Elvis Presley and his mother Gladys were very close, without her encouragement, he may not have become the legend he was. Who was Gladys, exactly, and when did she die? The following is a detailed biography of Elvis’s mother:
When Was Gladys Presley Born? When Did She Give Birth to Elvis?
On April 25th, 1912 Gladys Love Smith entered this world. In contrast to the wealth her son would bring her in the future, her upbringing was very poor. She was the daughter of a cotton farmer, and in the 1930s she met Vernon Presley in church.
They had an age difference of four, with Vernon being 17 and therefore underage at the time. In order to be married in 1933, they both lied about their ages. Soon after, Gladys became pregnant and gave birth on January 8, 1935.
But something terrible happened during the delivery. The first of Gladys’ twin boys, Jesse Garon Presley, was born still. Elvis Aaron Presley, the second child, was the only one to make it. As Gladys saw it, “when one twin died, the one that lived got all the strength of both.”
Gladys and Elvis Were Very Close
Gladys always kept Elvis near, possibly as a result of the trauma of losing his twin brother. She reportedly even hauled him in a sack alongside her as she worked in the cotton fields when he was a baby. Despite living in poverty, Elvis and his mother maintained a close relationship throughout his adolescence, using baby language and nicknames for each other and even sleeping in the same bed.
When Vernon was sent to prison in 1938 for falsifying a check, Gladys and her son grew closer. Elvis’s popularity was the beginning of the end for Gladys. Gladys was overjoyed by her son’s success, but she struggled to adjust to the attention.
At Graceland, Elvis’s house in Memphis, neighbors were said to have laughed at Gladys for doing her laundry outside, and Elvis’s staff asked her to stop feeding her chickens on the lawn. “I wish we was poor again, I really do,” she apparently told a friend. Gladys’s depression worsened, and as a result, she began abusing alcohol and diet pills. Hepatitis had struck Gladys in 1958.
When Did Gladys Die?
Elvis Presley’s mother fell ill in August of 1958. At the time, Elvis was stationed in Germany as part of his military service for the United States. He hurried home to see her and got there in time. Gladys Presley passed away on August 14, 1958 at the tender age of 46.
Alcohol poisoning contributed to liver failure, which led to a heart attack, which ultimately proved fatal. “It broke my heart,” Elvis Presley afterward said. “She was always my best girl.”
While at the funeral, Elvis was inconsolable, and after burying his mother, he collapsed and was unable to get up. According to those who know him well, he underwent a transformation after Gladys’s death and never fully recovered.
Almost precisely 19 years later, on August 16, 1977 Elvis Presley died. At his Graceland estate, he shares a cemetery with his parents.
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