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Riley Keough is trying to save mom Lisa Marie Presley’s legacy — and clean up her family’s tragedies




Riley Keough is trying to save mom Lisa Marie Presley’s legacy — while dealing with her legendary family’s legal woes.

A year after Lisa Marie’s shock death, it’s as if her daughter is, sources said, living with ghosts.

The 35-year-old “Daisy Jones & The Six” star has been going through her troubled mother’s old tapes and notebooks on a quest to finish Lisa Marie’s autobiography.

The as-yet-untitled book will be released on October 15. Page Six has learned the memoir is set be feted with a celebration at Graceland, the Presley family’s estate in Memphis where Lisa Marie was laid to rest alongside her father, Elvis, and her son, Benjamin Keough.

Riley Keough
Following Lisa Marie Presley’s 2023 death, Riley Keough has been listening to her mom’s tape recordings to finish her memoir — and determining “how people perceive Lisa’s legacy forever.” Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Riley Keough, Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley wear black at movie screening.
Riley Keough (left) — seen with her mom, Lisa Marie Presley (center) and grandmother Priscilla Presley (right) at a Memphis screening of the movie “Elvis” in June 2022 — is working on her late mother’s autobiography. Eric Charbonneau/Shutterstock

“There are hundreds of hours of Lisa’s thoughts and dreams,” a source familiar with the book revealed. “And Riley has to frame the book in a way that is both accurate and compassionate.

“Riley is a super busy actress, producer and mom, and she’s not only had to listen to her mom’s thoughts, but has to decide how to package that into this book … It’s a Herculean effort. She’s going to have a lot of input on how people perceive Lisa’s legacy forever. That’s how difficult this is.”

Riley Keough takes a selfie with Lisa Marie Presley, Harper and Finley Lockwood.
Keough (second from left) is listening to hours of her late mom’s thoughts on tape, sources reveal. She’s seen here with Lisa Marie (second from right) and twin sisters Harper and Finley Lockwood. lisampresley/Instagram

Keough is also is in the midst of untangling complex family legal issues.

Last month, she was also forced to call her legal team into action when Graceland was at the center of an apparent foreclosure scam.

The property was set to go up for auction under the pretext that Lisa Marie had failed to pay back a $3.8 million loan — secured before her passing and using Graceland as collateral — from Naussany Investments, according to court documents.

Riley Keough cuddles Lisa Marie Presley at an Elle magazine event in 2017.
A source said that Keough has to frame her mom’s book in a way that is “accurate and compassionate.” Faye Sadou/MediaPunch

Keough, who is now the sole heir to Graceland, sued to protect the estate, alleging fraud and arguing that Naussany didn’t exist and had no rights to the property.

The sale was ultimately blocked, and Naussany Investments dropped its foreclosure efforts.

Keough has also been attempting to maintain a dignified relationship with her grandmother, Priscilla Presley, who contested the “authenticity and validity” of Lisa Marie’s will after her daughter’s death.

Riley Keough and Priscilla Presley at 2023 Emmy Awards.
Keough maintains a relationship with Priscilla Presley even after her grandmother tried to contest Lisa Marie’s will. Getty Images

Keough eventually agreed to pay her grandmother a lump sum of $1 million, plus $400,000 in legal fees, to become the sole trustee of Lisa Marie’s estate.

The agreement also allows Priscilla, who divorced Elvis in 1973, to be buried at Graceland.

The two were seen celebrating Priscilla’s 79th birthday last month.

“Riley’s a pacifist. She’s compartmentalized — she only has one grandmother, so this is her choice,” the book source revealed.

As Keough told Vanity Fair last August, “When my mom passed, there was a lot of chaos in every aspect of our lives. Everything felt like the carPet had been ripped out and the floor had melted from under us …

The outside of Graceland mansion.
A fraudulent attempt to foreclose on Graceland was slapped down in court last month. Redferns
The graves of Lisa Marie Presley and Benjamin Keough.
Lisa Marie was buried next to her beloved son, Benjamin Keough, who took his own life in 2020, at Graceland. Her father Elvis and his parents are also buried in the garden at the estate. William Farrington

“We are a family, but there’s also a huge business side of our family,” she added, “So I think that there was clarity that needed to be had.”

Lisa Marie, the only child of rock ‘n’ roll legend Elvis Presley, was 54 years old when she died in January 2023.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner’s office listed the cause of death as bowel obstruction — said to be the result of adhesions caused by weight-loss surgery she underwent several years before her death.

Among the issues Keough will have to figure out how to cover in the memoir is her mother’s battle with drugs.

Lisa Marie previously wrote about her struggles with addiction in the foreword for Harry Nelson’s 2019 book “The United States of Opioids: A Prescription for Liberating a Nation in Pain”.

The cast of "Daisy Jones & The Six".
Keough (second from right) showed off her own singing skills in the Amazon prime hit “Daisy Jones & The Six.”

“You may read this and wonder how, after losing people close to me, I also fell prey to opioids,” wrote Lisa Marie, who saw both her father and her ex-husband Michael Jackson die of complications from drug use.

She said she was given opioids following the 2008 birth of her twin girls, Harper and Finley by her fourth husband, Michael Lockwood.

“[It’s] a difficult path to overcome this dependence, and to put my life back together,” Lisa Marie wrote. “Even in recent years, I have seen too many people I loved struggle with addiction and die tragically from this epidemic. It is time for us to say goodbye to shame about addiction. We have to stop blaming and judging ourselves and the people around us … That starts with sharing our stories.”

Elvis Presley holds Lisa Marie Presley alongside Priscilla Presley.
Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley celebrated daughter Lisa Marie’s fifth birthday before divorcing in 1973. Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

She had also been struggling following the tragic loss of her son Benjamin Keough, who took his own life in 2020, at age 27.

Keough will also have to sort through the ghosts of her mother’s past marriages — to Keough’s father, Danny; singer Michael Jackson, actor Nicolas Cage, and musician Lockwood, with whom Presley was embroiled in a fraught custody up until her death.

Through thick and thin, the Presley family has always coalesced around Graceland. Purchased by Elvis in 1957, the 13-acre property is a symbol of success and tragedy.

Elvis died there in 1977 and was buried on the grounds along with his parents and paternal grandmother.

Riley Keough and Ben Smith-Petersen at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Peacock Theater on January 15, 2024.
Keough is married to Ben Smith-Petersen, with whom she shares baby daughter Tupelo. Variety via Getty Images

In a bizarre twist, this week an identity thief purportedly came forward and claimed responsibility for the audacious scheme to put the estate up for auction, according to the  New York Times.

The alleged ringleader of the plot, who claims to be from Nigeria, told the outlet his crew preys on the dead, the unsuspecting and the elderly, especially those from Florida and California.

They use birth certificates and other documents to discover personal information to aid in their illicit schemes to steal property.

“We figure out how to steal,” the alleged thief said. “That’s what we do.”

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is now investigating.

Riley Keough cuddles up to Lily Gladstone at the premiere of "Under the Bridge".
Keough (left) is currently starring opposite Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone in the Hulu miniseries “Under the Bridge.” REUTERS

“I have asked my lawyers to look into this matter, determine the full extent of any misconduct that may have occurred and identify what we can do to protect both Elvis Presley’s heirs and anyone else who may be similarly threatened,” Skrmetti said in a statement.

“Riley is appreciative of the swift legal actions that stopped the foreclosure sale. She was initially pretty shocked and confused, but everything is all good for now,” a source close to the star told People, “She’ll do anything to protect Graceland.”

Despite this, a well-placed Graceland insider told Page Six that they are not so sure the Nigerian scammer is behind the fraud — revealing there was a similar stunt during probate proceedings for Lisa Marie’s estate in California.

Riley Keough in Chanel at the Met Gala.
Wearing a Chanel gown festooned with blooms, Keough looked stunning at the Met Gala last month. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

“Someone tried to insist that Lisa owed them a debt, but the judge threw it out and said it was nonsense,” said the insider. “Normally things like this happen from someone who’s on the edges [of Elvis’s estate] or wanting to be on the inside. I have real thoughts about who this is.

“I just feel so sad that Riley has had to go through this.”

Keough, however, is said to be flourishing in other areas of her life.

Lisa Marie Presley smiles with daughter Riley Keough.
Keough shared this photo of herself (right) and her mom after Lisa Marie’s death, writing, “I feel blessed to have a photo of the last time I saw my beautiful mama,” rileykeough/Instagram

She is currently starring alongside Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone in the Hulu miniseries “Under the Bridge,” about a Canadian teen murdered in 1997.

She’s also the face of Chanel and is scouting new directing projects following the success of her movie, “War Pony,” which went to the Cannes Film Festival last year.

She remains happily married to stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen with whom she shares baby daughter Tupelo — named for Elvis’ Mississippi hometown.

Priscilla Presley talks to the crowd at the memorial at Graceland for Lisa Marie Presley in January 2023.
Priscilla Presley spoke to the crowd at the memorial at Graceland for Lisa Marie Presley in January 2023. Getty Images for ABA

“Happy Birthday ur perfect,” Petersen wrote to celebrate his wife online.

Said the book source: “Riley has a huge career while she bears the responsibility of forming what’s going to be perceived as her mom’s legacy.”