Gladys Presley's biography: Discover the legacy of Elvis Presley's mom

Gladys Presley's biography: Discover the legacy of Elvis Presley's mom

Gladys Presley was a celebrity parent from the United States. She gained fame as the mother of rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. Her son released hit tracks such as Can't Help Falling in Love, If I Can Dream, Stuck on You, and Always on My Mind.

Elvis Presley with his parents Gladys and Vernon at their home (L) and Elvis Presley with his mom going to town for a sneak preview of the entertainer's latest movie, King Creole (R)
Elvis Presley, with his parents relaxing (L)and on his first leave from the Army, escorts his mom from their mansion to town for a movie (R). Photo: RB, Bettmann (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Gladys Presley came into the limelight following her only son's popularity in the entertainment industry. The two were known to have a strong bond. She died in 1958, while her son died 19 years after her death.

Profile summary

Full nameGladys Love Smith Presley
Date of birth25 April 1912
Age46 years old (at the time of her death)
Zodiac signTaurus
Place of birthTupelo, Pontotoc, Mississippi, United States
Hair colourDark brown
Eye colourBrown
FatherRobert Lee Smith
MotherOctavia "Doll" Mansell
Marital status (at death)Married
HusbandVernon Presley

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Gladys Presley's biography

The celebrity parent was born on 25 April 1912 in Tupelo, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, United States. She was the daughter of Robert Lee Smith and Octavia "Doll" Mansell. Her father was a cotton farmer.

Gladys' mother died of tuberculosis in 1935 at the age of 59, while her dad died of pneumonia when Gladys was 19. She grew up alongside her eight siblings: Effie Smith, Lillian Mann Fortenberry, Lavell Smith, Retha Smith, Travis Smith, Tracy D Smith, Johney L. Smith, and Clettes L.

Gladys died on 14 August 1958 at the age of 46. She passed away at Methodist Hospital, Memphis, Shelby, TN, United States. She died of a heart attack. Gladys Presley's funeral was originally at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, but later, her remains were moved to Meditation Garden, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

What did Gladys Presley do for a living?

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When she was 19, she began working as a seamless in Tupelo to support her family after her father's death. She also worked as a sewing machinist and machine operator at a Tupelo garment factory. In November 1948, she and her husband moved to Memphis, where she worked at Britlings Cafeteria and as a nurse's aide at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Who was Gladys Presley's husband?

Facts about Gladys Presley
Top-5 facts about Gladys Presley. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives (modified by author)
Source: Original

Elvis Presley's mom was married to Vernon Elvis Presley. The two met in East Tupelo at a church. Vernon was 17, while Gladys was 21. Since they couldn't get married legally because Vernon was underage, they lied about their ages. Vernon gave his age as 22, while Gladys stated 19.

The two eloped and tied the knot on 17 June 1933 in the County of Pontotoc, USA. Gladys became pregnant in 1934. Elvis Presley's parents were poor. Her husband Vernon disclosed this during an exclusive interview with Good Housekeeping in 1978. He stated:

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My love for my son began even before he was born on January 8, 1935. At that time, there was almost nobody poorer than my wife Gladys and me. But we were thrilled and excited when we learned that we were going to be parents.

On 8 January 1935, they welcomed their twins, Jesse Garon and Elvis Aaron Presley. However, one of the twins, Jesse, didn't survive; he was born stillborn.

After five years of marriage, her husband, Lether Gable and her brother, Travis Smith, were sentenced to three years in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman on 25 May 1938 for forging the check.

After her death, her husband Vernon married Dee Presley but divorced her in 1977. Vernon passed away on 26 June 1979 at Baptist Hospital due to heart failure. He died at the age of 63.

How close were Gladys Presley and Elvis Presley?

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Gladys had a close relationship with her son, Elvis, the "King of Rock and Roll". She was so protective of him that she wouldn't like him to be out of sight. In an interview, the American singer said:

My mama never let me out of her sight.

She shared a bed with her son until he turned 13, and she didn't allow him to spend a night away from home until he was 17. Her son used to call her "My baby." The celebrity mom caused her son to develop a passion for singing, so on his 11th birthday, she gave him a guitar as a birthday gift.

Elvis released her debut song, My Happiness, in 1954, dedicated to his mother. The following year, he released another one for her, That's Alright Mama, which became a hit. Elvis began moving away from his mother as his music career peaked, which left her worried.

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Singer Elvis Presley and his parents on the eve of his induction into the Army
Singer Elvis Presley kisses his mother, Gladys, on the eve of his induction into the Army. At left is his father, Vernon. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

She died when her son was 23 years old, which left him devastated. Her son had already been selected to join the US Army and placed in Germany when his mother fell ill in early 1958. Following her death, Elvis told reporters:

It broke my heart. She was always my best girl.

Elvis had a wife, Priscilla Presley, an American actress. They married in May 1967 and divorced in October 1973. The duo had a daughter named Lisa Marie Presley, Gladys' granddaughter, born on 1 February 1968.

On 16 August 1977, Elvis died due to a heart attack at his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of 42. His daughter, Lisa Marie, also passed away in January 2023 due to cardiac arrest.

What did Elvis do for his mother?

In 1957, he bought his mother a 10,000-foot colonial-style mansion called Graceland on 13.5 acres in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. His parents and other relatives live in the house, which cost him $102,500. He had previously purchased a house on Audubon Avenue in East Memphis for them, but he decided to buy them a bigger one.

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  1. Who was Gladys Presley? She was a celebrity parent widely known as Elvis Presley's mother.
  2. Where was Gladys Presley born? She hails from Tupelo, Pontotoc, Mississippi, United States.
  3. Who were Gladys Presley's siblings? She had eight siblings: Effie Smith, Lillian Mann Fortenberry, Lavell Smith, Retha Smith, Travis Smith, Tracy D Smith, Johney L. Smith, and Clettes L.
  4. What was Gladys Presley's age at the time of her death? She was 46 years old when she passed away on 14 August 1958.
  5. What was Gladys Presley's cause of death? She died of a heart attack.
  6. When was Gladys Presley's funeral? She was buried on 15 August 1958.
  7. How old was Elvis when his mother died? The American musician was 23 years old.
  8. What did Elvis call his mom? Throughout his life, he called her "My baby".
  9. Who was Gladys Presley's husband? She was married to Vernon Presley from 1933 until her death.

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Gladys Presley was an American celebrity parent. She gained public attention for being Elvis Presley's mother. She died on 14 August 1958 and has been laid to rest beside her husband and two sons, Elvis and Jesse Presley. recently published Katie Van Slyke's biography. Katie is a horse breeder, cattle farmer, TikTok star, and content creator. She is widely recognised for sharing videos of horse riding and hunting on her social media platforms.

Katie Van Slyke was born in Nolensville, Tennessee, United States. She is a Running Springs, Quarter Horse & Cattle Company farm breeding manager. Katie is currently married. Who is Katie Van Slyke's husband? Read her bio to know more about her.


Isaac Wangethi avatar

Isaac Wangethi (Lifestyle writer) Isaac Wangethi has been a content writer at Legit since September 2021. He has gained valuable experience working on various projects, such as celebrity biographies, lifestyle, news and many more. Isaac won the Writer of the Year Award on Legit in 2023. He earned a Bsc. of Science in Information Technology in 2017 from the University of Nairobi and a Higher Diploma in Computer Software Engineering from Gretsa University in 2021. In 2023, Isaac finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. In March 2024, he completed the Google News Initiative course. Email: