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Being an incredibly successful music and movie star, Elvis Presley was (unsurprisingly) incredibly wealthy.
In 1957 he purchased the Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee for $102,500 (nearly $1 million today) and hired family and friends to be his security guards.
Known for his incredible generosity, The King would buy his Memphis Mafia cars and homes and sometimes even extended such kindness to people he’d just met.
Speaking at Elvis Week 2023, his girlfriend of almost 5 years, Linda Thompson, told fans: “Elvis honestly didn’t care about money. He didn’t care about hoarding money, he had such a generous spirit.
“And he would often say, ‘I derive so much more pleasure from giving than receiving.’”
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Linda continued: “He was a very difficult person to buy for as you can imagine because he had everything and if he didn’t have it, he could go out and buy it.”
Memphis Mafia members Red West and Dick Grob would tell people about to meet Elvis: “Whatever you do, don’t tell him you like his watch, because he’ll just give it to you.”
The King’s old flame continued: “Honestly that’s the truth. We called him Santa Claus because he had such a tremendous spirit of giving. He was an incredible person.”
On how it was hard to buy a gift for the star, she said: “The best gift that I was ever able to give Elvis was the Maltese cross that he wore all the time in his shows.
“It was our second Christmas together and not knowing that Elvis never did anything for himself… y’know he would never indulge himself as much as he would indulge other people…I went to Lowell Hays [Elvis’ jeweller].”
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Linda requested the cross she designed with diamonds and both of their birthstones turned sideways in a heart, joined by a single diamond with an eternity ring around those two hearts.
She then went home to Graceland and said to Elvis: “Honey, I want to buy you a nice Christmas present this year, but of course, that means you’ll pay for it. But I want to do it for you.”
The King replied: “Okay sweetheart, how much are we talking about?” She said, “$25,000”, to which Elvis responded: “$25,000?!”
Having actually said this to soften the blow, Linda then said: “Now doesn’t $8,000 sound better?” Elvis agreed and ended up “adoring” the Maltese cross necklace, wearing it to every show thereafter.
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