secret to all those Grand Slams! Roger Federer wasn’t denying it when he took some time between serves at the Rogers Cup to attend a little event that Lindt Canada had put together.

With French Lindor truffles on offer, and Roger arriving in a T-shirt that simply read “Betterer,” the lucky guests got their Swiss on, indeed. The tennis great also mingled with fellow athletes Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, leaving the Canadian ice dancing champs looking visibly starstuck.

Roger, who’s done commercials for Lindt in the past – one in which he tries to go through airport security with a gym bag full of chocolate – had another reason for making it to this event: Lindt Canada officially presented the star with a $10,000 cheque for the Roger Federer Foundation, benefiting children in need.

Scene! Heard!

  • * Game of Thrones menace Peter Dinklage was getting his coffee to go here at Bar Mercurio on Toronto’s Bloor Street the other morning.
  • * Jeff Goldblum and Martin Short crossed paths inside the Air Canada Lounge at Pearson airport.
  • * LeBron James paid a daytime patio visit to the Hazelton Hotel last weekend.
  • * Pretty Little Liars meets One Direction: Ashley Benson was spotted checking out the boy band during their recent concert at the Rogers Centre.
  • * Maple Leaf Phil Kessel dropped in on the hottest new spot in Toronto the other day: Colette Grand Cafe in the Thompson Hotel.
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