Summary

Birth:
Pontotoc County, Mississippi 1
Death:
14 Aug 1958 1
Memphis, TN 1
More…

Related Pages

+

Pictures & Records (2)

Add Show More

Personal Details

Edit
Full Name:
Gladys Love Smith Presley 1
Also known as:
Mother of Elvis Presley 1
Full Name:
Gladys Presley 1
Birth:
Pontotoc County, Mississippi 1
Female 1
Birth:
25 Apr 1912 1
Death:
14 Aug 1958 1
Memphis, TN 1
Cause: heart attack brought on by acute hepatitis 1
Burial:
Graceland Mansion Estates, Memphis TN 1
Edit
Birth:
Mother: Octavia Luvenia "Doll" Mansell 1
Father: Bob Smith 1
Marriage:
Vernon Presley 1
17 Jun 1933 1
County of Pontotoc, MS 1

Looking for more information about Gladys Presley?

Search through millions of records to find out more.

Stories

Gladys Presley

Mother of Elvis Presley. She was born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. Her parents were Robert Lee Smith and Octavia Luvenia "Doll" Mansell. Gladys' mother Doll, gave birth to nine children. Octavia was bedridden most of her life, dying at 59 from tuberculosis. Her father Robert, was a cotton farmer and would occasionally pick up odd jobs to support his large family. In his fifties, he died suddenly of pneumonia, leaving Gladys then 19 to work in Tupelo as a seamstress to help support the family. She married Vernon Elvis Presley on June 17, 1933. The family rented a house on the edge of Shakerag, an area of Tupelo. She gave birth to twin boys and named them Elvis and Jessie. Jessie was stillborn. In 1948, the Presley's moved to Memphis, Tennessee. They lived in public housing or low rent homes in the poor neighborhoods of north Memphis. The family attended the Assembly of God Church. Elvis worked at various jobs to help support himself and his parents. They were a very close knit family. She had a very special relationship with her son, Elvis. Gladys Presley died of a heart attack brought on by acute hepatitis. 

In a newspaper interview with The Memphis Press Scimitar, Elvis himself was open about the close relationship to his mother. "She was the number-one girl in his life, and he was dedicating his career to her."[1] Throughout her life, "the son would call her by pet names", and they communicated by baby talk.[2] Presley even shared his mother's bed "up until Elvis was a young teen",[3]simply because the family was so extremely poor that they couldn't afford the luxury of two beds. According to Elaine Dundy, "it was agony for her to leave her child even for a moment with anyone else, to let anyone else touch Elvis."[4] Presley himself said, "My mama never let me out of her sight. I couldn't go down to the creek with the other kids." His father talked about Elvis's close relationship to his mother "after his son became famous, almost as if it were a source of wonder that anyone could be that close."[5]

During Presley's rising career, Gladys became despairing, depressed and lonely and began to neglect her health. She put on weight and began to drink everyday. She'd wanted Elvis to succeed, "but not so that he would be apart from her. The hysteria of the crowd frightened her."[6] Doctors diagnosed liver problems, and Gladys's condition eventually worsened so much that she was admitted to hospital in August 1958. At that time, Elvis was in Fort Hood, Texas, to fulfill his military obligations, but he got emergency leave to see her, and a special plane was chartered to bring him home on August 12. Gladys died on August 14.[7] Elvis and Vernon were deeply upset by her death, with Elvis "sobbing and crying hysterically",[8] and eye-witnesses relate that he was "grieving almost constantly" for days.[9] During and shortly after the funeral, Judy Spreckels and Nick Adams, Presley's best friends at that time, attempted to comfort the singer

About this Memorial Page

×