BBC reporter who was the first to see Elvis dead in his coffin admits truths

‘Mr Cole,’ he said, very firmly, ‘I am the Deputy Sheriff of Memphis. I am commanded by the Presley family to invite you to visit with the deceased.’

I then spotted my business card in his hand. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ‘visit with the deceased’, but, in the interests of journalistic enquiry, I accepted.

The Deputy Sheriff took me by the elbow and began walking me up the serpentine path that climbs a small hill to Graceland, with its white columns and classical pediment.

He ushered me through the doors to a scene I shall never forget.

In the hall, a coffin had been placed on trestles. Behind the coffin, in a sombre arc, stood members of the Presley family, including Elvis’s ex-wife Priscilla, daughter Lisa Marie, and his father Vernon.

One by one, I shook hands with them, extending my arm across the coffin where the greatest singer of the 20th century lay dead at the age of 42.

I heard myself expressing condolences on behalf of myself, the BBC, the people of Britain and Elvis fans throughout the world. They smiled and said gracious things.

It turned out I was the first person invited into Graceland — the home Elvis Presley only ever left to perform a concert or make a record — since his death.

How did Elvis look? Not too good. Being English, I didn’t like to stare. But it was such an extraordinary sight, I had to take in every detail.

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7 thoughts on “BBC reporter who was the first to see Elvis dead in his coffin admits truths

  1. Was raised listening to all kinds of music..but my mother had a 78 Heartbreak Hotel too!…….remember loads growing up in the 60s!…… interesting article!

  2. I knew that he did not die he signed his own death certificate and one of his life insurance is still not being claimed because if they did Elvis would go to jail because of fraud

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