Baz Luhrmann recalls Lisa Marie Presley's ‘kind embrace' on set of Elvis biopic

The Australian filmmaker was among the stars from the entertainment world who paid tribute to Presley on Friday.

Baz Luhrmann, director of the Elvis Presley biopic, has said he will miss US singer Lisa Marie Presley’s “warmth, smile and love” following her death at the age of 54.

In a statement, the Presley family said they were “shocked and devastated” to announce the only child of Elvis died shortly after being “rushed” to hospital on Thursday.

Presley’s death came two days after she attended the Golden Globe awards, where American actor Austin Butler won best actor for his portrayal of her father in Luhrmann’s film.

Speaking at a pre-ceremony event at the Golden Globes, Presley said she had been “overwhelmed” by the film and the effect that it had.

“I’m very proud and I know that my father would be very proud… I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” she said.

On Instagram, Luhrmann captioned a photograph of Butler and Presley laughing: “Over the last year, the entire Elvis movie family and I have felt the privilege of Lisa Marie’s kind embrace.

“Her sudden, shocking loss has devastated people all around the world. I know her fans everywhere join me in sharing prayers of love and support with her mother, Priscilla, and her wonderful daughters Riley, Finley and Harper.

“Lisa Marie, we will miss your warmth, your smile, your love.”

Donatella Versace, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were among the stars from the entertainment world who hailed Presley for her “beauty and kindness”.

La Toya Jackson, the sister of Presley’s ex-husband Michael Jackson, said the late singer would “forever be in our hearts”.

Alongside a video montage of photos of her late brother and Presley set to Michael’s hit You Are Not Alone, La Toya wrote: “We miss you Lisa!

“You will forever be in our hearts, I will never forget how much you shared the love you had for my brother with me, I thank you for being so honest #RIP.”

Presley’s marriage to Michael, between 1994 to 1996, was arguably her most famous as it brought together the so-called King of Pop with the daughter of The King.

She was married another three times, first to musician Danny Keough, then after Michael to Hollywood star Nicolas Cage, and later to music producer Michael Lockwood.

The Duchess of York described Presley as a “devoted friend” and said the singer would be “in my heart”.

Sharing a photo of them hugging each other, Sarah Ferguson wrote: “I say hello to you everyday and I love you my sissy and I will continue to say hello to you everyday.

“You were my sissy, an amazing mother to Ben, Riley, Harper and Finley and a superbly loving daughter to Priscilla.

She added: “You have been my devoted friend for many years and I am here for your family to support and love them. I am deeply saddened my sissy, you are in my heart.”

Designer Versace said: “I will never forget the times we spent together.

“Your beauty and your kindness shone so bright. Rest in peace Lisa Marie. We will never forget you.”

Hanks, who starred in the recent Elvis biopic, and his wife Wilson recalled spending time with Presley and her family during the film’s promotional tour last year.

In a joint statement on Wilson’s Instagram, they said: “Our hearts are broken with the sudden and shocking passing of Lisa Marie Presley tonight.

“Tom and I had spent some time with the family during the Elvis movie promotional tour. Lisa Marie was so honest and direct, vulnerable, in a state of anticipation about the movie.

“She spoke so eloquently about her father, what the movie meant to her, that it was a celebration of her dad. She had her gorgeous daughters Finley and Harper with her who made us all laugh.”

Wilson said Presley had been “gracious” enough to show her round Graceland – the mansion where her father lived in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Our hearts and our prayers go out to Riley, Harper, Finley, Danny and Priscilla,” she said.

“A mother should never have to lose a child. Lisa Marie lost her precious son Benjamin, Priscilla loses her only daughter. It’s too much. Sending love to the family, prayers for peace and strength. Love, Rita and Tom.”

Following in the footsteps of her father, Presley pursued a career in the music industry, releasing three albums – To Whom It May Concern in 2003, Now What in 2005, and Storm & Grace in 2012.

In 2018, she featured on a new record, titled Where No One Stands Alone, which was released to celebrate her father’s love of gospel music, and featured 14 original performances recorded by him.

The title track was a reimagined duet, in which Lisa Marie sang with her father who died at the age of 42 in 1977.

Days before her death, she visited Graceland to celebrate his birthday on January 8.

Lisa Marie Presley Hospitalized
Presley released three albums during her career in the music industry (Barry Brecheisen/AP)

Upon her father’s death, when she was only nine years old, she became the joint heir to his estate, with her grandfather, Vernon Presley, and her great-grandmother, Minnie Mae Hood Presley.

In 1993, when she turned 25 she took full control of the estate and formed The Elvis Presley Trust, to continue its successful management.

Last year, Presley penned an essay, published by US publication People, about “the horrific reality” of her grief following her son Benjamin Keough’s death by suicide in 2020.

“I’ve dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine years old. I’ve had more than anyone’s fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I’ve made it this far,” she wrote in August.

A statement shared with the PA news agency by Presley’s family announcing her death said: “Priscilla Presley and the Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Lisa Marie.

“They are profoundly grateful for the support, love and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time.”